Shows like Poldark presented audiences with something completely different relative to what most people expect from a period drama. Based on Winston Graham’s books of the same name, Poldark was a historical drama that played out over five seasons before ending, leaving plenty of fans wanting more. The show took place after the American Revolutionary War, focusing on a British soldier named Ross Poldark, who returned home to find his entire life in disarray. His father had died, his home was a mess, and the love of his life had moved on.
With all these items in focus, it was a historical drama unlike almost any other, and that is part of what made it such a success. It is also what makes finding other shows like Poldark difficult for fans who want more of this type of tale. With great acting, romantic adventures, an almost soap opera-styled setup, and all the costumes and set design that fans of period pieces love so much, there are still a few shows to search out that can offer a similar experience to the adventures of Ross Poldark and his friends, family, and enemies.
15 The White Queen (2013)
- Stream now on Prime Video & Starz
Even though it takes place quite a few centuries before shows like Poldark, The White Queen is still worth a watch. Offering stellar performances from Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale, and Max Irons, the show is a treat for lovers of British television. Following the story of Elizabeth Woodville in the 15th century, this 10-episode miniseries is a bite-sized, binge-worthy show full of drama, suspense, and even a little witchcraft thrown in the mix. While there are many liberties taken where historical accuracy is concerned, it will delight even the sternest of historians.
14 The Paradise (2012-2013)
- Stream now on Prime Video
A little bit further than shows like Poldark’s historical setting arrives BBC’s The Paradise, a 16-episode drama that will captivate those who simply can’t live without some good old-fashioned historical shows. Following country girl Denise as takes a job at The Paradise, one of the biggest department stores in the country, this Primetime Emmy-nominated show is a must for those who long for the days of hard-working British people. The series only lasted for two seasons, and it was a little more lighthearted than Poldark, while still keeping the historical aesthetic.
13 Land Girls (2009-2011)
Land Girls bring the extra female power that shows like Poldark sometimes lacked, even with the presence of Demelza and Elizabeth. Similar to Poldark, it has a war-based background, this one taking place during World War II, and it dares to go where other shows hadn’t gone in the past. With 15 episodes spanning three seasons, Land Girls took its viewers through the motions and hardships alongside the Women’s Land Army members who struggle in all areas of life against the backdrop of a violent war.
12 Home Fires (2015-2016)
- Stream now on PBS Masterpiece
Unfortunately, Home Fires only lasted for two seasons with twelve episodes in total, but the incredible content makes up for what the show lacks in quantity. Once again, this is similar to shows like Poldark, as it takes place during a war. This one is about a group of women living during World War II. Only this time around, this inspirational and awe-inducing trio of protagonists introduces us to the ins and outs of surviving in a rural Cheshire community while the world is ravaged by war. This is an intense drama, with a lot of emotional moments throughout.
11 Mr. Selfridge (2013-2016)
- Stream now on PBS Masterpiece
For anyone who loved the self-made man narrative from shows like Poldark, Mr. Selfridge is a great show to watch. Based on real events and the story behind the founder of the Selfridge & Co. department store in London, this cheerful, yet heartbreaking show is about Harry Gordon Selfridge, played by American actor Jeremy Piven. Even though it lacks the British charm that characterizes shows like Poldark, it brings to the table fantastic performances, mind-blowing sets, and great dialogue. There are also 40 episodes over four seasons.
10 Little Dorrit (2008)
Shows like Poldark exist thanks to the novels that came before, and that is also the case with the 2008 British miniseries Little Dorrit. Based on the story by Charles Dickens, the seven-time Emmy-winning Little Dorrit stars Claire Foy (The Crown) as a young woman caring for her father while working as a seamstress. Themes like social class and romance are explored in-depth, which fans of shows like Poldark will recognize immediately. Plus, it stars some of the most talented British actors of this generation, including Mathew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice), Andy Serkis, and Eddie Marsan.
9 Wuthering Heights (2009)
When it comes to literary classics that influenced shows like Poldark, Wuthering Heights comes into the discussion. This English masterpiece by Emily Brontë has received adaptations to both the big and small screen several times, with each adaptation giving us something new and unique. For the TV versions, the 2009 series starring Tom Hardy as Heathcliff should attract fans of shows like Poldark. While the show might not match up to some of the movie adaptations, Hardy received almost universal praise for his performance.
8 Jane Eyre (2006)
Charlotte Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre has also been the target of endless movies and TV show adaptations over the years. However, the 2006 version might be the best one to date, mostly due to how faithful it is to the source material. The grim and dark feel of the show will feel familiar to fans of shows like Poldark, much like Jane and Rochester’s rocky relationship. The performances are a delight, and even though it’s a miniseries, it’s definitely worth a watch. It was a critical success as well, picking up three Emmy wins in nine nominations.
7 Victoria (2016-2019)
- Stream now on Prime Video
Fans of shows like Poldark who want something a little more royal will find that in the historical drama Victoria. The series lasted for three seasons and followed Queen Victoria’s early life. The first season was about the first few years of her reign, with the third season finishing 14 years later as she was a mother of six while struggling with political problems. Jenna Coleman starred as Victoria with Tom Hughes as Prince Albert, her husband. The show picked up two Emmy nominations during its run and received widespread critical acclaim.
6 Reign (2013-2017)
- Stream now on Prime Video
While Poldark mostly took itself seriously, for fans of Poldark who want something a little lighter and fun, Reign is the historical TV show that fits that description. Yes, the show has dozens of historic inaccuracies, but for pure entertainment value, it delivers over-the-top drama with great aplomb. The storylines are often a little more teen drama based, but it really makes the life and times of Mary, Queen of Scots interesting. The costumes are the one thing that really makes the show worth watching for fans of historical epics.
5 The Musketeers (2014-2016)
- Stream now on Prime Video & Hulu
Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel has had countless adaptations over the years, and that includes the 2014 British series, The Musketeers. There were three seasons of this adaptation of the story of the swashbuckling heroes. It also had some big names involved with none other than Doctor Who himself, Peter Capaldi, starring as Cardinal Richelieu. For fans of shows like Poldark, this series offers a similar period piece, albeit one century earlier in history, and focuses on young D’Artagnan, as he proves his mettle with the group.
4 And Then There Were None (2015)
Agatha Christie is the best-selling novelist in history, thanks to her two greatest creations, detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Many of her stories also came to movies and TV shows, and in 2015, And Then There Were None hit as a three-episode miniseries. What really makes this a must-watch for fans of shows like Poldark is Aidan Turner, who played Poldark himself. The mystery takes place in 1939 when 10 strangers are invited to an island and are then all accused of murder. When they start to die, one by one, they have limited time to find the murderer before there is only one left.
3 The Woman In White (2018)
Wilkie Collins’ 1860 novel The Woman in White was made into a miniseries in 2018, a show that is both shocking and terrifying. The movie follows two sisters who live far away from the city. When one of them falls in love, she realizes this love will never happen as she is bequeathed to another man. However, that planned marriage has dark reasons of its own. Similar to shows like Poldark, it has everything a fan wants from a historical epic – romance, drama, and mystery, all against the magical backdrop of 19th-century countryside England.
2 Pride And Prejudice (1995)
Jane Austen’s most famous work has been subject to endless adaptations, all completely different from each other, yet keeping the story’s essence. The BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice remains one of the best of them all. Not only does it do a wonderful job of portraying Austen’s 18th-century England, but it also stars Colin Firth as the definitive Mr. Darcy. The romance and the social hierarchy conversation are all there, along with some very interesting costumes, making this a perfect option for anyone who loves shows like Poldark.
1 Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
- Stream now on Prime Video & Peacock
When it comes to shows like Poldark, a great show in a similar vein is the extremely successful Downton Abbey. While it takes place in a very different time period, it remains one of the most compelling and lovable portrayals of social class disparity in the early 20th century. With three Golden Globe wins, 15 Emmys, a six-season run, and a movie, there’s no denying the quality of the show. There’s more than enough drama and romance to go around, in quantities that rival even those viewers witnessed in shows like Poldark.