We are discussing 10 series like the Netflix series The Empress that you must watch. Discover our recommendations!
netflixThe latest historical drama series is full of courtly intrigue and lavish dresses. The German-language show may not rely heavily on historical accuracy, but it does provide excellent entertainment. It is based on the early years of Empress Elisabeth of Austriareign, following his unexpected marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph and her struggles with her stepmother and brother Franz. If you’re looking for other shows full of royal drama, we’ve got you covered.
10 shows like The Empress you absolutely must watch
The C.W. Reign is a highly fictionalized account of Mary Stuart’s years in France, before and after her marriage to Prince Francis. Just like Elizabeth in The Empress, Mary has to deal with a strong-willed mother-in-law who would rather her plans not be ruined. Although it doesn’t look much like the real-life Scottish queen, Adelaide Kane’s wonderful performance as Mary and the beautiful (albeit very modern) dresses are certainly worth it.
The Tudors (2007-2010)
The Tudors was perhaps the parent of all the other sexy royal shows. Airing for four seasons on Showtime, it chronicled Henry VIII’s six marriages. Again with lots of historical inaccuracies and lavish but very modern dresses, the show featured plenty of impressive performances and more twists and turns than anyone could have expected. Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn was the most impressive part of the series, showing – like Elisabeth – how a beautiful and strong young woman could change the course of a country’s history.
ITV Victoria may be an outlier on this list for its closer adherence to historical truth, especially with its costumes, but it’s yet another story of a young royal woman learning to secure her place as monarch while falling in love. The show was written by Daisy Goodwin and starred Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria with Tom Hughes as Prince Albert and Rufus Sewell as Lord Melbourne. Like Elisabeth, Victoria had to deal with a difficult relationship with her mother.
The Great (2020–present)
Great is essentially a campy, comedic take on this genre of shows about important historical royal women, which eschews historical accuracy for greater entertainment. The Hulu show, which stars Elle Fanning as Empress Catherine II of Russia and Nicholas Hoult as Emperor Peter III, has been renewed for a third season. The first two seasons of the series were critically acclaimed.
Canal+ French series Versailles followed the start of the reign of Louis XIV, also known as the Sun King. Louis was one of France’s most opulent monarchs, known for his grand palace, and although the series doesn’t revolve around a woman like The Empress and the other shows on this list, it still seems similar. George Blagden played Louis, while Alexandre Vlahos played his brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. The show, similar to The Empress, largely revolves around their sibling dynamics.
Becoming Elizabeth (2022)
by Starz Become Elizabeth is another 2022 period drama centered around a monarch named Elizabeth. This time it’s Queen Elizabeth I of England, but unlike most movies and shows about her, it focuses on her younger years. Become Elizabeth, created by Anya Reiss, begins with the death of Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, and follows it through the reign of her younger brother. Alicia von Rittberg plays Elizabeth, while Romola Garai plays her older sister Mary Tudor.
The Serpent Queen (2022–present)
Another Starz 2022 period drama is The Serpent Queen, centered around the 16th century French queen Catherine de Medici. Samantha Morton portrays the young royal who must navigate a court in which her husband is in love with an older woman. The show is based on the biography of Leonie Frieda Catherine de Medici: Queen of France during the Renaissance.
The Spanish Princess (2019-2020)
The Spanish Princess is one of many Starz series based on the books by Philippa Gregory. Developed by Emma Frost and Matthew Graham, the series focuses on Catherine of Aragon when she arrived in England to marry Prince Arthur. It follows Catherine, played by Charlotte Hope, as her first husband dies early in their marriage and she begins a relationship with her brother, the man who would become her second husband and be known to history as the King. Henry VIII. Just like Elizabeth in The Empress, Catherine must learn to navigate a court in which she is a stranger.
The White Queen (2013)
Another one Philippa Gregory Starz series, The White Queen follows three royal women – Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville – as they each attempt to manipulate events. The series was nominated for Golden Globe and Emmy Awards and won a string of sequels, The White Princess. It’s an earlier period’s look at royal life, but it still shows the same pressures on women in high office.
We assume that if you look The Empress, you’ve probably seen Netflix’s mainline offering of period dramas, but we’ll recommend it anyway. Whereas Bridgerton isn’t centered around her royal character (although Queen Charlotte makes an appearance), it’s about young women trying to find love and find their place in a very patriarchal world. It also features gorgeous dresses and exciting balls, much like The Empress Is.
Do you have any other recommendations for shows like The Empress? Let us know!
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