4 Underrated Historical Dramas On Netflix

We’ve all heard of historical dramas like Vikings and Downton Abbey. Even shows like Game of Thrones could fit into this genre for its interpretation of medieval times. While these series are excellent and are deservedly well-known, there are plenty of other TV shows that seem to be overshadowed by the ones above. The list below is compiled of some older shows, some newer shows, and some that are cancelled…but they all have one thing in common, you can binge watch them on Netflix. 😉

1.Call the Midwife


This show takes place in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the poor Poplar District on the East End of London. It’s about a young midwife named Jenny Lee who joins the Nonnatus House, a nursing convent. While they spend a lot of time helping with the medical issues in the city, the high birth rate in the area calls for midwifery to be the primary service. Based off of a memoire by Jennifer Worth and her time spent in the city with several other nurses and nuns, the characters learn important lessons about life and unconditional love through the process of helping others.

Watch this show if you enjoy watching Downton Abbey.

2. The Borgias

The show follows the story of the Spanish Borgia family and the character Rodrigo’s rise to the power of the papacy. The most interesting aspect of this show is the impact on the rest of his family (namely, the children Lucrezia, Ceasere and Juan) despite Rodrigo’s holy titles. His tricks and deceitful rise to the position of Pope Alexander VI demonstrates the corruption of the Catholic Church during the renaissance period in Italy. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after three seasons for becoming too expensive for Showtime, but the series ends decently and is the perfect guilty pleasure for marathoning.

Watch this show if you enjoy The Tudors.

3. Marco Polo

Marco Polo is still in production, and the third season is currently in the works. It is a hidden gem among the Netflix Original Series with great acting and a unique setting in the east, different from the western-oriented themes of the other shows on the list. This action-packed series teeming with martial arts and lavish courts, tells the story of Marco Polo’s time in the service of Kublai Khan, the start of his observations and the basis of his written works. Obviously, it’s a loose interpretation, but it’s a fun show and the production quality is comparable to many of the major shows out there.

Watch this show if you enjoy Vikings.

4. Spartacus


This series is actually divided into several different series, (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Spartacus: Vengeance, etc.) so be sure to watch them in the correct order to get the most out of the story. All of the seasons highlight the Thracian warrior who became a slave and led a major uprising in the Roman Empire. Obviously, this series was probably inspired by the movie 300, which is not everyone’s taste. Honestly, the pilot episode is a lot to take in with the combination of explicit violence and adult content. Still, stay with the series because it latches onto you emotionally. You will start crying for these buff men in tiny tunics (or at least they made me cry), as you watch their struggles for their own basic humanity. Like the movie 300, the action scenes are impressive and give the series a unique flavor that sets it apart from other action-oriented historical dramas. Half of the show includes Roman characters, so there is no lack of political intrigue and scandal.

Watch this show if you enjoy HBO’s Rome.

What shows do you recommend for a history buff? I tried to provide a decent variety for every taste, but let me know of any more in the comments below!

Image Credit: Spartacus, License; Call the Midwife; License.

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