There are several series and movies that are related to or similar to CW’s Reign or historical dramas about royalty that should be of interest to fans.
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From 2013 to 2017, The CW aired the semi-biographical period drama Reign. Following the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, the series begins in France before moving to Scotland and England as Mary gets older and Elizabeth I becomes a serious threat. Even though the story is based on historical events, many liberties are taken and even elements of fantasy and the supernatural are included in the story.
Some viewers favored the show’s randomness, while others despised it as unrealistic. Even so, the plot of the show closely follows the events of Mary’s life. Season 3 of the show was supposed to wrap up production when it was abruptly cancelled a week before it did. It was a hasty conclusion, but it did provide some closure. Many great female-led period dramas have been left unfinished for some of the show’s fans.
Even among its devoted followers, Reign is still a hit, and it’s clear that period dramas, particularly those with female leads, are only growing in popularity. Shows like Reign, which promote gender equality and female leadership, have never been more important for female empowerment. It’s possible that Mary and Elizabeth’s relationship in the later seasons makes a statement about how women are frequently pitted against one another in a society dominated by men, inadvertently. Reign’s themes, messages, and dramatic elements will ring true in these five additional historical dramas.
1. Pride & Prejudice (2005)
The story of Elizabeth Bennett and her family is told in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel,Pride & Prejudice. When it comes to her sisters’ marriages, Elizabeth’s mother wants the best for them, but she wants to make her own path in the world.
When Elizabeth first meets Mr. Darcy, she discovers how intertwined their fates are. Jane, Elizabeth’s oldest and most sensible sister, is a potential bride for his friend Mr. Bingley, who is courting her. Elizabeth quickly learns that she dislikes Mr. Darcy, despite the fact that she has no prior knowledge of him.
2. Farewell, My Queen (2012)
When Marie Antoinette is a young woman during the French Revolution, this film examines her relationships with those around her. With her position as one of the queen’s most devoted readers, Agatha-Sidonie Laborde gets an inside look at the historical figure’s private life.
This film is a great pick for fans of Mary and her friendship with her ladies in Reign who enjoyed the story. When it comes to the Duchess of Polignac, Marie Antoinette and her reader have a close bond that makes her a fascinating character to study.
3. Jane Eyre (2006/2011)
One more moorland-based period piece, Jane Eyre is based on Charlotte Bront’s classic novel of the same name. Governess Jane moves to Thornfield Hall to work for mysterious Mr. Rochester after being fired from her previous job at a country estate.
Thornfield is a mysterious and eerie setting, similar to the castles that Mary lives in during Reign. In Thornfield, Janesoon is haunted by the strange characters she meets, but Rochester is the most terrifying one. Although they’re attracted to one another, Jane knows less and less about him as time goes on.
4. Testament Of Youth (2014)
Mary appears to have lost everything by the end of Reign.
This book, Testament of You, is also about a woman who has lost everything.
To her conservative father’s dismay, Vera Brittain has high aspirations for herself. When the war starts and her fiancé and brother are separated, she enrolls in college and begins her career. As she waits in agonizing fear and despair, she decides to become a nurse, hoping against hope that she’ll run into one of them while working in the medical facilities.
5. Atonement (2007)
Atonement is renowned for its innovative cinematography, excellent sound design, and stylistic aesthetic. Similarly to Reign, the primary setting is shrouded in secrecy, which causes a young girl to make a terrible mistake.
Her younger sister Briony falsely accuses Robbie Turner of a heinous crime and he is sent off to fight in the war. Cecelia Tallis hesitates to pursue a relationship with the family groundsman, Robbie Turner. Cecelia cuts all ties with Briony as she grows up and comes to terms with what she has done.
6. Mary Queen Of Scots (2018)
There is a much later time jump in Mary’s life in Mary Queen Of Scots, a 2018 film starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. While in the series, Mary has just left for France, here she returns to Scotland to claim her throne.
Viewers who want to learn more about Mary’s time in Scotland but don’t have the time to do so in the series will enjoy this film. Even so, as with the series, the film takes some liberties to give it its own personality.
7. Marie Antoinette (2006)
One more film that looks at a female monarch in an era when society did not expect women to hold positions of power or authority is Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette The Archduchess of Australia, played by Kirsten Dunst, is forced into a marriage with a French aristocrat.
However, the young lady isn’t yet ready to take on the responsibilities of royalty. She is under increasing pressure to give birth to an heir, but she has been unable to do so due to public disapproval. When it comes to taking her role seriously or appreciating the gravity of a revolt, she is described as childish and playful.
8. The Duchess (2008)
Despite the fact that it was panned by critics, Keira Knightley’s period piece was still nominated for an Oscar. Ralph Fiennes plays the Duke of Devonshire (Georgina) in the film.
She quickly learns that he doesn’t care about her or respect her, and that his only goal in life is to have a child with her. She manages to gain and lose the aristocracy’s respect while she and her husband engage in extramarital affairs that are made widely known.
9. Anna Karenina (2012)
Adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s sweeping Russian novel, Anna Karenina stars Keira Knightley. Despite being a work of fiction, the story captures the attitudes of the 19th century toward women of high status.
Anna, an aristocrat who is married to Count Vronsky (Jude Law) and has a son with him (Alexei Karenin, played by Jude Law), is banished because of her liaison with the Count (Aaron Taylor-Joy). Oblonsky’s (Matthew Macfadyen) affair, on the other hand, garners sympathy because of how much more well-known it was than hers was.
10. Cursed (2020-)
Cursed, a Netflix original series based on the Arthurian legend, will premiere in July 2020. The series centers on a young woman named Nimue (Katherine Langford), who finds herself at the center of fantasy, adventure, and historical fiction elements.
The Fey are capable of accessing ancient magic, and she possesses this ability. She has far more power than she realizes or wants when combined with the Sword of Power.
11. Medici (2016 – 2019)
Reign’s Toby Regbo starred in a popular series called Medici, which starred Richard Madden, Daniel Sharman, and other Reign actors. An Italian noble family rose to power in the 15th century by running a successful bank. The show is based on the real-life Medici family.
The series, which aired from 2016 to 2019, followed the rise to power of the Medici family amidst the turmoil of medieval Italy’s social upheavals. Taking place in France and Scotland shortly before the reign of Mary the Virgin, the story has a tight timeline.
12. The Tudors (2007 – 2010)
Reign’s Elizabeth I fans will enjoy The Tudors, which delves into the history of her illustrious ancestors. Due to Elizabeth being Mary’s cousin, the Tudor family name was adopted by the two of them.
The series, which won an Emmy for best historical drama, focuses on Henry VIII’s early years of rule in England. The series also explores the king’s numerous wives, which were legendary.
13. The Virgin Queen (2005)
In this four-part BBC miniseries, Elizabeth I’s reign as Queen of England is examined in great detail. Anne-Marie Duff plays the young princess who grows up to become the queen.
Later in the series, Tom Hardy’s Robert Dudley character has an affair with her.
Reigndoesn’t have the time to fully explore Elizabeth’s life because Mary is the main character; however, The Virgin Queenis an excellent choice for fans who want to learn more about her story.
14. Outlander (2014 – )
The movie Outlander is based on the same-named book series by Diana Gabaldon. This is one of the most popular period dramas on television right now, with a sixth season on the way.
An ex-war nurse named Claire has just been reunited with her husband in 1945 when, all of a sudden, she finds herself in 1743. Her heart is torn in two when she meets James Fraser, just like Mary was when she couldn’t decide between Francis and Bash.
15. The Crown (2016 – )
The Crown, a Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, concludes this list. Beginning in the 1940s with her accession to the throne at the age of 25, it moves forward to the present day.
Popular Netflix original The Crown explores how the queen’s early years helped shape her future and that of England as a whole.
Her Russian parents moved from Moscow to Brisbane, Australia, where they raised Svetlana Sterlin (she/her) and completed a BFA there. She also writes for ScreenRant and Our Culture Magazine. Passionate about movies and books, Svetlana is also an accomplished writer in a variety of styles and genres across the board. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in a number of print and online journals.