For far too long—literally centuries—there have been very few options for fans of period dramas who want to read or watch without the overly patriarchal traditions of earlier eras. Jane Austen’s works are among those few. The powerful adaptations of classic tales have become increasingly popular in recent years. One of them is by Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton, whose 2nd season recently debuted on Netflix.
The main characters and subjects of the show are the Bridgerton twins and prominent members of Regency society. Another character is the unidentified gossip writer, who not only has enormous authority and influence over society but also earns a living from her profession. With all of its bubbly, sensual romanticism, high-society drama, and Billie Eilish covers, Bridgerton got the attention of the audience.
Here is a list of episodes that have a lot of the same qualities as the popular Netflix series. They include lusty couplings, a ton of gossip and controversy, and shockingly contemporary historical dramas updated for current audiences.
- 1 1. Reign (2013-2017)
- 2 2. The Crown (2016-2023)
- 3 3. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story ( 2023-)
- 4 4. Dangerous Liaisons (2022)
- 5 5. Dickinson (2019-2021)
- 6 6. The Great (2020-Present)
- 7 7. The Borgias (2011-2013)
- 8 8. Gentleman Jack (2019-2022)
- 9 9. Pride And Prejudice (1995)
- 10 10. Poldark (2015-2019)
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1. Reign (2013-2017)
Stream on The CW, Prime Video
Reign allowed audiences to capitalize on the success of the royal epic drama. This had already proven to be quite successful for the network with other long-running dramas. The show centers on the life of Adelaide Kane’s character, Mary Stuart and Queen of Scots. She ascends the throne and negotiates the complicated political system of the 16th century.
The series offered a lot of hot historical romance. It delighted history by recreating the essence of Mary’s time with stylized images, despite having a little darker tone than Bridgerton.
2. The Crown (2016-2023)
Stream on Netflix
The human side of the British royal family is explored in several series, such as Bridgerton, and their dramatic past makes them fascinating. However, The Crown has a completely different perspective. From the beginning of her reign until the present, the series follows the lives of Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, and Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II.
The Crown became an instant sensation due to its candid portrayal of the royal family, combining elements of political drama and history. The Crown’s decades-long storyline lacks Bridgerton’s steaminess, but it makes up for it with mystery and behind-the-scenes drama involving one of the most powerful families in the world.
3. Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story ( 2023-)
Stream on Netflix
Only Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story has perfectly captured the distinct character of the series, despite numerous attempts by other shows to do so. Years before the events of Bridgerton, Queen Charlotte is shown in the spinoff show as she rises to the throne.
Queen Charlotte made certain historical changes, but they did not benefit the terrible circumstances surrounding her actual life engagement to King George III. However, Bridgerton’s captivating romance stayed, and the diverse cast members further distinguished the spinoff of other historical costume dramas airing on television.
4. Dangerous Liaisons (2022)
Stream on Amazon Prime, Apple TV
Dangerous Liaisons is a brief love affair series that was based on the same-titled novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, published in 1782. It gave the traditional story of seduction and deception a slightly out-of-date twist. Pascal (Nicholas Denton) and Camille (Alice Englert), two former lovers, use their status and fortune to seek their way through the French nobility in the 18th century.
While other plays, like Bridgerton, rely on lavish costumes to tell their stories, Dangerous Liaisons goes above and beyond to provide a realistic, though sometimes exaggerated, portrayal of the era. After just 1 season, the show was abruptly canceled, depriving fans of another opportunity to witness more sensual controversy.
5. Dickinson (2019-2021)
Stream on Apple TV
Dickinson utilized the true incident of Bridgerton as a backdrop for shrewd social criticism. Renowned author Emily Dickinson (Hailee Steinfeld) examines the oppressive society that served as the inspiration for the majority of her best-known works in the 19th century. By making over-the-top and stylized comparisons between her era and the present, Dickinson re-contextualized the cherished author for the 21st century.
Similar to how Bridgerton challenged expectations, the series refused to let itself be limited by any genre. This included Death (Wiz Khalifa) as a character or demonstrating the historical influence that Dickinson’s writing had on subsequent authors.
6. The Great (2020-Present)
Stream on Roku Channel, Hulu
The Great, described as an anti-historical sequence, skillfully blended several genres to tell the narrative of one of the most terrible royals in history. The show features Catherine’s (Elle Fanning) ascent from a backwoods queen to Catherine the Great in the 18th century.
The Great rejects historical authenticity in favor of sinister black comedy and breathtaking characters with an almost wild enthusiasm. Amidst the insanity and conflict over politics, The Great’s costumes equal Bridgerton’s, and there’s just enough romance to keep viewers interested.
7. The Borgias (2011-2013)
Stream on Fubo TV, Showtime, Paramount+
While most historical costume dramas focus on the intricate British aristocratic family, The Borgias focuses on an extraordinarily strong medieval empire. The Borgia family, originally from Spain, used all means necessary to establish their political dominance in Renaissance Italy.
The Borgias depicted the complex web of history with some exaggeration to liven it up, complete with elegant clothing and compelling stories of political interest. In addition to having several sultry romantic moments similar to those in Bridgerton, The Borgias is frequently regarded as one of the greatest historical series.
8. Gentleman Jack (2019-2022)
Stream on Max
Gentleman Jack shows that people were defying gender stereotypes even in the 19th century, and it relies heavily on the true story of its protagonist. In the show, a widow named Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) deliberately breaks social conventions by intending to get married again—but this time, not to a man.
Bridgerton presents its fictitious plot in a largely heteronormative manner. However, Gentleman Jack uses historical examples to demonstrate that things weren’t always so clear-cut. Though not nearly as passionate as the previously described show, the shrewd drama fizzes with high drama and love tension.
9. Pride And Prejudice (1995)
Stream on Hulu, Britbox
Several adaptations have been made of Jane Austen’s 1813 novel throughout the years, but none have quite matched the 1995 miniseries’ expansive magnificence. The mischievous Elizabeth Bennet (Jennifer Ehle) encounters the mysterious Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) and finds it difficult to negotiate the rigid world of 19th-century courtship.
The romance between Darcy and Elizabeth is legendary, and Firth and co-star Ehle have a chemistry that radiates from the screen with every turn of the head and shady gesture. Although it lacks Bridgerton’s intense fire, Pride and Prejudice’s subtlety provides a new diversion from the pretentious anachronism of the current play.
10. Poldark (2015-2019)
Stream on PBS, Amazon Prime
Unlike other television shows, like Bridgerton, Poldark balances its romance with a healthy measure of drama and action. Redcoat Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner), just back from the American Revolutionary War, has his entire world come crashing down when he discovers his fiancée is getting married to someone else.
Not only are Poldark’s antics hot, but Poldark himself is what makes them so compelling. Nevertheless, the show’s excellent costume design gives the period a touch of anachronism, and its 5 seasons provide lots of side entertainment.