7 Light-Hearted Period Shows to Watch if You're Tired of Outlander Drama
Try the softer side of period drama.
If you love a period drama but find Outlander a bit too intense, these shows offer a softer view of times gone by:
1. Cranford (2007)
Based on the novels of Elizabeth Gaskell, this show follows the lives of the residents of a small countryside town in England. It predominantly tracks spinster sisters Matty and Deborah Jenkyns, as they navigate love, loss and social change. The series explores themes such as gender, class, and identity, and features a strong ensemble cast.
2. Pride and Prejudice (1995)
An adaptation of Jane Austen's classic novel, this six-part BBC miniseries is set in the late 18th century. It follows the lives of the Bennet family, particularly the second daughter Elizabeth (Jennifer Ehle) and her relationship with the wealthy Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth). It's a gentle show that is full of charm.
3. Reign (2013-2017)
This historical romantic drama television series set in the late 16th century charts the life and rise to power of Mary, Queen of Scots in the French court. The series stars Adelaide Kane as Queen Mary Stuart, alongside an ensemble cast. Starting when she is 15 and living in a convent, she must navigate the trials and tribulations of teenage life amid social and political change.
4. Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
An ITV drama set on the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey. The show follows the trials and tribulations of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in post-First World War Britain. Set in a time of huge social upheaval, it features an ensemble cast, including Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville.
5. North & South (2004)
Based on the novel by Cranford author Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South is a British period drama set in the 1850s, around the time of the Great Exhibition. The show follows Margaret Hale (Daniela Denby-Ashe), a young woman who moves from the idyllic Hampshire town of Helston to the industrial north of England. There she falls in love with a wealthy mill owner played by Richard Armitage.
6. Wives and Daughters (1999)
Another BBC production based on an Elizabeth Gaskell novel. Wives and Daughters focuses on the fortunes of Molly Gibson (Justine Waddell) after her widowed father remarries. His new wife, played by Francesca Annis), is keen to uphold her status and reputation which is a new concept to Molly and her coquettish sister Cynthia (Keeley Hawes).
7. Miss Scarlet and the Duke (2021)
In Victorian London Eliza Scarlet's father dies unexpectedly, leaving her poor. Rather than find a man to marry, Eliza takes ownership of her father's detective agency alone. Trying to be taken seriously in a man's world, she frequently enlists the help of one of her deceased father's friends, a Scottish detective inspector known as The Duke. While not a fan of Eliza getting involved in detective work, The Duke grows to like her.