These classic tales beguile contemporary audiences.

| By Bed Threads | Entertainment

7 Bingeworthy Period Drama Series to Stream Now

These classic tales beguile contemporary audiences.

The popularity of Bridgerton has left many of us craving more period drama series. The comfort and escapism we get from watching this genre is unmatched. Dreamy sets and costumes and being whisked away to another era beguile contemporary audiences.

From Sandition to The Tudors, step back in time and enjoy these captivating stories that are brimming with plenty of nostalgia, love, drama, and loss.

1. Outlander

Where can I watch it? Foxtel and Netflix

The latest season of Outlander is on Foxtel, while previous seasons can be found on Netflix. If you’re a novice to the Outlander world, we really recommend diving into those early seasons, especially the first one. There is something so special about that first season of Outlander, which introduced us to time-travelling Claire (Caitriona Balfe), who touched some magic stones in Scotland and was transported back in time to the 18th century, where she becomes enmeshed in the world of the gorgeous, protective Jamie (Sam Heughan). The chemistry between Balfe and Heughan is second to none, and that first season of Outlander was giving episode six of Bridgerton’s first season energy long before we even knew about the Duke of Hastings.

2. Bridgerton

Where can I watch it? Netflix

To say Netflix’s Bridgerton has captivated our hearts, eyes, and minds would be something of an understatement. Arguably one of the better book-to-TV show adaptations of recent years, the second season of the revisionist period drama racked up 193 million hours of viewership (just casually) over its debut weekend – all with neither Simon Basset nor his spoon in sight. Impressive.

The sensual glances laced with loathing and desire. The torturous pull of familial duty. The whip-smart repartee. The deliciously slow, crescendoing burn. Oh, it’s all too much!

3. Sanditon

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Much hand-wringing and pearl-clutching was made when it was announced that this new adaptation of Sanditon, returning for a second season at the end of March, would have a sex scene. Several of them in fact, which was a new sight for fans of Jane Austen, the author of Sanditon – as well as Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, among others – who are more acquainted with sedate period dramas than bedroom romps. But Sanditon manages to walk the line between steamy, sexy moments and classic costume drama fare, which is part of the reason we love it so much. You can have both!

4. The Tudors

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

The original and maybe still one of the best of the steamy period dramas, The Tudors premiered in 2007 in an era when the historical television genre was loosening its corsets and getting a little bit sexy. Jonathan Rhys Meyers starred as a very aroused King Henry VIII, with Natalie Dormer as the calculating Anne Boleyn, and their will-they-won't-they tension – even if we all knew how it was going to end – powered an entire first season. But our favourite performance in The Tudors comes from a young Henry Cavill as the Duke of Suffolk. This was one of Cavill’s first performances, before Enola Holmes and Superman and The Witcher, and it remains one of our favourites of his.

5. Harlots

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Harlots is a criminally under-watched period drama, following Samantha Norton’s Margaret Wells, the owner and manager of an 18th-century London brothel who has dreams of bettering the lives of her daughters through commerce and social advancement. Norton is fantastic in this series, as is Lesley Manville – the cast also includes Alfie Allen, Liv Tyler, Jessica Brown Findlay, and the list goes on. There are three seasons of Harlots for you to watch, all as juicy and compelling as the next.

6. The Great

Where can I watch it? Prime Video

Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult star as Catherine and Peter of Russia in The Great, a funny and sexy period drama that is a wild ride from start to finish. The series comes from the creator of The Favourite, which also had a funny and sexy energy to it, and The Great dials it all up to 11. The Russian court, as envisaged in this series, is a place where sex, nudity and affairs are all out in the open – in an early episode of the first season, Peter gifts his wife Catherine with a lover, so as to keep her happy when he is off with his own mistresses. Sex is all part of the strategy of power and game-playing in The Great, which is part of what makes it so interesting to watch. Two seasons are streaming now on Stan with a third confirmed in the works.

7. Dickinson

Where can I watch it? AppleTV+

We’re always trying to recommend Dickinson to people: it is some of the most clever and most charming television in recent memory, anchored by a great performance at the centre from Hailee Steinfeld as the young poet Emily Dickinson. The steaminess of this period drama lies in the way it examines the rumoured relationship between Emily and her friend Sue (Ella Hunt), who in real-life was married to Emily’s brother. Dickinson imagines a world in which Emily and Sue’s closeness is that of lovers, and makes a compelling argument that the historical record has erased the truth about their relationship.

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