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Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by Stefanie Hutson
Outlander begins in 1945 in post-war England when a stone circle mysteriously transports Claire Randall, a married WWII nurse, to 1743 where she's thrown into the Jacobite rebellions… and into the arms of Jamie Fraser. It's based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon available HERE.
It stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, and countless veteran Scottish actors, like Graham McTavish, Richard Rankin, and Douglas Henshall.
Outlander features an epic combination of period action, romance, grit, and a big budget. While that combination can sometimes be difficult to come by, we've gathered a few recommendations which Outlander fans may enjoy.
Black Sails may not deal much in romance, but there is no shortage of adventure, sword-fighting action, and British actors. This gritty pirate series stars Toby Stephens, Hannah New, Tom Hopper, Harriet Walter, Luke Roberts, and Clara Paget. Rupert Penry-Jones also has an occasional role.
It comes full-circle and ends after four seasons. Black Sails is described as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson's classic Treasure Island, so the names of familiar fictional characters are floating around with the names of real pirates.
And while the main genre isn't romance, it features a few wonderful couples to follow throughout the series. If you watch to the end, we think you'll agree: the writers are romantics at heart.
Black Sails is streaming on Starz HERE.
How is Black Sails like Outlander?
Sword fights. Violence. Historical fiction. High production value also made by Starz.
Follow this infamous (even notorious) family as they reign in the Catholic Church. If you enjoy powerful characters, seduction, and ruthless murder, you'll enjoy The Borgias.
Jeremy Irons stars as Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI. Holliday Grainger plays Lucrezia Borgia.
This Showtime series ended after three seasons. Although it was originally slated to have a fourth, writer Neil Jordan proposed a two-hour long movie to give the show its proper send off, but Showtime decided it was too expensive. If you are (or become) hardcore fan of The Borgias, you'll want to check out the screenplay of the proposed movie; it was released as an e-book: The Borgia Apocalypse.
The Borgias is streaming on Showtime HERE.
How does The Borgias compare to Outlander?
Sexy. Intense. Well made. Historical fiction.
This zesty, modern Netflix series follows the Bridgerton family through the Regency period. While there isn't much fighting action, there's plenty of romantic action. If you enjoy period dramas like Jane Austen adaptations, but feel they're missing the lustiness of Outlander, you'll enjoy Bridgerton.
Bridgerton was created by Shonda Rhimes and is based on a series of books by Julia Quinn.
It stars Adjoa Andoh, Lorraine Ashbourne, Jonathan Bailey, Ruby Barker, Sabrina Bartlett, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Nicola Coughlan, Ben Miller, and Regé-Jean Page. Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix.
How does Bridgerton compare to Outlander?
Intensely romantic. Period drama. High production value.
Da Vinci's Demons
This fun, intense historical fiction stars Tom Riley as the titular struggling artist and tortured genius. Da Vinci's Demons is a high-energy show which is difficult not to binge-watch.
Like Outlander, this is a well-balanced Starz series that covers all the bases: romance, action, comedy, and drama. It incorporates a little of the supernatural, too.
Da Vinci's Demons is streaming on Starz HERE.
How does Da Vinci's Demons compare to Outlander?
Well-balanced. Historical fiction. Romance. Action. Fighting. Starz.
A Discovery of Witches
While some may not think to immediately associate this fantasy series with Outlander, it has a surprising number of things in common. Outlander fans will enjoy the romance, the episodes set in historical eras, and the similarly impressive production values. This academic, romantic, magical series takes place between modern times and the Elizabethan era, among others. Like Outlander, it is based on a series of popular books.
Starring Teresa Palmer and Matthew Goode along with Edward Bluemel and Alex Kingston.
A Discovery of Witches is streaming on AMC+/Sundance Now HERE.
How does A Discovery of Witches compare to Outlander?
Romance. An intense relationship between the lead couple. Some historical settings. Fantasy (more than Outlander).
Downton Abbey is a romantic historical fiction following the Crawley family in their grand estate. It covers many important historical events, from the sinking of the Titanic, through the first world war, and beyond.
While fans of the intense action in Outlander might find this series a little tedious, it does have its moments as it deals with themes of tragedy, scandal, and war.
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, and Penelope Wilton.
All six seasons of Downton Abbey are streaming on Amazon Prime.
How does Downton Abbey compare to Outlander?
Lots of romance, but less sexy. Historical fiction. Well made.
This Hugo Blick miniseries stars Emily Blunt as an Englishwoman hell-bent on revenge as she travels from her stately home in England to the harsh every-man-for-himself land of western America, c. 1890.
By serendipity, she runs into Pawnee ex-cavalry scout Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer). He reluctantly joins her since they're travelling in a similar direction. Also starring Tom Hughes and Rafe Spall, with appearances by Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones.
The English is streaming on Amazon Prime HERE.
How does The English compare to Outlander?
Historical. Romantic. Violent. Gritty. Fish-out-of-water female character.
This jaunty romance stars Suranne Jones as Anne Lister, a woman and British landowner who had the courage to live like a man in the early 19th century. Based on her true diaries, this series follows her exploits as she tries to manage her estate and maintain a romantic relationship with another woman.
Also starring Sophie Rundle, Gemma Whelan, Gemma Jones, Stephanie Cole, and Joe Armstrong.
Gentleman Jack is streaming on HBO Max or available to own on Amazon HERE.
How does Gentleman Jack compare to Outlander?
Period drama. Romance. Well made with great pacing.
House of the Dragon
As well as Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon may appeal to Outlander fans for its high-octane storytelling, huge budget, and scandalous romantic scenes. House of the Dragon also features Graham McTavish.
House of the Dragon deals more with politics, diplomacy, and features fewer fantasy elements than Game of Thrones. Apart from the presence of dragons, it feels like a medieval political drama. Though, more action is expected in season two which isn't likely to air until 2024.
This series was the most-watched premiere ever for HBO. Almost 10 million people saw the premiere of House of the Dragon the night it aired. So, if you're an Outlander fan who wasn't one of those 10 million, you know where to go:
House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO or available to own HERE.
How does House of the Dragon compare to Outlander?
Intense drama. Gritty. Sexy. Fighting. Fantasy. Graham McTavish.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
This historical fiction miniseries intertwines real history (Waterloo, Napoleonic Wars) with the academic study of magic and eventually its return to England at the hands of Jonathan Strange. Fans of Outlander will appreciate the supportive relationship between Jonathan Strange and Arabella.
Based on the novel by Susanna Clarke available HERE. Starring Bertie Carvel, Eddie Marsan, Charlotte Riley, Samuel West, and Paul Kaye.
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is available to own on Amazon HERE.
How does Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell compare to Outlander?
Historical fiction. Tender romance. High production value.
The Last Kingdom
Uhtred was born a Saxon boy, baptized, and promised an inheritance. Then, he was swept away by Vikings and raised as a Dane. Now, he's fighting for his ancestral birthright. The story begins in 872 A.D. when England consisted of different kingdoms and was being invaded by Danish vikings. Wessex is the last kingdom, commanded by King Alfred who refuses to surrender to the Danes.
The Last Kingdom stars German actor Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred, but there are plenty of Brits: Ian Hart, Eliza Butterworth, Millie Brady, Mark Rowley, and more.
Outlander fans will enjoy seeing Richard Rankin in two episodes as Father Hrothweard.
It's based on The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwall.
The Last Kingdom is streaming on Netflix HERE.
How does The Last Kingdom compare to Outlander?
Intense action. Sexy. Historical fiction. Gritty. Richard Rankin (two episodes).
North & South
This gorgeous Victorian period drama is based on the 1854 book by Elizabeth Gaskell. The story begins when Margaret Hale, a middle-class southerner, moves to a northern industrial town. North & South considers social divides and the consequences of hasty judgments. It's a miniseries with romance at the core and two people who both need to face their own biases before they can fall in love.
Starring Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Sinéad Cusack, Tim Pigott-Smith, Brendan Coyle, Jo Joyner, and Lesley Manville.
North & South is streaming on BritBox HERE.
How does North & South compare to Outlander?
Romance. Period drama. Social upheaval. Fish-out-of-water female character.
Poldark was a popular show with a massive following when it aired from 2015 – 2019. It begins when Ross Poldark comes home to Cornwall from fighting for the British in the American War of Independence. Poldark was presumed dead and returns to find everything has changed… His father is dead, his family's mine is closed, and the love of his life is engaged to his cousin. It couldn't get much worse and the only way to go is up.
It stars Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Heida Reed, Phil Davis, and more.
Stream all five seasons on Amazon Prime HERE.
How does Poldark compare to Outlander?
Period drama. Romance. Swoon-worthy. Well made.
Rome features a huge cast of British actors including Tobias Menzies who went on to appear in Outlander and Game of Thrones. Menzies plays the infamous assassin Brutus and Ciarán Hinds plays Julius Caesar.
It follows both the political heavyweights and the lower classes in Rome through its transition from republic to autocratic empire. The story primarily follows two soldiers played by Steven McKidd and Ray Stevenson.
Why is Rome like Outlander?
Period drama. Violent. Sexy. Rated 8.7/10 on IMDb. Tobias Menzies.
This icy thriller follows the unravelling psychological condition of stranded sailors as they search for a northwest passage through Canada. Season one is an adaptation of the historical fiction novel by Dan Simmons which you can buy HERE. It blends real history with supernatural fiction to deliver an eerie tale of isolation.
Outlander fans will recognize Tobias Menzies. Also starring Ciarán Hinds, Jared Harris, John Lynch, and Paul Ready.
The Terror season one is available to own on Amazon HERE.
How does The Terror (season 1) compare to Outlander?
Historical fiction. High production value. Violent. Supernatural element. Not romantic at all. Tobias Menzies.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers plays the infamous English ruler Henry the Eighth in The Tudors. This series follows his exploits beginning in the earlier years of his reign. While he's best known for his romantic life, this show also focuses on his political relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Tudors is full of great actors such as Henry Cavill, Natalie Dormer, James Frain, Nick Dunning, Anthony Brophy, Sarah Bogler, and Maria Doyle Kennedy.
The Tudors is streaming on Showtime HERE.
How does The Tudors compare to Outlander?
Historical fiction. Violent. Sexy. Well made.
Turn: Washington's Spies
While this series is set in America, Outlander fans will enjoy the familiar timeframe and the high production value of this series. Turn also stars many familiar British actors, like Jamie Bell, JJ Feild, Burn Gorman, Angus Macfadyen, and Owain Yeoman.
The story begins when Abe Woodhull, a farmer, joins a network of spies known as the Culper Ring – General Washington's spies, now considered the origins of modern espionage.
Turn: Washington's Spies is a full story in four seasons with closure. It is available to stream on AMC+ HERE.
How does Turn compare to Outlander?
Similar setting to season 6 of Outlander. Historical. Fighting. Romance. Balanced and well made.
This series follows the early reign of Queen Victoria beginning when she was just 18. It is luxurious to watch, romantic, and boasts a high production value. Three seasons cover a period of 14 years.
Starring Jenna Coleman, Tom Hughes, Rufus Sewell, and more. Dame Diana Rigg shows up in season 2 as Duchess of Bucchleuch.
All three seasons of Victoria are streaming on Amazon Prime HERE.
How does Victoria compare to Outlander?
Romance. Well made. Historical drama. Neither as violent nor as steamy as Outlander, but still entertaining.
The White Queen, The White Princess, & The Spanish Princess
Because these three productions are connected, we're grouping them as one four-season series. They're all based on books by Philippa Gregory. They take place across a 60-year period.
In order, they are:
- The White Queen – The story begins in 1464 during a feud between the House of York and the House of Lancaster over who will rule the country. Edward IV, heir to the House of York, is coronated. But when Edward falls in love with commoner Elizabeth Woodville, she finds Margaret Beaufort and Anne Neville to be her adversaries. Starring Max Irons, Aneurin Barnard, and Rebecca Ferguson.
The White Queen is streaming HERE on Starz.
- The White Princess (2017) follows Elizabeth ‘Lizzie' of York (the daughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Edward IV). Margaret Beaufort finally gets her way and her son is crowned king, but in order to maintain his seat on the throne, he must marry a York to keep his commoners from rebelling. Lizzie goes on to become the mother of Arthur and Henry VIII. Jodie Comer stars as Elizabeth ‘Lizzie' of York.
The White Princess is streaming HERE on Starz.
- The Spanish Princess (2019 – 2020) revolves around Catherine of Aragon as she sails to her betrothed, Arthur Prince of Wales, heir to the throne. Although she's like a fish out of water, Catherine insists on being treated like a queen and fights to become one after Arthur tragically dies. Charlotte Hope stars as Catherine of Aragon.
The Spanish Princess is streaming HERE on Starz.
How do these Philippa Gregory adaptations compare to Outlander?
Intense. High production value. Historical fiction. Fighting. Sexy.
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