The Ultimate 20 History Inspired TV Shows

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While I’ve been working on this list of the ultimate 20 history inspired tv show, I realized something. I watched already so many series just in the history category!

As somebody who loves history, who has also been a history major at university, I just couldn’t handle myself. I had to watch them all! Another reason I love some of these series is that I am obsessed with sci-fi. Well, with everything that’s old, it has magic, witches, and other fictional elements in it.

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You’ll see on this list some of the best history inspired tv shows out there! Everything from the Roman Empire, the age of the Renaissance, the Victorian age, and much more! Prepare the snacks for some great tv show nights!


A list of the best 20 history inspired tv shows


#1 Da Vinci’s Demons

Da Vinci's Demons

IMDB rating: 8.0

When it comes to history, the Renaissance age is one of my favorite parts of it. I’m not sure if it’s because I love the arts, or there’s some other reason, but I’m really attached to this period. During my travels as well, the renaissance architecture and arts are prioritized. The tv show da Vinci’s Demons is definitely one of my favorites, as I was always interested in da Vinci’s life, and work.

Story: This is a fictionalized story about Leanardo Da Vinci’s early life during the Renaissance in Italy. He is an eccentric genius who has struggled to deal with his inner demons and unruly imagination, as he yearns for acceptance from his estranged father.


#2 The Borgias

The Borgias series

IMDB rating: 7.9

The Borgias is another one of my favorite historical tv series. But because of the history again. The pope, Rodrigo Borgia was in real life as well as interesting as the series is showing. He wasn’t at all the kind of pope you’d expect a pope to be. But the Catholic church at that time was suffocated in mess. Politics, drama, murders, money. He was an interesting figure of his age, and he still is for us. The series is inspired by his story, but it’s not 100% accurate, as the storyline is a bit colored up.

Possibly one of the best history inspired tv shows about a historical character.

Story: In the fifteenth century, Pope Alexander VI tries to control all power in Italy with the help of his several sons, through murder, intrigue, war, and marriage alliances. The rise to power, and the start of a dynasty, of the Borgia family. Rodrigo Borgia ascends within the Catholic Church, becoming a pope with very questionable behavior.


#3 Spartacus

Spartacus Vengence

IMDB rating: 8.5

And here it is, the series that made me stay awake 48 hours and watch all seasons without a break! I watched this tv-show a few weeks before starting my first year at university. As a history major, in the first year, the Roman Empire was one of the main subjects, After the first week into university life, I convinced my classmates to watch it, and we just all loved it.

Story: Blood and Sand is the first season of American tv series Spartacus. A historical figure, a gladiator in the Roman Empire that inspired the tv-show. The Thracian warrior was a gladiator in Capua. he then broke free, and on the front line, Spartacus was leading a major slave uprising against the Romani Republic between 73 to 71 BC.

The story is full of dramatic flips and keeps you in suspense the whole time. Really worth watching, just don’t start watching it on a Monday evening!


#4 Medici

Medici tv show

IMDB rating: 7.9

Another great piece inspired by the Renaissance age, the Medici. The masters of Florence, the greatest family. The Medicis’ were the richest family in the Renaissance Florence, and they’ve been ruling in the city for a great time. This series brings you back into the royal life of the Renaissance.

Story: s. A political family drama set in Florence in the early fifteenth century. When his father died, Cosimo de Medici suddenly found himself at the helm of his banking dynasty. Lorenzo took his father’s place after a murder attempt. which reveals years of poor bank management from them. Again, mystery, drama, wars, and much more awaiting!


#5 The Tudors

IMDB rating: 8.1

The Tudors is one of those history inspired tv shows that give more visual insight into history. The life of Henry VIII was always fascinating to me. So much that I made my presentation for my elementary school teacher degree about him and his marriage with Ann Boleyn.

The Tudors is inspired by the life and marriages of Henry VIII. As every tv show, it’s not completely accurate in the storyline. It’s respecting the historical facts pretty much great though!

Story: This drama focuses on the early years of King Henry VIII’s nearly 40-year reign (1509-1547) of England. The series looks at Henry’s famous female companions like Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn and delves into his relationships with important figures like Sir Thomas More, Cardinal Wolsey (head of the Catholic Church of England during its break with Rome) and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who was Henry’s best friend and unofficial adviser.


#6 Reign

IMDB rating: 7.5

I’ll be honest, I never finished the Reign series. It’s less about accuracy, and more about insiration from history. The storyline is really mixed, adding some sci-fi as well. The figures, and some of the events are following the reality, but many elements aren’t real. It’s more for entertainment, and less for education, in my opinion.

Story: Mary, the Queen of Scots, arrives in France at the age of fifteen and marries Prince Francis. She starts a friendship with her handmaidens and they become best friends. Love, drama, betrayals, and death follows the storyline.


#7 Victoria

IMDB rating: 8.2

The tv show about one of the greatest queens that ever ruled, queen Victoria is taking us back to he 19th century, where we can have a great bird view about the age, the style, and the history. This series is reflecting the reality much more than some previously mentioned, and as in reality, in the series as well, Victoria’s life is really fascinating.

Story: Victoria ascends the British throne at the tender age of 18 and later, falls in love with Prince Albert and gets married to him. The tv show follows her life, her everyday life, and the way she was ruling. This one is really worth watching, to know more about the Victorian age.


#8 The Crown

IMDB rating: 8.7

If we’re already speaking about British queens, the Crown is really worth watching. The now-ruling Queen Elisabeth II is a ruler that might have not lead people in wars, she’s been a really strong character, with a life path that’s worth knowing about. I personally love how, and what she’s been doing during World War II, and as I’ve been living in England for a while, I got a taste of how British people look to her.

Story: The drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II, from the 1940s to modern times. The series begins with an inside look at the early reign of the queen, who ascended the throne at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI. As the decades’ pass, personal intrigues, romances, and political rivalries are revealed that played a big role in events that shaped the later years of the 20th century.


#9 Outlander

IMDB rating: 8.4

If you love mystery, traveling in time, and as of last, but not least, the beauty of Scotland, this series is really for you! The reason I love this series is that since I was a kid, I’ve been dreaming of time travel. I wanted to go back to different ages, to see history for myself, with my own eyes. As a kid, I kept dreaming of once, somebody, somewhere will invent the time machine that I could use. Well, I guess now you understand why I didn’t hesitate to watch this tv show!

Story: Outlander follows the story of Claire Randall, a married nurse from 1945, who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1743. Here she is immediately thrown into an unknown world, where her life is threatened. When she is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, a passionate affair is ignited that tears Claire’s heart between two men, two lives, and basically two different ages of time. The Outlander series spins between romance, sci-fi, history, and adventure into epic tales.


#10 Downton Abbey

IMDB rating: 8.7

There are many reasons why I loved Downton Abbey, however many people of my age told me they’d never watch it all. I don’t really understand why, because it is really interesting, showing the life of a noble family in the early 20th century, during and after World War I. This tv show helped me learn British English. If you’re European like me, you understand that British English is harder to undertand. Well, in comparison to American English.

Story: The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey between 1912 and 1926. It depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in the post-Edwardian era—with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.


#11 Jamestown

IMDB rating: 6.9

Story: Set in 17th-century Virginia, this drama series follows the lives of the first settlers in the English colony of Jamestown. Alice, Verity, and Jocelyn arrive ready to marry three men in the colony who have paid for the women’s transition to the New World.

But upon their arrival, they quickly recognize the power struggles within the nascent community, which reach all the way up to the new governor and his staff. The women soon realize that they will need to rely on each other if they hope to survive the various challenges their new home presents to them.


#12 Versailles

IMDB rating: 7.8

Story: It’s 1667 and 28-year-old King Louis XIV has finally taken over sole command of France. When he commissions Versailles, Europe’s most beautiful palace, the nobles seek entry into the lavish residence. They do not realize is meant to imprison and control them.

Among the ruler’s prime targets is his younger brother, Monsieur. There’s also romance in King Louis’ life, as his queen, Marie Theresa, tries to tame his wandering eyes and win his heart back from his mistress, the English king’s sister. Love, power, betrayal, and war are all part of daily life in Versailles.


#13 Marco Polo

IMDB rating: 8.0

Marco Polo is an American drama web television series inspired by Marco Polo‘s early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongol Empire, and the founder of the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368).

The Venetian merchant and adventurer Marco Polo journeys across Europe and Asia and lands up as a prisoner in the palace of Kublai Khan, a 13th-century Mongolian emperor.


#14 Frontier

IMDB rating: 7.2

There’s money to be made in the fur trade in the 1700s. This is why Declan Harp is trying to get a piece of it. The outlaw trapper is leading a campaign to breach the Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly on fur in Canada.

Lord Benton, on the other hand, is bent on restoring the company’s stranglehold on fur and is on a mission to stamp out Harp, who turns to an old ally when bounty hunters close in on him. Harp eventually devises an elaborate scheme to plunder Hudson’s Bay and set a trap for Benton.


#15 Vikings

IMDB rating: 8.5

A tv show that men really love! I mean, really! It’s all about wars, death, the story of a man who wants it all, but he can’t keep it together. The fact that it’s playing back in the time of the Vikings, one of the most exciting and interesting nations, with the most mythical past, makes it even more interesting!

Ragnar Lothbrok, a legendary Norse hero, is a mere farmer who rises up to become a fearless warrior and commander of the Viking tribes with the support of his equally ferocious family. The storyline goes from him being a nobody to becoming the Viking king, leading the Vikings in wars against many others, even against France.


#16 The Witcher

IMDB rating: 8.3

I have watched the Witcher just a couple of days before posting this list of the best history inspired tv shows. My flatmate watched it not so long ago, and she couldn’t go to sleep all night before she finished it. It happened exactly the same way as me. The story is absolutely science fiction. I had to add it to this list, because of the age it is playing in, and the figures you’ll see along with the series. Many of these characters are inspired by the mythical ales of the Middle ages.

Story: The witcher Geralt, a mutated monster hunter, struggles to find his place in a world in which people often prove more wicked than beasts. The storyline is a little bit chaotic, but this is what actually can catch our attention.


#17 Game of Thrones

IMDB rating: 9.3

Again, we all know the Game of Thrones has nothing to do with reality, though it is a history-inspired science fiction show. Even if the characters aren’t real, many elements are by history or historical places. First I’d mention Kings Landing. which is inspired by the magical town of Dubrovnik, in Croatia. My personal favorite is the Water Gardens in Sunspear. As we know, this is the seat of the ruler of the House Martell. The palace is inspired by the beautiful Real Alcazar in Seville.

Nine noble families wage war against each other in order to gain control over the mythical land of Westeros. Meanwhile, a force is rising after millenniums and threatens the existence of living men. The rest, you’ll find out in the 8 seasons!


#18 Roman Empire

IMDB rating: 6.9

A story that takes us back to the Roman Empire, and it’s giving us a great view, and imagination of how things were in ancient Rome.

Roman Empire is a television documentary based on historical events of the Roman Empire. The show is in the anthology format with each season presenting an independent story. Season 1, “Reign of Blood”, is a six-part story centered on Emperor Commodus.

A mix of documentary and historical epic chronicles the reign of Commodus, the emperor whose rule marked the beginning of Rome’s fall.


#19 The Hollow Crown

IMDB rating:

Story: King Richard has to settle a dispute. This is going on between his cousin Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. Richard calls for a duel but then halts it just before swords clash. On the storyline, both men are banished from the realm.


#20 The Romanoffs

IMDB rating: 7.0

An anthology series that tells stories of people who believe that they are descendants of a Russian royal family, the Romanoffs. Each episode takes place in a new location with filming occurring on three continents with a new cast.

The history TV shows are available on Amazon as well to watch!


So, have you found the next series to watch on this list with the best 20 history inspired tv shows? I hope you did! Enjoy!


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The Ultimate 20 History Inspired TV Shows

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