There’s nothing quite like Netflix’s Bridgerton. There aren’t many shows like Bridgerton because the series has such lavish production value. Each episode of season one of the show reportedly had a budget of $7 million. That means that it’s one of the richest series on television with delightful period costumes, stunning sets, intrepid art direction, and one of the finest casts ever assembled. Now, it’s not easy finding that caliber of a TV show but there are some options that are equally as satisfying.
If you’ve finished the latest season of the series, you are likely craving other shows like Bridgerton. There are many period dramas out there but there are few that share such contemporary sensibilities. We at Mamas Uncut love saucy TV and we’ve seen some excellent series that feel like they operate in a similar lane as Bridgerton and we also believe that fans of the show will enjoy. Take a look at our Bridgerton-inspired picks!
Keep Pretending You’re On the Ton With These Shows Like Bridgerton!
Sanditon stars Rose Williams (Reign) and Theo James (Divergent) who play the lead characters of Charlotte Heywood and Sidney Parker. The story finds Charlotte as she moves to the sleepy fishing village of Sanditon for a fresh start, only to cross paths with Sidney, a charming man who has ambitions to turn the tranquil seaside community into a luxury resort. The story is based on Jane Austen‘s final novel and it is juicy!
One of the best shows like Bridgerton skips the steamy romance for a fast-paced plot. Based on the novel of the same name and set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Vanity Fair follows poverty-stricken Becky Sharp as she attempts to claw her way out of the dregs of society and scale the heights of the English upper crust. In her efforts to advance her station, her manipulation, antics, forbidden romances, fighting, and dancing land her in the court of King George IV while breaking plenty of hearts and losing money along the way. Becky is played by the delightful Olivia Cooke (Ready Player One).
If the saucy bits and the costumes are your favorite parts of Bridgerton, you will likely love Harlots. The show is set in 18th-century London and finds warring brothel Madames at the center of its plot. At the time, prostitution was the most profitable commercial activity in the city and the “harlots” are artists of their craft, trained and well-educated to appeal to upper-class clientele. It’s a surprisingly feminist TV series that often utilizes the female gaze in the steamy scenes in a similar fashion as Bridgerton. It’s definitely more raucous but it’s one of the most fun shows like Bridgerton.
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
The series that made period dramas actually sexy, Pride and Prejudice comes from prolific, English TV creator Andrew Davies (who also created Sanditon). Watch Colin Firth as Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy in this series and you’ll never look at him the same way again! The miniseries is based on the Jane Austen novel of the same name and tells the story of the unlikely love affair between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It’s one of the shows like Bridgerton because it deals heavily with class and money and the way marriages are tied up in both.
Unless you are steeped in the history of the British royal family, you might not know that Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert had a very hot and heavy relationship. The all-star cast for this historical drama includes Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) as Victoria and Tom Hughes (The Game) as Albert. The show chronicles the rule of the monarch and all of her personal trials including the agony and ecstasy of her marriage. If you love the Queen in Bridgerton, watch this behind-the-scenes tale about one of England’s most iconic monarchs.
One of the shows like Bridgerton that has it all is the BBC’s updated Poldark series that began in 2015. The show has it all: action, adventure, romance, and sweeping views of Cornwall are all awaiting you. The show stars two very pretty lead actors Aidan Turner (The Hobbit) and Eleanor Tomlinson (Death Comes to Pemberly) who end up an unlikely pair. Capt. Ross Poldark returns to Cornwall after fighting in the American Revolutionary War only to discover that his family has passed away and the love of his life is set to be married. This one is slow to take off but once it gets going, it’s an absolute blast to watch.
If a lesbian romance set in the mind-1800s sounds dry to you, we urge you to think again. Based on the real-life letters of Anne Lister, Gentleman Jack tells Lister’s story as a mover and shaker among landowners and investors, one of the few women active in that sort of role at the time. Lister is played by the brilliant Suranne Jones (Doctor Foster) and although the story is based on real events from nearly 200 years ago, Lister feels like a character you would still want to go grab a drink with today. Lister’s relationship in the series feels like some of those forbidden romances in “the Ton” making it one of the really fun shows like Bridgerton.
The Gilded Age
If you were a fan of Downton Abbey, you will also fall in love with The Gilded Age and while the setting is not in some English country locale, the high-stakes world of New York City in the late 19th century offers plenty of intriguing situations. With a cast that includes Christine Baransky, Carrie Coon, Cynthia Nixon, and Louisa Jacobson (who is one of Meryl Streep‘s daughters!), it’s hard for this show to be anything but a blast.
Power is the currency here which makes it very much one of the shows like Bridgerton. Titans of industry meet NYC’s social scene where similar power dynamics exist. As with Bridgerton, no expense has been spared on the production of this ambitious series.
Our favorite of the shows like Bridgerton, The Great is another big-budget period series that tells the story of Catherine the Great of Russia’s ascension. It’s basically a vehicle for Elle Fanning (Maleficent) to swing for the fences in every scene and she’s completely magnetic and at the top of her game as Catherine. The show is the sort of pitch-black comedy you might expect from Tony McNamara, the creator of the show and the writer of the hit film The Favourite. It very loosely follows history and is hilarious as it is brutal.
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Gossip Girl (2007)
No list of shows like Bridgerton would be complete without its spiritual cousin, Gossip Girl. Xoxo! Bridgerton is a more grownup version of Gossip Girl and if you somehow have never seen this coming of age series, it shares a mysterious gossip as a narrator whose identity is unknown to the characters in the show. There are petty fights, fleeting romances, and plenty of trash-talking in Gossip Girl as well. If you can muster the interest to care about the social life of rich private school students, you should give it a go.
War & Peace (2016)
Another one of the shows like Bridgerton is 2016’s War & Peace. It’s a miniseries that takes itself far more seriously than Bridgerton but it’s an artful show with a huge scope that tells the intimate stories of how the Russian conflict with Napoleon affected a handful of aristocratic families in Russia. With a cast that includes Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), Lily James (Cinderella), and James Norton (Happy Valley), the show has some high-caliber talent in every scene. There’s war, romance, backstabbing, and tons of drama to enjoy. This is another Andrew Davies project and we think it’s his finest.
If you’re after another bodice-ripper, travel to the Highlands of Scotland for Outlander. The fantasy series is actually one of the shows like Bridgerton for its sex-positive outlook. There’s a time travel element that may turn off some viewers but if you stay for the romance between Claire and Jamie played by Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, you’re in for a treat. The show is a bit clumsy but overall the characters are lovable, the Scottish accents are just divine, the knits are on point, and the scenery is unparalleled.
Another one of the shows like Bridgerton that breathes new life into the period drama genre is Dickinson. The show finds Emily Dickinson as quite the party animal who dabbles in opium and twerks, in a corset and all, to bangers by Drake. The show stars Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) who is just fabulous as Emily. The show mines the intersection of gender, class, and family in 19th century England. It’s very fun and funny, told with plenty of heart, and is definitely worth your time.
The Pursuit of Love
If you’re looking for shows like Bridgerton that aren’t a huge commitment, consider The Pursuit of Love which tells its story in just three episodes. The show follows Linda (Lily James) and Fanny (Emily Beecham) who are cousins and best friends. The pair drifts apart as they come of age. One favors pragmatism and the other, romance. Set in England between the World Wars, this series based on Nancy Mitford‘s novel of the same name is a real treat for the eyes and the heart.
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Howard’s End (2018)
Howard’s End is an excellent period drama that mines the social and class divisions of early 20th century England through a look at the intersection of three families. It’s one of the shows like Bridgerton that’s on a smaller scale. The wealthy family the Willcoxes, the idealistic Schlegels, and the lower-class Basts all have more in common than they’d like to admit. Those shared longings brush up against the realities of the haves and the have-nots.
The show is anchored by the stellar performances from Hayley Atwell (Captain America) and Matthew Macfadyen (Succession) but the colorful supporting cast that includes the hilarious Tracey Ullman is also a delight to watch.
There you go! We hope you found some shows like Bridgerton to watch next. There aren’t many shows like Bridgerton because it is so singular but we hope these period dramas quench your thirst for more.
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 1 Keep Pretending You’re On the Ton With These Shows Like Bridgerton!
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