Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror".
What Series Are Like The Tudors?
The Tudors premiered in 2007 and took the TV audience by storm with its grandeur and masterful direction. The plot revolves around the life of the second Tudor monarch, King Henry VIII, and the many challenges he had to face during his tenure as the king.
Is it better to be loved or feared? This is one of the most important questions leaders all around the world have to consider. While it's easier to be feared, being loved can really unite a nation. A great ruler can strengthen the kingdom to such an extent that outside forces won’t even dream of invading. On the other hand, if a ruler cannot invoke fear, he won't remain in power for long. The best way to protect your crown is by maintaining a balance between the two, which is easier said than done. King Henry tries to maintain it, albeit with little success. But as time passes by, he learns from his mistakes and becomes a force to be reckoned with. It's enchanting to see his character transform from a young, inexperienced king to someone who's unanimously revered.
If you haven't already watched our protagonist making rash decisions under pressure and then learning from his mistakes, you should get started right away. For those who've watched it, I have compiled a list of some series like The Tudors to keep your mind occupied in the medieval era.
Series Similar to The Tudors
- World Without End
- Wolf Hall
- Medici: Masters of Florence
- The Witcher
- The Last Kingdom
- Game of Thrones
This 2011 drama follows members of the Borgia family, one of the most powerful households during the early fifteenth century. Rodrigo Borgia is the head of this family and wants to see himself at the top of the Vatican. His ambition, however, corrupts him to the core. The show also focuses on his two mature sons and a confused daughter, and the journey that each offspring takes throughout the course of the series.
There’s a similar show called The Borgias with the same storyline, but this one portrays historical facts and character arcs more accurately. What makes Borgia an excellent show when compared to its counterpart is the treatment of the age-old story.
It clearly shows us that the people we’re following are not the good guys, but we can’t help but root for them anyway. Evidently, this family will do anything necessary to protect each other and remain in power. Besides all the planning and scheming, this drama series is full of sex and gore. If you’re looking for a clever story that involves complex characters getting involved in mind-boggling politics, Borgia will not disappoint you.
Will The Tudors fans like Borgia?
Definitely. Both the shows take place in an era where incest wasn't much of a taboo, so brace yourself to see some of that in Borgia, too. People often confuse Borgia with the Showtime show, The Borgias. Unflinchingly cruel and shamelessly raunchy, Borgia feels much more like a HBO production. With full frontal nudity and frequent use of foul language, this French series will make every Tudors fan feel at home.
2. World Without End
World Without End is based on a novel of the same name by Ken Follett. Just like the novel, this series is a sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, another book to TV adaptation.
Kingsbridge, a thriving town in London, gets rattled after their king is murdered. The plot revolves around two major historical events, the start of the Hundred Year’s War and the Black Death. Both of these events resulted in millions of death. While all this death and destruction is going on, a lot of underhanded politics also takes place behind closed doors, which would ultimately determine the fate of the survivors.
Sir Ronald, one of the more intriguing characters on the show, is a huge supporter of the queen and will do anything to help maintain her reign. As if the threat of death due to war, disease, and disobedience wasn’t enough, the citizens also have to pay heavy taxes to keep the crown financially afloat. It’s always the common folk who suffer, but when history is written, only kings and queens are glorified. The biggest selling point of the show is unabashed realism. It doesn’t try to mask the obvious demerits of a monarchy, and that’s what makes it so hard-hitting and engaging to watch.
If you're looking for a short TV series like The Tudors, World Without End should be your best bet.
3. Wolf Hall
Not everybody inherits a powerful position. In fact, most people have to earn it through years of hard work and patience. Thomas Cromwell was born as a blacksmith but he intends on climbing the social ladder to make himself a prominent figure in the British monarchy. While The Tudors follows King Henry the 8th’s conquests, Wolf Hall features a man who comes from humble beginnings working as his chief minister. Based on two award-winning novels by Hilary Mantel, this miniseries adapts Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies in six incredible episodes.
The thing that makes Cromwell so well-suited for such a powerful position is his familiarity with social injustices. He truly understands the pain and suffering of the common people, unlike most highborn rulers, so every major decision regarding the country and its citizens comes from an empathetic mentality.
However, this rightfully earned power doesn’t exempt the lead character from facing problems on a daily basis. You can’t outrun your past, and Cromwell is repeatedly reminded of his unprivileged upbringing by people who don’t think of him as an equal or are threatened by his power. The show has been confirmed to return for a second season, so you might want to catch up.
Those looking for a cerebral show like The Tudors will not be disappointed.
Wolf Hall vs. The Tudors
While The Tudors' storyline revolves around King Henry and his dynasty, he is a secondary character in Wolf Hall.
Though..... I has done justice to the role of King Henry VII, history buffs know that he wasn't as feisty or reckless in real life. On the other hand, Wolf Hall's portyal of Henry feels more accurate and authentic. Unlike in The Tudors, he looks and acts more like a king than a playboy.
Fans of The Tudors, however, already know that the series takes some liberties when it corks to historical accuracy. As fascinating as the overarching story is, The Tudors is not for those looking for recreation of historic moments. Wolf Hall, on the other hand, takes matters more seriously. For the most part, the costume drama stays true to the history.
There have been many adaptations of the story of King Arthur, including a 2017 movie starring Charlie Hunnam. However, Camelot adds more storylines and complex characters over the course of 10 episodes.
After the death of King Uther, his unknown son and true heir to the throne, Arthur is presented with the truth about his ancestry. This changes the life of the one-time commoner, bringing forth a sea of challenges with the glorious promise of kingship — the ultimate prize.
The biggest threat to the crown is Arthur’s half-sister, Morgan, who believes that she is the true successor. Eva Green plays the antagonist to perfection, staying true to her reputation as a brilliant actress.
There have been so many retellings of this story that most people already know the basic plot by now, but being a TV show allows Camelot to develop its narrative and characters more naturally over time. Viewers are presented with a better understanding of the fictional land of Camelot and its valiant savior. Watch as a single man tries to unite all of Britain amidst all the confusion and chaos caused by his own claim to the throne.
We all know about the fall of the Roman Empire, but let’s witness how it got became such a glorious empire in the first place. This historical drama series displays the wars and tragedies that had to be overcome before the world’s greatest empire could be born.
Fighting wars to maintain peace might seem like one of the biggest lies, but when the masses with opposing viewpoints get brainwashed, other options go right out the window.
While Rome never shies away from blood and gore, the man focus is the twisted politics, which led to the rise and fall of the empire. The powerful have their own personal agendas and they coerce others into doing their bidding. You never see the people who actually plan the war near the frontlines. It is evident that their only motive is starting a chain of events that will only benefit them. We see different perspectives as we follow characters coming from varying backgrounds and moral standpoints.
If you’re looking for gory action sequences and clever writing, this show will not disappoint.
The Tudors vs. Rome
The comparison between these two medieval series is a little unfair as Rome beniffited from the deep pockets of HBO. The Tudors, on the other hand, always felt like more of a series with limited budget, resulting in onky a handful of fight sequences in its span of four seasons. Rome, however, featured plenty of gore, violence, and mayhem right from the get-go. Each season of Rome features a fair share of betrayals and murders — something that can't be said about The Tudors. If the latter left you wanting for some gasp-inducing action, Rome will quench that thirst.
6. Medici: Masters of Florence
Everybody knows about Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael; the four great Italian artists. But there was another aspiring artist named Cosmo de Medici who had to give up on his ambitions to pursue banking.
The Medici family was a very powerful name during medieval Italy, but with great power comes the burden of great responsibility. Can a creative mind get involved in planning and plotting, while sacrificing his desire to create art? Maybe things haven’t changed that much. Just like many people today are forced to join the family business due to relentless pressure, Medici too was a victim of this fate.
Unfortunately, the show hasn't gotten much attention from the mainstream media. Despite a stellar cast and some superb writing, almost no one seems to talk about it, except maybe for a handful of folks at Reddit. If it weren't for Reddit, I wouldn't have found this hidden gem. Thank them, thank me, and then carry the good word forward.
7. The Witcher
Fans of The Witcher series were excited but a little skeptical when Netflix announced that this epic video game series is going to be adapted into a TV series. The main culprit was its somewhat poor choice of cast, which didn't make much sense to anyone who'd played the games or read the books.
Ciri, for instance, one of the indespesible characters of this epic series, is an........ in the books and games, but they chose to go with an... actress for some reason. But I derail. My reservations for its casting choices aside, I believe that The Witcher has proved its mettle, thanks to a gripping storyline that captures your attention from the get go. Though it's not a perquisite, I'd recommend you to read the books this series is based upon, before you start churning out the series.
The Tudors vs. The Witcher
While The Tudors takes just a little bit of liberty with history, The Witcher is an entirely fictional series, hinging upon an already established lore to draw the audience. While both series are as gruesome as it gets, The Witcher takes the cake for being a better paced ride.
8. The Last Kingdom
When Vikings started airing on History channel, fans were hoping for a series that doesn't stray far away from the history. What we got, however, is a fictional drama that blends history with mythology in an emphatic fashion.
If you were disappointed by the lack of historical accuracy, The Last Kingdom might just be what you're looking for. Taking place in the...... And century, the show revolves around uhtred of bebbanburg, a Saxon raised by Danes. The circumstances compel him to come back to England and save the country from relentless Danish invasions. Which side will you fight for when both of them are your people? The whole series hinges upon this very question as his loyalty swings from one side to the another.
In the era of epic sagas like Game of Thrones and Vikings, something as niche as The Last Kingdom has amassed quite a huge fanbase for itself as well, thanks to some solid writing and pacing. Steeped in chaos and shifting perspectives, this taut series will keep you engaged, even when the story is just trudging along.
9. Game of Thrones
I save the best for the last. That's not the only reason, however. Since Game of Thrones is a household name these days, most of you reading this might have already churned out the series and complained about its lackster 8th and final season.
Still, it would be a disservice to those unaware of this grandeur series if it doesn't get a mention in this list. If Game of thrones has somehow passed under your radar, now is the time to redeem yourself.
The show takes places in Westeros, a fictional place divided into 7 kingdoms. With all the kingdoms vying for the Iron Throne to become king of kings, Westeros has turned into a battleground. Life often doesn't hold much value, unless you're someone important. Even when you're a king, the chances of you getting back stabbed by someone you love can't be discounted.
The fact that this sly series never shies away from killing off its universally liked characters makes you cherish your favorites even more. You don't know if they'll survive the next battle or the invitation to a feast.
Brace yourself to get sucked into one of the best fantasy series of all time. If GoT fails to appeal to you, no other historical shows will.
Did I miss out on any other shows like The Tudors? Let me know in the comments section.
Rida Fatima from Pakistan on July 28, 2020: