20 TV Shows to Watch After You’ve Finished The Crown

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Season 3 of the hit Netflix series The Crown, starring Oscar winner Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II, is finally upon us. But what to watch in the long off-season before it returns for Season 4?

Fortunately, The Crown is just the latest period drama to win over fans, following in the footsteps of past successes including Victoria and Downton Abbey. So whether it’s upper-class scandals (hello, Reign), royal history (Wolf Hall), a cast with big names (Gunpowder) or sexy historical reenactments (Versailles) you’re looking to binge-watch, here is a list of TV shows like The Crown that should help fill that empty feeling.

Catherine the Great

HBO’s new four-part historical drama follows the story of Russia’s longest-reigning female ruler. Starring Helen Mirren as the 18th-century empress, Catherine the Great gives viewers a glimpse into one of the most famous examples of a woman wielding great power. In the series, Catherine must contend with the personal and political pressures that come with being Russia’s supreme leader.

How to watch it:

Catherine the Great is available to stream on HBO.


Sanditon is based on Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel, which trades in themes of love, power and betrayal. The eight-part series follows Charlotte Heywood, played by Reign’s Rose Williams, who moves to the seaside village of Sanditon after meeting entrepreneur Tom Parker and his wife. There, Charlotte meets Parker’s younger brother, Sidney. The series follows the ever-changing relationship between Sidney and Charlotte, while Tom Parker tries, in vain, to make Sanditon a successful tourist destination.

How to watch it:

Sanditon aired on ITV and is available on Amazon in the U.K. The series is set to become available on PBS in January 2020.

Gentleman Jack

Gentleman Jack is quite different from what fans of the period drama are accustomed to. The HBO/BBC co-production features Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster) as Anne Lister, an English landowner from Halifax in the 1830s. The historical drama is based on Lister’s diaries, which were mainly written in secret code, documenting her life as a lesbian in a highly conservative and traditional world, as well as her financial concerns and her work improving the estate where she lived.

How to watch it:

Gentleman Jack is available to stream on HBO.

Elizabeth I

This two-part series dramatizes the later years of Queen Elizabeth I’s rule over England in the 16th century. Now middle-aged, the Queen, played by consummate veteran Helen Mirren, grapples with the reality that she never produced an heir. The series also follows her relationships with two love interests. Meanwhile, Elizabeth must face treasonous plots against her by her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots.

How to watch it:

Elizabeth I is available to watch on Amazon.

Elizabeth I – The Virgin Queen

Another take on Elizabeth 1, this four-part miniseries stars Anne-Marie Duff as the enigmatic queen. The program focuses on the monarch’s private life and her public vow of chastity, exploring her terror at the hands of her sister, Mary I, and her great love affair with Robert Dudley, played by The Revenant star Tom Hardy.

How to watch it:

Elizabeth I – The Virgin Queen is available to watch on Amazon.


The British drama Victoria stars Jenna Coleman (of Doctor Who fame) as Queen Victoria, the spirited monarch who ruled England from 1837 to 1901. Similar to the way the first season of The Crown follows Queen Elizabeth’s early life, Victoria follows the titular queen from her accession to the throne at the tender age of 18 to her courtship and early marriage to her cousin, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). This entry into the list of TV shows about monarchy, created by writer and journalist Daisy Goodwin, feels more dramatized than The Crown, but still draws from real-life events, inspired by Victoria’s diaries.

How to watch it:

Season three of Victoria can be viewed on PBS’ Masterpiece.

Downton Abbey

Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton, Michelle Dockery, Jessica Brown Findlay Laura Carmichael in a scene from 'Downton Abbey.'
Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Penelope Wilton, Michelle Dockery, Jessica Brown Findlay Laura Carmichael in a scene from 'Downton Abbey.'PBS

If you thought The Crown was the most binge-worthy British drama, then you’ve definitely not yet devoured Downton Abbey, its gossipy, fun-loving cousin. The award-winning series created by Julian Fellowes centers around a wealthy English family and their servants and spans a six-year period, following them through wars, romances, tragedies and plenty of scandals. The stellar cast includes the acclaimed Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Lily James and Dan Stevens.

How to watch it:

Downton Abbey is available to watch on PBS’ Masterpiece.

The Tudors

Showtime’s raunchy series about the reign and marriages of England’s King Henry VIII, played by the Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers, divided viewers when it first hit the small screen in 2008. Some criticized it for containing numerous historical inaccuracies and distorting history for dramatic effect. But the show has been praised by historians for having “undoubtedly stimulated interest in British history” with its exciting storylines, glamorous cast and focus on sex, and it ended up running for four seasons. It’s a great option for those looking to time-travel a few centuries before the events of The Crown.

How to watch it:

The Tudors is available to stream on Hulu.

The Royal House of Windsor

Another show about royals on Netflix, The Royal House of Windsor examines Britain’s ruling Windsor dynasty over the last century and the secrets of its survival. The series — which takes a documentary approach, as opposed to The Crown‘s dramatization — begins in 1917, when King George V rebranded the Royal Family’s German surname to the far-more-English-sounding “Windsor,” and it follows the family up to the present day. Each episode focuses on a different member of the royal family or significant moment in royal history.

How to watch it:

The Royal House of Windsor is available to stream on Netflix.

The Royals

E!’s scripted series follows a fictionalized, scandal-plagued, wealth-corrupted version of the British royal family, starring Elizabeth Hurley as a highly-watchable Queen of England. TIME described her character in its 2015 review of the first episode as a “vicious, status-besotted Royal Housewife of London.” Although The Royals is a far sillier and cheaper version of The Crown, it’s entertaining nonetheless — albeit for different reasons.

How to watch it:

Season four of The Royals premieres on March 11 on E!. Previous seasons are available to watch on Amazon.


A racy period drama depicting King Louis XIV’s decadent, turbulent reign, Versailles is the most expensive drama series ever produced in France, and it is filmed on location at both the Chateau de Versailles and in Paris. The show, expected to return for a third season, follows the king (played by George Blagden) as he overcomes obstacles, both political and personal. It’s a fun, gripping and very sexy watch, one of the steamier options among shows like The Crown on Netflix.

How to watch it:

Versailles is available to stream on Netflix.


A highly fictionalized historical drama, Reign follows Mary, Queen of Scots’ rise to power, starring Teen Wolf‘s Adelaide Kane in the central role. If an authentic retelling of an important period of history is what you’re looking for, then Reign doesn’t fit the bill. The show has been compared by critics to Gossip Girl, only set during the 16th century, as well as criticized for its inaccuracies. (One critic even described Kane’s character as a Princess Diaries knockoff). That said, if you’re looking for your next royal-centric guilty pleasure after The Crown, then Reign is a strong contender.

How to watch it:

Reign is available to stream on Netflix.

Wolf Hall

Wolf Hall
Mark Rylance as Thomas CromwellPBS

This epic TV adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall novels, set in the court of Henry VIII, is a captivating retelling of a familiar story: how the king ditched Catherine of Aragon (and the Catholic Church) to wed and then behead Anne Boleyn. But uniquely, in Wolf Hall, the protagonist is neither the king nor any of his series of queens but Thomas Cromwell (played by Mark Rylance), the lawyer, financial wizard and all-around political fixer Henry relied on to rewrite laws, break church ties and destroy enemies. Wolf Hall is a darkly fascinating watch. Unlike The Crown, it’s a miniseries with only six episodes in total.

How to watch it:

Wolf Hall is available to stream on Netflix.

The White Queen

The White Queen is a historical drama set during the series of bloody English civil wars known as the War of the Roses, half a millennium before the events of The Crown. The show focuses on the three different women — Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville — who were vying for the throne at the time. The 10-part series is based on the bestselling novel by Philippa Gregory (author of The Other Boleyn Girl) and stars the Swedish actor Rebecca Ferguson, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in 2014.

How to watch it:

The White Queen is available to stream on Starz.

The White Princess

Following The White Queen, Starz’s series The White Princess tells the story of Elizabeth of York, who meets a dashing young King Henry II, played by Jacob Collins-Levy. Their marriage effectively ends the War of the Roses, which featured prominently in The White Queen. The series, which features Killing Eve star Jodie Comer as Elizabeth, is adapted from Philippa Gregory’s best-selling novel of the same name.

How to watch it:

The White Princess is now available on Starz via Amazon.

The Spanish Princess

While The Crown focuses on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, this series focuses on Spain’s Princess Catherine of Aragon, whose own story is often overshadowed in history by that of her infamous marriage to King Henry VIII. The Spanish Princess continues Starz’s series The White Queen and The White Princess and is set in Tudor Britain.

How to watch it:

The Spanish Princess is now available on Starz via Amazon.


Outlander 2014
Ed Miller / Sony Pictures Television

As TIME wrote of Outlander following the show’s premiere in 2014, if you have a predilection for epic romances and the super-specific sub-genre that is historical time-travel fiction, then you’re likely to find this program a sensory feast. Outlander begins just after World War II and takes place mainly during 18th-century Scotland’s Jacobite uprisings. A supernatural treat, it follows the life of Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), who finds herself spirited from 1945 to 1743 Scotland after coming across a druidic henge while on her second honeymoon.

How to watch it:

Outlander is available to watch on STARZ On Demand.



Kit Harington in 'Gunpowder'Robert Viglasky—HBO

If, after watching The Crown, you’re looking to spend time with rebels instead of royals, the recent HBO series Gunpowder might be for you. The miniseries shines a light on the events that led to the failed Catholic plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605, led by Guy Fawkes and Robert Catesby. The three-episode series was originally shown on the BBC in the U.K. and aired in the U.S. on HBO from Dec. 18 through 20. The show, which made headlines for its extreme violence and goriness, was produced by and stars Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington, who is a direct descendant of Catesby through his mother’s side.

How to watch it:

Gunpowder is available to stream on HBO.

Call the Midwife

British import Call the Midwife follows a group of midwives living in London’s East End in the 1950s, working in the newly-formed National Health System (NHS). It’s a subtle show, less melodramatic compared with similarly-positioned British dramas like The Crown and Downton Abbey. As TIME explained in its 2012 review of the program, Call the Midwife is, at heart, a medical show about childbirth. At least a few minutes of every episode feature labor, complete with full-volume shrieking and moaning — so if that kind of thing makes you queasy, then it might not be for you.

How to watch it:

Call the Midwife is available to stream on PBS.

Mr Selfridge

The British drama series Mr Selfridge follows the life of the brash American retail magnate Harry Selfridge, who opened the world-famous London department store Selfridges & Co in 1909. The charming show, which is based on real life events, stars Entourage‘s Jeremy Piven (who has recently faced accusations of sexual misconduct) as the titular businessman. The show ran for four seasons and was described in its prime as “sumptuous Sunday evening viewing.”

How to watch it:

Mr Selfridge is available to purchase on Google Play.

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Write to Kate Samuelson at kate.samuelson@time.com