The Crown’s Emma Corrin
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Season 4 of The Crown got right to the good stuff, and it didn’t disappoint. Most recently, we were introduced to Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) in the Netflix drama, which chronicled her courtship with Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor). Gillian Anderson portrayed Margaret Thatcher during her time in Downing Street, and Olivia Colman played Queen Elizabeth II during her reign, which lasted from 1979 to about 1990. This resulted in a slew of tantalizing episodes. Unknown release date for Season 5 is the bad news.
Now that you’ve finished watching The Crown and are looking for something to take your mind off of the lack of new episodes, here are 10 shows that could help you pass the time until the next season comes around. They range from historical dramas to docuseries to, yes, baking competitions.
Thatcher-the-Queen relationship was ‘bound to fracture,’ says Gillian Anderson in The Crown
Interested in seeing what else we’ve got on our list? They’re in abundance here! The best Netflix horror series and the best supernatural shows to watch right now are also on our list.
The fictional saga of Bridgerton’s scandals is another great British period piece. It’s like a Regency-era Gossip Girl, complete with a mysterious gossip writer (voiced by Julie Andrews!) who tracks all the juicy stories in high society in London for her anonymous column, in the smash-hit adaptation of Julia Quinn’s bestselling romance novel series, executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) makes her social debut and falls in love with a recalcitrant duke in the show’s first season (Rege-Jean Page). Unlike The Crown, it’s more of a historical fantasy, but it’s still a show about affluent British people who believe that everyone is watching them at all times because, well, they are. Bridgerton also has a dash of palace intrigue because of Queen Charlotte, played by Golda Rosheuvel. You should be forewarned that this one gets hot and heavy. [Netflix] -Kelly Connolly
2. Downton Abbey
You’re looking for historically accurate costumes for a historical event? Isn’t the production design stunning? Are the well-to-do Britons being fussy? How about a show for you. You may have heard of it as The Crown. However, there is also Downton Abbey to consider. Aristocratic drama Downton Abbey by Julian Fellowes, about the Crawley family and the people who work on their estate, takes place before the events of The Crown (the series begins with the Titanic’s sinking in 1912), and although Downton is much more into its delicious soapiness than The Crown, the two shows are very much tied together and share a lot of similarities. You can find all of this and more in the six seasons (and a movie!) of the upstairs/downstairs shenanigans of Downton Abbey if you’ve finished The Crown and want to see how the other half lives, hear people talk about family duty, or visit another set of sisters who sometimes make life miserable for one another but ultimately love one another. [Watch Peacock on Amazon]
3. The Tudors
Wait until you meet the Tudors if you thought the Windsors were bad. From 1509 to 1547, this Showtime miniseries follows the Tudor dynasty’s King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who sat on the English throne. When it comes to running the country, this fictional monarch does things quite differently than Queen Elizabeth II. Henry VIII of the Tudors is a volatile, ambitious, and horny jerk. Despite only having four seasons, the show manages to cover all six of Henry VIII’s wives, with the story of Anne Boleyn (played by Natalie Dormer) being the most compelling. Plus, you’ll get to see Henry Cavill before he became Superman. That’s just a little something extra I wanted to give you in the spirit of the season. It’s well due to you!
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, as the longest-reigning British monarch in history, surpassing the record she had previously held. There are numerous parallels between the lives of the two women. The young, ill-prepared Princess Victoria (Jenna Coleman) assumes the throne in PBS Masterpiece’s exploration of a queen’s reign, which, like The Crown, is dogged by doubters. As the queen grows into a formidable monarch and deals with her husband Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), an outsider who struggles to find his role within the monarchy, and becoming a mother, Victoria concludes its third season in 2019. There are parallels here once more.
5. The Great
Hulu’s The Great is a good option if you enjoy stories about strong female monarchs but want a break from sometimes stifling English traditions (said with affection, people!). First season premiered earlier this year, and a second season has already been ordered. The show centers on the rise of Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning), Russian Empress, and her plot to overthrow her husband Peter III (Nicholas Hoult). Be warned: The Great’s tenor is nearly polar opposite that of The Crown. It’s bizarre, amusing, and rife with vice. Even though it’s wildly inaccurate in terms of historical accuracy, it’s still a clever satire, and Fanning is fantastic as the show’s protagonist.
Who among us is not in desperate need of more Olivia Colman? There is a fine line that Queen Elizabeth II has to walk as monarch between duty and being a real human being with real human emotions. She is at her best when this internal struggle is just beneath the surface (like say, when you visit with all four of your children and realize they are absolute train wrecks). Broadchurch in the UK features another Colman character with a job to do, and his emotions might get in the way of that. David Tennant (as D.I. Alec Hardy) is assigned to work with Colman’s Ellie Miller on a case involving the murder of a local boy. Colman’s gut-wrenching performance as her world is turned upside down will have you staying for the great chemistry between her and Tennant.
7. The Americans
When The CrownSeason 4 is over, try The Americans, a show set in the 1980s that has both global-scale plotlines and intimate looks at complicated parent-child relationships and an Elizabeth and Phillip marriage that’s complicated on an intimate level. Six seasons of FX’s espionage drama set during the Cold War were broadcast from 2013 to 2018. The show centers on the Jennings family, a pair of Russian spies who pretend to be a perfect American family outside of Washington, D.C. Even though The Americans has more action than The Crown, both shows are just as engrossing and intricate in their own ways.
8. Queen Sugar
OWN’s Queen Sugar has nothing to do with the monarchy, despite its title suggesting otherwise. As one daughter takes over the family business after her father dies, it has everything to do with tense sibling relations. Does this sound familiar to you? An Ava DuVernay film based on the Natalie Baszile book, Queen Sugar follows the Bordelon family as they run their rural Louisiana sugarcane farm in the early 1900s As a result of the unexpected death of the family patriarch, estranged middle sibling Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) returns home to help keep the farm afloat while also trying to heal old wounds and build new relationships with her half-siblings Nova (Rutina Wesley) and Ralph Angel (Ralph Angel) (Kofi Siriboe).
Like in The Crown, the Bordelon family is sometimes torn apart by both old and new family trauma. Queen Sugar’s cinematography, like that of The Crown, may be enough to make it worthwhile to watch on its own. You can see it on Hulu or OWN.
9. The Great British Baking Show
The Great British Baking Show, or The Great British Bake Off as it is known in the UK, is a must-see for any insatiable anglophile. Do you have any idea what you’re doing? Finish watching The Crown and then jump right into this venerable British baking competition. It’ll calm your frazzled spirit. Because of its addictive politeness, the show, which pits home bakers against each other in a tent in the middle of an English garden, has grown in popularity over time. As a result, the Baking Tent offers an unfussy view of British culture devoid of intrigue or conflict: spend some time in the Baking tent to get a different perspective on British culture. You can see it on Netflix.
10. The Royal House of Windsor
The Crown fans who like to double-check the historical accuracy of the show’s plot points should give this six-part documentary series a try. It’s currently available on Netflix. Queen Elizabeth II’s grandfather King George V renamed his family’s dynasty from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917 due to strong anti-German sentiment. The Royal House of Windsor was released in 2017 in honor of this anniversary. The docuseries kicks off with the abdication of King Edward VIII and covers the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and her father King George VI, the marriage of Elizabeth and Philip, and yes, the Diana years.