Stories set in the medieval period tend to be more interesting. According to IMDb, the following are the best medieval television series.
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An increase in Middle Ages-themed series has occurred, or at least those influenced by the culture and events of that time period. There are numerous examples, ranging from Medieval-inspired fantasy like Game of Thrones and more recently, The Witcher, to shows based on historical events like the Vikings and the White Queen.
Such efforts, whether based on fantasy, historical fiction, or an accurate depiction of real events, are sure to pique the interest of viewers. To put it another way: This period of history is perfect for creating tense settings and gripping narratives.
We’ll look at ten of the best examples of this on Imdb.com with this list.
Stephen LaGioia’s latest update was made on April 15th, 2020.
Due to the popularity of shows like The Witcherin andVikings, we decided to take our swords out of their sheaths once more and investigate some of the best shows based on Medieval history, according to IMDb.com. After all, there are plenty to choose from.
1. Marco Polo
Instead of being based on the well-known children’s game played in swimming pools all over the world, this drama is about a merchant from the 13th century in Italy. Because of Polo’s time in the Mongol court, the show mainly stays away from Western themes and focuses on China during the Yuan Dynasty.
Though it was only on Netflix for two seasons, this show is full of character drama with unexpected turns and lavish set pieces that are loosely based on East Asian history. The lavish cinematography and slick production value reflect the film’s substantial $200 million budget.
2. Mystery!: Cadfael
Killer mysteries seem to be in abundance in Europe a thousand years ago, during the height of the cutthroat period. This British series from the 1990s makes use of the period setting to craft intriguing crime stories. The show combines elements from bothColumbo and Game of Thrones, resulting in an engrossing and unique show.
While our protagonist’s past as a Crusader-turned-Monk has the potential to be amusing, Cadfael focuses on dynamic writing and intriguing plots to keep its viewers interested rather than action.
3. The Pillars Of The Earth
Each of the eight episodes in this historical novel-based miniseries is jam-packed with fascinating backstory and historical accuracy. There are plenty of gripping, dramatic moments in “The Anarchy,” a show based on the English civil war.
On the one hand, the show focuses on the construction of a cathedral while simultaneously providing a rich and complex narrative involving a diverse cast of characters. The lavish backdrops, as well as Ian McShane and Hayley Atwell’s outstanding performances, infuse The Pillars of the Earth with a rich sense of authenticity.
4. The Tudors
While Michael Hirst is most well-known for his work onVikings, a similarly dense and engrossing historical drama made its way to the BBC years earlier.
The Tudors takes place several centuries after that show, focusing on England during the Renaissance period between the Middle Ages and Modernity.
Hirst takes advantage of the opportunities presented by this period of transitional history. While it takes some liberties with the facts, this fascinating Henry VIII drama uses both fiction and history to make it all come together.
The Tudors has received a slew of nominations for the Irish Film and Television Awards despite mixed reviews over the film’s “cheapening of thematic conflicts.”
Although a cartoon about talking mice isn’t historically accurate, it’s entertaining nonetheless. The majestic scene is painted using Medieval themes, but the story is light-hearted and appealing to children at the same time.
This three-season Canadian animated series is based on the best-selling fantasy novels by Brian Jacques. The show, which centers on Matthias, a once-poor mouse, captures the gritty nature of Medieval life while also injecting humor into the mix. This charming cartoon is rounded out by a diverse cast of colorful characters and engrossing fantasy themes.
A Spanish soap opera adaptation of the classic Game of Thrones, heavily inspired by Queen Isabella’s rule in Castile, has resulted in the underrated drama simply titledIsabel. GoT-like drama that follows the rise to power of various major royal family figures, complete with all the ensuing drama and struggle and clashes (minus the dragons and ice zombies, of course).
Rodolfo Sancho is Ferdinand of Aragon and Pablo Derqui is Henry of Castile in this short-lived Spanish show produced by Jaume Banacolocha and Joan Bas. Michelle Jenner plays Isabel. There are authentic Spanish settings and societal/political events such as Christopher Columbus’s voyage and the Spanish Inquisition to add to the complexity.
7. The Hollow Crown
While there are a number of shows loosely based on English history during the Middle Ages, BBC Two’s The Hollow Crownfocuses on major events like the Wars of the Roses in a more accurate and authentic way. Shakespeare’s second tetralogy, which includes plays like The Life and Death of King Richard II, serves as the inspiration for the show.
Set pieces, performances by Cumberbatch, Dench and others, as well as the rich source material, all contribute to the overall success of this action-packed drama. There’s nothing like watching a show go from tumultuous Medieval Britain to chaos and uncertainty as it progresses.
8. The Last Kingdom
Whereas The Last Kingdom focuses on the more violent and cutthroat period of 9th century England, our first two examples explore the evolving late Middle Ages. Drama, strife, and outright conflict are guaranteed because it takes place in a time when Britain was divided into several (often warring) kingdoms.
It’s especially good for fans of Vikings because it shows how emboldened the Northmen raiders become and how they mount attacks on the island. Battle scenes this intense and epic will be rare to see on TV. This sweeping historical show is made richer by a bevy of captivating stories and a cast as diverse as can be.
9. Robin Of Sherwood (1984)
As far as historical and mythological blends go, it’s hard to beat the legend of Robin Hood, a character that’s been the subject of numerous adaptations over the years and decades. Robin of Sherwood, a British TV series created by Richard Carpenter, is a lesser-known, but no less compelling example of this folklore hero.
It’s hard to believe this drama, which ran from 1984 to 1986, developed such a loyal cult following thanks to its riveting portrayal that combines realism with imaginative mythology and is further enhanced by an arresting ambiance.
10. The Witcher
While The Witcher is not the first, it does demonstrate that the combination of real history and myth with majestic fantasy can make for an enjoyable watch.
The Witcher, an action-adventure film based on the critically acclaimed video game and the Andrzej Sapkowski novels, draws inspiration from Eastern European folklore to give the dynamic antihero Geralt a unique backdrop. The show has quickly established itself as an enticing watch for anyone who enjoys fantasy, mythology, action, and characters with depth.
When it comes to epic action and fantastical themes, Berserk from manga-to-anime conversion makes our previous entry look like a historical documentary (albeit an enjoyable one). Guts and Griffith, a contrasting and often conflicted duo, battle it out in a hostile Medieval-inspired setting to establish themselves and stay alive.
A more recent trilogy of films, The Golden Arc, have brought order and polish to this wild, action-packed series, but the original anime remains as rich and absorbing as ever. It has a slew of character-driven plots that are bolstered by the world’s rough, gloomy Medieval settings.
To be interesting, some parts of history don’t even need to be embellished with fantastical or fictional elements. This is the case with Michael Hirst’s epic depiction of Scandinavian society in the 9th century, Vikings. The grandiosity and fun of this action-drama are largely inspired by real Viking events and cultural traits, but creative liberties are taken.
Essentially, the story is about raiders and explorers looking for new lands where they can make a better living. You also have an uproar of conflict, chaos, and clashes both within and outside the Viking nations. As we follow Ragnar Lothbrok and his crew on their harrowing ascent to glory, expect plenty of drama, imaginative plots, and exciting action sequences.
13. Quentin Durward
There are some cinematic limitations due to the dated 1970s production, but this French-German sword and sorcery tale is still worth watching despite its short run of only seven episodes.
The show, which is based on Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel, tells the story of a Scottish adventurer named Quentin who gets caught up in a family feud that threatens to wipe out his entire family. The stakes and the drama only get higher from there, as you might expect. One of our downtrodden heroes must navigate this hostile environment in order to reach the French court of Louis XI and meet up with his only surviving relative.
14. Six Flying Dragons
Many films have been made about medieval Europe’s fascinating and often tragic events. However, this South Korean epic from 2015 shows that the East is just as full of enthralling tales of heroism and political conflict.
This book, like so many others on our list, features both real and fictional characters as well as locations and premises that are loosely based on true events Neo-Confucianism began to rule over Buddhism in the 14th century, and a wave of change swept through society, as seen through the eyes of Prince Lee Bang Won. This is when the Joseon Dynasty was founded.
15. Game Of Thrones
The Benioff and Weiss TV adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s epics still reigns as the best example of medieval historical fiction, despite its mixed reception after its premiere. Game of Thrones shines as a rich and enjoyable action-drama thanks to its three-dimensional characters, excellent writing, and lavish fantasy settings. It’s not uncommon for an episode to contain a mix of action and suspense, as well as moments of emotional turmoil.
As a result of this show, a slew of fantasy and/or Medieval-themed shows have appeared on television, some of which have made our list.