17 Excellent British Period Dramas You Can Binge Right Now

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Romola Garai as Emma in the 2009 BBC adaptation. (Photo: BBC)


There are a lot of Jane Austen adaptations out there. A whole lot. So many that sometimes it can feel like a chore to watch all. Well, here’s a piece of advice: If the 2009 BBC version of Emma flew under your radar? You need to correct that immediately. It’s really one of the better Austen adaptations – of any stripe – out there. And definitely worth your time.

You probably know the story already, in some form or other. (Even if you just watched Clueless at some point.) Beautiful, clever and rich Emma Woodhouse thinks she’s a world class matchmaker after her older sister and her governess both marry suitable husbands. Now certain of her abilities in this area, she sets her sights on finding a man for her new friend Harriet. She convinces the girl to reject an advantageous marriage proposal from a local farmer, because she’s certain she can set her up with a better match.  But in the end, It turns out that Emma is actually not that great at matchmaking, understanding men or reading people generally, and she must rethink her own social preconceptions of those around her.  And, of course, she herself falls in love in the process.

This version of Emma is so great. So, so great. It has an all-star cast, headlined by Romola Garai, Jonny Lee Miller and Michael Gambon, who are all thoroughly charming together. The entire series is bright, funny and feels fresh – no small feet for a story that’s been around for over two hundred years.

Number of Seasons: 1

Where to Watch: Hulu or Amazon Prime