The Forsyte Saga
by Elena Nicolaou and Cassie Hurwitz | Oprah Daily | August 23, 2022
From elaborate costumes to sumptuous storylines (and the strong desire to live in a time other than the present)—there is so much to love about period dramas. With the push of a button, these TV series and movies act as instant portals into other eras. The only question is: Where do you want to time-travel first?
Each of these shows and films explores an era in history, through the lenses of both the upper class and everyday people. For Tudor buffs, there’s a series that ventures into the early days of King Henry VIII’s notorious rule—through the eyes of his first wife. Regency fans have a movie that looks at what life was like for a young Black woman in a wealthy family during that era; then, of course, there’s Bridgerton. Many period dramas are based in this era, the time of Shakespeare and the Tudors, or the 18th century, but we’ve also included a few that take place in the 20th century, too, like a series that chronicles working in a hospital at the turn of the century to a 1950s drama about the dangers of racism.
Some stories come from real-life events, while others are adapted from classic novels or are completely fictional glimpses into life during that particular era. And, fear not, there are quite a few sweeping romances. We’ve also included Spanish-language picks, since period dramas are hardly limited by geographic region. Here are some of our favorite period dramas streaming on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Starz, and beyond.
The Forsyte Saga (2002-2003)
Based on the Nobel Prize-winning work of John Galsworthy, this 10-part series follows England’s wealthy Forsyte family from the 1870s to the 1920s. It’s a highbrow show with soap-opera-worthy plots. Starring: Damian Lewis, Rupert Graves, Gina McKee. Watch on Amazon Prime here