17 Excellent British Period Dramas You Can Binge Right Now

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The final key art for “Downton Abbey”. (Photo: Courtesy of Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2015 for MASTERPIECE)

Downton Abbey

One of the most popular period dramas ever made, Downton Abbey is the obvious entry on this list that most of you have probably already seen. But in case you somehow haven’t, I’m here to tell you that you should. (Yes, the hype is real. This is the period drama for people who don’t watch period dramas.)

The addictive drama tells the story of the Earl of Grantham, his wife, three daughters and cadre of servants who all live in a fantastically dramatic house in north Yorkshire.  The lives of the Crawley family are changed forever when the Titanic sinks in 1912, leaving the estate without an heir. A distant (and completely dishy) middle-class cousin suddenly discovers that he’s about to inherit everything. Meanwhile, change is also happening for the house’s downstairs residents, as a new valet named John Bates arrives downstairs to serve Lord Robert.

Downton Abbey is a fairly typical British period drama – a story focused on the lives and loves of both the upstairs and downstairs residents of a great house. However, the series’ super appealing characters and strong cast – featuring Dame Maggie Smith’s absolutely iconic performance as Dowager Countess Violet – elevate it to something of an art form. Buckle in for plenty of romance, friendship, heartbreak, sibling rivalry, war, social commentary, scheming, and lots and lots and lots of fantastic outfits.

(PS: Team Matthew forever.)

Number of Seasons: 6

Where to Watch:  Amazon Prime