Great historical TV dramas are hard to come by, so we’ve thought it a good idea to run down the best of the best.

Recent shows like World Without End (which was released on DVD this Monday) provide promise that some show-runners still know how to combine historical accuracy with entertaining plot-threads and great performances.

Here are our top 5 historical TV dramas…

 

5. Rome

One of the first collaborations between HBO and the BBC, this partnership proved to be an extremely fruitful one indeed, combining HBO’s penchant for hard-hitting, unapologetically raw drama with the BBC’s reputation for fastidious fact-checking and stellar acting. It would have been impossible for any show to tell Rome’s transformation from a nascent Republic into an Empire in complete detail in 10 seasons, let alone 2, but the densely-packed episodes therein make a damn good effort at trying.

Impeccably researched and boasting some amazing technical credentials – the costume and set design are stunning – Rome depicts the rise of Cesar and the immediate period following it, specifically the effect it had on Rome’s citizens at large. Keenly depicting the lascivious sexual mores and graphic violence of the period, Rome may not feature any big-scale battles – likely owing to budgetary constraints – but finds a gritty, hugely compelling way to tell a great story nonetheless.

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