The best historical series

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Steven L. Ken
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Today we're knocking on your door with a very special announcement: we haven't invented a time machine (yet), but what we're bringing you will have the same effect, without the added danger of being trapped among dinosaurs, or being caught by the black plague in an unfortunate leap back to the 14th century.

Fasten your seatbelt, because today we're going back in time with a selection of the best historical series of the moment.



Travel back in time with the best period series

You don't have to travel to fiction to make history interesting. Despotic kings with endless mistresses, bloody battles, wealthy families with terrible secrets, or simply fascinating past eras whose customs are the perfect context in which to place the characters. As they say, reality trumps fiction, and besides being entertaining, the following historical series can even teach you more than you remember from history class at school.

Since there are so many historical series whose seasons are as long as the list of Henry VIII's wives, today we'll focus on some of the ones that have been on everyone's lips for the last few years. Classics like the monumental The Tudors, The Pillars of the Earth, or Elizabeth are always worth it!

The Crown

There are more series about deceased historical figures than we have fingers to count. Many of them have taken liberties in the representation of these figures because the dead can not come to complain, but the work of The Crown concerns people as alive today as you and me, which makes it a series as ambitious as accurate and excellent.



The Crown is not content with a single era and a single set of historical characters. The acclaimed British series follows the - long - life of the country's current queen, focusing on different time periods each season, and introducing the monarchical personalities that correspond to each decade. The series does an extraordinarily thorough job of depicting real events and characters, with a superb cast that has captivated audiences and critics alike.

The most recent season - the fourth - has made waves, with Olivia Colman as the adult Queen Elizabeth II, Emma Corrin as Lady Di, Josh O'Connor playing (in fiction) a young Prince Charles of Wales, and Gillian Anderson playing Margaret Thatcher, among many others. Undoubtedly, one of the best historical series of the moment.

https://youtu.be/zzBjNG1GKu4

Peaky Blinders

From the British Isles also comes Peaky Blinders, but their contexts couldn't be more different: from the royalty of Buckingham Palace we travel to early 20th century Birmingham to meet a criminal gang known as the Peaky Blinders.

Cillian Murphy plays the head of the gangster family, inviting the viewer into a dark world of violence and crime as his family's questionable activities and power expand more and more.

This is a story of crime, power and family, but also a portrait of interwar English society and a historic Birmingham. Still, despite its historical setting and its inspiration from a real crime group, Peaky Blinders is still a fictional tale, and the intimidating Tommy Shelby as frightening as he is an excellent BBC creation - thankfully!



https://youtu.be/H282c9q2MUU

Babylon Berlin

The 1920s and crime seem to go hand in hand, as the following series also unites this historical context with a crime theme to take us to the Berlin of the Weimar Republic.

The story mainly follows two main characters: Inspector Gereon Rath, a policeman who has moved to Berlin and is struggling with the trauma of his experiences in the First World War; and Charlotte Ritter, who struggles to leave behind her poor origins and become a homicide detective, while working as a flapper in a cabaret at night.

Babylon Berlin is a fictionalized story based on a series of novels by German writer Volker Kutscher. Still, its extraordinary depiction of crime, but also of nightlife, music, politics and German society that will descend both unexpectedly and drastically into the years we all know so well, is absolutely unmissable.

https://youtu.be/nHdWSigNtYw

Vikings

Viking is another one of the best historical series that you have to watch. As the name suggests, this series combines history with Norse legends (partly real, partly fictional) to tell the story of the Vikings, Norse pirates who lived in the Middle Ages.

Vikings focuses in particular on the legendary figure of the Viking leader Ragnar Lothbrok, his family and his descendants, taking as sources the legendary documents and sagas "fornaldarsögur" about his life and deeds. Ragnar will lead his crew and his people to victory with raids on England and France, and will achieve the title of Scandinavian king. The series has now been running for six seasons, with the most recent seasons focusing on his descendants and their adventures throughout Europe.



The series has been such a success that its creators have already promised a sequel, called Vikings: Valhalla, to be released later this year. The sequel will obviously follow the historical context, but will be set a century after the original, and will tell the stories of some of the other most mythical figures in the history of a Nordic Europe that is still largely unknown to us, but no less fascinating for that.

https://youtu.be/H3p5LD9Kwtc

Versailles

Louis XIV, the Sun King , with his extravagant rituals and customs, his endless lists of lovers, friends and enemies - all somewhat interchangeable with each other - and his wars and political decisions that did not exactly please the people, lived a more dramatic and soap operatic life than anyone else.

It is not at all surprising, then, that the Versailles series sets out to portray just this: the king's growing power, emphasized by his construction of Versailles, the intrigues of the court around him, and the lives of the courtiers of the time - a society as corrupt and detestable as it was charismatic and captivating.

Historical lives and events from France' s most brilliant period, but also exquisitely majestic surroundings and the best of the best in fashion and appearances of the time, Versailles is an experience that appeals to all the senses. Because voyeurism into the extravagant lives of the super-rich is truly timeless.

https://youtu.be/3aF01Z59cjY

Downton Abbey

A classic historical series, Downton Abbey transports us to post-Edwardian Britain (from 1912 to 1926) to invite us to meet the Crawley family, aristocrats living in Downton Abbey, a typical English palace or "country house", with all that the historical and social events of the time entail.

Family and love plots of all tastes and colours are mixed with important moments in the history of the country such as the sinking of the Titanic, the First World War, the flu pandemic of 1918, the interwar period, the Irish War of Independence, and many more. The family and their servants will accompany us through all the ups and downs possible, with impeccable performances from actors like Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter and Lily James.

The series became such a renowned phenomenon among the historical genre of television that, at the end of its sixth and final season, its creators decided to revisit the most aristocratic and exciting Downton Abbey in a film of the same name. For many, this is one of the undisputed best historical series.

https://youtu.be/YPrNs8E-t8E

Mad Men

Mad Men's protagonists may not wear dresses that weigh more than school bags - which is saying a lot - and hairstyles that would surely take up hours of our mornings, but its plots set in 1960s America count - thankfully! - in the historical genre.

We find ourselves in New York, the city where Don Draper, creative director of the marketing agency Sterling Cooper, lives and works. Throughout the series, the viewer follows his life both inside and outside the business, in a fictional portrait but extraordinary for its realism illustrating the society, attitudes and naturally the clothing and aesthetics of the most American 60s.

The series, with no less than seven seasons, serves as a window into the changes, values and events of this decade, and has won multiple awards and recognitions for it. As if that wasn't enough, the performances of actors like Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, and Christina Hendricks among many others make Mad Men an essential stop on our trip to the past.

https://youtu.be/DDabDobbyT0

The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom, or The Last Kingdom, takes us back to the Middle Ages of the Vikings, but this time from the Anglo-Saxon perspective of the Kingdom of Wessex, who resists the attacks of their Danish enemies in a key period for the construction of England.

The Last Kingdom is based on Bernard Cornwell's saga of historical novels The Saxon Stories, so it has been highly praised both by fans of the original novels, as for the historical accuracy of the series. This is a good choice for lovers of history, action and battles, as all the historical elements are joined by cinematography and spectacular war scenes that leave no one indifferent.

The series has an extensive cast, and with four seasons to which will be added a fifth and final, which can be found on Netflix.

https://youtu.be/RSEYEoNnaVk

The Cable Girls

Las chicas del cable was the first Netflix original series produced in Spain in 2017, which made it one of the country's most talked about historical series recently both inside and outside Spain.

It is thus a series set in the historical context of 1928, which evolves until it arrives in the middle of the Civil War as the seasons progress, but its plot is fictional. Combining themes such as friendship, companionship and above all feminism despite the difficulties of the historical context, Las chicas del cable focuses on the story of four young telephone operators of the telephone company. Through the stories of these characters, the series sheds light on the important work of this group of women, invisible in the history books, but who revolutionized the job market for women in the country.

The series has five seasons and a cast with names like Blanca Suárez and Ana Polvorosa. A good option to learn more about a very unknown perspective of our history, and whose argument promises to hook you to the screen.

https://youtu.be/e_lBUTT4e7k

Leonardo

We finish our list of the best historical series with the most recent, although not in the chronological context: the series Leonardo, released this 2021. As you might expect from its title, the series tells the life of the most famous Leonardo in history (and no, it's not the Di Caprio): the famous and multifaceted painter, scientist, engineer, anatomist, and even more, Leonardo Da Vinci.

An incurable perfectionist, Leonardo's life was extraordinary, yet secretive and mysterious at the same time. Through his most famous works and inventions, the series explores the personality, concerns and thoughts of this brilliant and enigmatic artist, exploring the hidden stories behind his creations.

Although he is a very real figure from the past, the series does not pretend to follow the strictest reality of Da Vinci's life, and integrates fictional elements such as an accusation of murder, or the invented character of Caterina da Cremona. The viewer should not look for an accurate biography in the series, but the story itself and the performance of Aidan Turner as the Italian genius - an Aidan Turner that you can also find in another historical series, Poldark - makes the series a good choice to pass the time, and maybe investigate a little more about the most mysterious face of the enigmatic painter of the enigmatic Mona Lisa.

https://youtu.be/Hjd_D7iMWTM

This is our selection of the 10 best historical series to prepare ideas for when the time machine really arrives. We know there are plenty more to enjoy, but we hope our list will help you discover some new favourites to pass the time, and even learn something!


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