5 Shows to Watch on Netflix Like ‘The Empress’

Netflix viewers are obsessed with The Empress. The German historical drama series is based on the real-life story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria and her relationship with her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph. It delivers no shortage of swoonworthy romance and court intrigue. But at just six episodes, it’s a quick binge, and there’s no word yet on whether there will be a season 2. Fortunately, Netflix has a number of other shows, including romantic period pieces and royal dramas, that will keep you entertained as you wait for news on whether we’ll see more of The Empress.  

‘Versailles’ 

Scandal and intrigue abound in Versailles, a French series (though the dialogue is in English) that takes place during the reign of Louis XIV, aka The Sun King. Determined to gain control of the country’s restless nobles and establish himself as France’s absolute monarch, the 28-year-old king (played by George Blagden) decides to move the court to Versailles, where he’s constructing the most opulent palace in the world. Three seasons are available to stream on Netflix. 

‘Bonfire of Destiny’ 

The French miniseries The Bonfire of Destiny begins with a depiction of the 1897 Charity Bazaar fire in Paris, a tragedy that killed 126 people. The show goes on to follow three women who find their lives upended in the wake of the disaster. They include Adrienne (Audrey Fleurot) a wealthy married woman desperate to escape her abusive husband, Rose (Julie de Bona), a ladies maid injured in the blaze, and Alice (Camille Lou), whose opinion of her fiance changes drastically after she witnesses his behavior during the fire. Eight episodes streaming on Netflix. 

‘The King’s Affection’ 

There’s no shortage of historical K-dramas on Netflix. The list includes The King’s Affection, about a pair of twins born into the royal family during the Joseon Dynasty. Twins are considered unlucky, and plans are made to kill the girl, Dam-i (Park Eun-bin). Instead, the princess saves her daughter’s life by sending her to be raised away from the palace. Years later, she returns to court in disguise and then assumes her brother’s identity when he is killed. Twenty episodes streaming on Netflix. 

‘The Cook of Castamar’

A talented cook named Clara (Michelle Jenner) takes a job working in the kitchens of the Duke of Castamar (Roberto Enriquez). He’s a broken-hearted widower; she’s an agoraphobe who can’t bear to be out of doors following her father’s tragic death. The duke’s family (and the king of Spain) want him to end his mourning and marry again. But instead, he finds himself drawn to Clara in this 12-episode drama set in 1720. 

‘Bridgerton’ 

'Bridgerton' actor Golda Rosheuvel stars in 'Queen Charlotte A Bridgerton Story.'
‘Bridgerton’ actor Golda Rosheuvel stars as Queen Charlotte | via Netflix

If you like sexy costume dramas, you’ve probably already seen Bridgerton. But if not, this hit series, which is set in a fictionalized version of Regency-era London, is a must-watch. It focuses on the romantic exploits of various members of the Bridgerton family. The Bridgertons aren’t royals, but there’s still a dash of palace intrigue thanks to the presence of Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), who doesn’t hesitate to meddle in the lives of her subjects. (A separate series focusing on the love life of the young queen is coming to Netflix next year.) 

Non-Netflix series like ‘The Empress’ to binge 

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Aside from the offerings on Netflix, fans of The Empress may also want to check out these other shows, which are streaming on Hulu, Starz, and Prime Video. 

  • The Serpent Queen, a new drama about the life of Catherine de’Medici, who was married off to the future king of France at age 14 and later became a powerful queen in her own right. It’s currently airing on Starz.
  • The White Queen, The White Princess, The Spanish Princess, and Becoming Elizabeth, which explore the lives of several Tudor queens and princesses, including Catherine of Aragon and Elizabeth of York. All are streaming on Starz. 
  • The Great, a darkly comic take on the life of a young Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning), her marriage to the buffoonish Tsar Peter (Nicholas Hoult), and her efforts to drag the Russian court into the modern era. Two seasons streaming on Hulu. 
  • Victoria, a PBS series about the reign of a young Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) and her marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). Three seasons streaming on Prime Video. 

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