Riveting, heart-wrenching and endlessly fascinating, the Netflix-original drama ‘The Crown’ had us hooked ever since it hit the screens in 2016. There have been many movies released in the past that dealt with the life and duties of the world’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. However, what ‘The Crown’ did was exhibit the Queen with all of her vulnerabilities that probably always stayed behind closed doors. For the world, the Royal Family has always been surrounded by scandals. And among those controversies was Queen’s husband, Prince Philip’s alleged affairs as well.
The show played with these intricacies from the monarch’s perspective, portraying her as the one who is the head of a country while having a family of her own to think about as well. It reflects the myriad of inner thoughts and desires that the Queen has battled to maintain her stature as the leader of a state. Not to forget the stunning performance by Claire Foy that only added more spice to the drama and kept us gripped to our seats. No wonder she bagged the best actress award at the 2017 Golden Globe and 2018 Emmy Awards. Another actor that deserves mention in the success of the series is Vanessa Kirby for the role of Princess Margaret. Her seamless and natural depiction of the traumatizing life that the Queen’s sister had, undoubtedly throws more light into what it’s like to be born Royal.
‘The Crown’ is all set to return with season 3 in 2019. Netflix has confirmed Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies as the new Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, respectively, in the returning seasons. Sadly, the broadcaster has not announced an actual date when the show is expected to air again. Hence, if you have just finished binge-watching the show and can’t wait for the upcoming seasons anymore just like me, here is a list of TV series similar to The Crown that will keep you engaged and entertained till then – or even later. You can watch several of these shows like The Crown on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
1. The Tudors (2007 – 2010)
Long before the jaw-dropping drama of the Windsor’s unfolded lived an infamous ruler of England, Henry VIII. The show circles around the King’s reign in the 16th century as the second monarch of the ‘House of Tudors,’ and his six marriages, two of which led to his wives being beheaded. Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers from ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ fame stars in this captivating drama that aired from 2007 to 2010. If you are fond of historical dramas presented in a sumptuous and enthralling way, you can’t miss this series. Although audiences and many critics have cited that the show lacks historical accuracy, the fabulous acting of Meyers makes it worth a watch. The show ran for four seasons and Meyers even grabbed nominations for the best actor in Golden Globe in 2008 and 2009. The series is available on Netflix.
2. The White Queen (2013)
If you get too spent from all the bloodbath shown in ‘The Tudors,’ we suggest you to buck up for more. ‘The White Queen’ enfolds the Wars of Roses that occurred from 1455 to 1487, culminating in the establishment of the ‘House of Tudors’. The 10-part series features three women, namely Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville, representing two sides of the same dynasty – House of Lancaster and House of York, who were all eyeing the throne during that era. The series is based on Phillip Gregory’s novel of the same title with Woodville, the York Queen being the lead character. Swedish actress Rebecca Ferguson plays the role of Woodville, and her striking dramatization of the same earned her a Golden Globe nomination in 2014. In fact, the mini-series itself was nominated for four Emmy and three Golden Globe awards. If the twists showcased in ‘The Crown’ got you into British history, you ought to watch this brilliant portrayal of a time that commenced a 117-year-old reign of the Tudors. The show is available on Amazon Prime with Starz subscription.
3. The Royals (2015 – 2018)
If a scandal-filled Royal Family ignites your interest, you must watch ‘The Royals’. The show is created by E! network and is based on a fictional British Royal Family – the Henstridges. Set in modern-day London, Elizabeth Hurley stars in the series as the protagonist, Queen Helena. The show is a far cry from the seriousness of ‘The Crown,’ but with its drama, sensual elements, strings of twists and not to forget, scalding scandal, it is the perfect recipe to fill your post-Crown appetite. The series ran for four seasons from 2015 to 2018, and you can tune into it on Amazon Prime.
4. Downtown Abbey (2010 – 2015)
No Royal drama list is ever complete without this masterpiece by Jullian Fellowes. Wars, epic romances, gossips, tragedies – you name it, the show will offer you that. The series is set between 1912 and 1926, and circles around a fictional British aristocratic family – the Crawley, and their servants in the county estate of Downtown Abbey in Yorkshire. It showcases major events during that time – the First World War, the Irish State of Independence and even the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, to name a few, and reflects how these incidents directly pose an impact on the lives of the Crawleys. The show has a stellar cast, including ‘Harry Potter’ fame Maggie Smith who plays the role of Violet Crawley. ‘Downtown Abbey’ beautifully portrays the time of the British aristocracy and how it slowly saw an exit from the United Kingdom. Besides winning an Emmy and Golden Globe for the best series, the show was named by Guinness World Records as the critic’s top picked English TV series of 2011.
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5. Reign (2013 – 2017)
The time of the Tudors saw the executions of many, including two queen consorts – Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who were the second and fifth wife of Henry VIII, respectively. Among these beheadings, one was ordered by Boleyn’s only daughter – Queen Elizabeth I, and that was of her distant cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots. ‘The Reign’ has Mary in its leading role. But here is a catch: if you think that the series has striking depictions of the actual historical occurrences, you are in for a great surprise. Although Mary is the protagonist, the show is steeped in fiction and that is what makes it worth watching a thousand times. It blends all the essential elements – suspense, jealousy, secrets, war, and whatnot, which will keep you yearning for more and make you binge-watch through four seasons. Adelaide Kane from ‘Teen Wolf’ stars as Mary and you can catch the show on Netflix.
6. Gunpowder (2017)
This TV series will attract all ‘Game of Thrones’ fans. Why? It has Kit Harrington portraying the role of one of his ancestors, Robert Catesby. Yes, you read it right! The Gunpowder plot of 1605 that was concocted by Robert Gatesby and Guy Fawkes to assassinate King James VI and I, the only child of Mary, Queen of Scots, is the focus of this three-part miniseries. The duo along with the help of other English Catholics had planned to blow up the House of Lords as a result of their outrage for the persecutions of the English Catholics. Although not exactly a Royal drama, the show throws light on an important happening in British history. The series was released in 2017 and is available to watch on HBO.
7. Outlander (2014 – Present)
If you are anticipating how Tobias Menzies will take on the role of Prince Philip in season 3 of ‘The Crown,’ you can check him out in this award-winning TV series. The show is a time-travel historical drama based on the book series of the same name written by Diana Gabaldon. It circles around the life of a World War II nurse, Claire Randall who sees herself travelling back almost two-centuries from 1845 to 1743, only to be an active member of the Jacobite uprisings in Scotland. This show is a perfect amalgamation of history with supernatural elements, and will help you to understand the British history even better. Caitriona Balfe plays the role of Randall for which she has grabbed four best actress Golden Globe nominations. The show first aired in 2014 and is currently at its fourth season. Once you get hooked into the series, you will be happy to know that Starz has renewed it for season five and six as well. ‘Outlander’ is available to binge-watch on Netflix.
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8. The Virgin Queen (2005)
If the life of Queen Elizabeth II has left you amazed, wait till you find out the life-tales of Elizabeth I. Hailed as the ‘Virgin Queen’ for her public oath to preserve her virginity, the TV series portrays the long and impacting 45-year old Elizabethan era that the iconic queen established. From her days as a young princess, dreaded by her half-sister Mary I to her passionate and utterly heartbreaking love story with Robert Dudley, the series not only reveals Queen Elizabeth I in a different light but will hit you right in the heart. Anne-Marie Duff does a marvelous job in portraying the character of Elizabeth I while ‘Inception’ star Tom Hardy shines as Dudley. The show received a nomination at the BAFTA Awards in 2007 for best series while Duff earned a nomination for best actress. The show is available to watch on Amazon Prime with PBS Masterpiece subscription.
9. The Royal House of Windsor (2017 – Present)
If dramatic adaptations feel monotonous, we recommend you to watch this documentary. It spans a 100-year-old monarchical era, starting from the abdication of King Edward VIII (Queen Elizabeth’s uncle) to the tragic and sudden death of Princess Diana. Much like ‘The Crown’ which focuses on the outgoing and unconventional personality of Prince Philip, this documentary-series shows how he laid the foundation stone of making the Royal Family more of a regular name among the Britons. The show offers a platter full of sizzling drama, political tensions and secrets that the Royal Family has witnessed for a century. You can catch the documentary on Netflix.
10. Victoria (2016 – Present)
Needless to say that Queen Victoria was one of the most iconic monarchs to ever rule the United Kingdom and Ireland. Much like her great-great-granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II, Victoria took over as the head of the State at a very young age too. The TV series follows the journey of one of Britain’s most celebrated queens and the significant way she contributed in changing the British society; not to forget her strong bond with her husband Prince Albert. The tales of Queen Victoria has a stark resemblance with Queen Elizabeth as both were forced to take the throne with no other choice left, following the death of their uncle and father, respectively. ‘Victoria’ promises you a nail-biting drama and a prominent insight into the 63-year old reign of what turned out to be the famous Victorian era. First aired in 2016, the show is currently at its third season. ‘Doctor Who’ star Jenna Coleman plays the role of Queen Victoria while Tom Hughes can be seen as Prince Albert. You can catch the riveting drama on PBS Masterpiece.
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11. Wolf Hall (2015)
Another show from the time of Henry VIII and another exhibition of the bloodshed that occurred during the time. However, this show is depicted neither from the King’s point of view nor from any of his wives’. The show focuses on Henry’s Chief Minister, Thomas Cromwell, who was also a lawyer. It throws light into the mastery that he used to rid the King of his marriage to second wife Anne Boleyn and bring about the eventual downfall of the latter, causing her to be executed. The show highlights the strong connection that Cromwell shared with the King, which ignites several of the former’s important decisions – both inside and outside the kingdom. Mark Rylance, whom you can remember from ‘Dunkirk,’ stars as Cromwell. The show is a miniseries and was first aired in 2015, having six episodes. It won best TV series at Golden Globe 2016 and Rylance bagged a nomination for the best actor. This show comes with a surprise for all ‘The Crown’ fans as it has Claire Foy in the role of Anne Boleyn. You can watch the miniseries on Netflix.
12. Versailles (2015 – 2018)
This series brings to you the stories and scandals of the French Monarchy. It describes the decision of a young King Louis XIV of France to shift the Royal court from Paris to the suburbs of Versailles amidst scanty budget, which invites the rage of his nobles and triggers political catastrophe. The show comprises romances, power, deception and war – all that makes it a very interesting watch, following ‘The Crown’. George Blagden portrays the role of King Louis. The show has received a Saturn Award nomination in 2017 and two Canadian Screen Awards nominations in 2017 and 2018. It was first aired in 2015 and ran for three seasons till 2018. You can watch the gripping drama on Netflix.
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