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So you’ve already blown through all eight episodes of Netflix’s Bridgerton and are craving more drama and Regency-era romance. The new series from executive producer Shonda Rhimes isn’t like most other period dramas, what with its inclusive casting and more modern flavor (including a classical string quartet performing a cover or Ariana Grande’s “Thank U Next”). But there are still some shows out there that Bridgerton fans might want to check out while they cross their fingers for a season 2 renewal announcement. 


Charlotte and Georgiana talking in Sanditon
Sanditon  Courtesy of Photographer: Simon Ridgway/© Red Planet Pictures / ITV 2019

Bridgerton brings sexiness and diversity to 19th century romance. Sanditon, a recent adaptation of an unfinished Jane Austen novel, tried to do something similar. It follows a naive young woman named Charlotte (Rose Williams) who falls for an older, more experienced man (Theo James) while spending the summer in a seaside resort town. Crystal Clarke plays a character named Georgiana Lambe, a West Indian heiress with some complicated romantic entanglements of her own. Streaming on PBS Passport or on Amazon with the PBS Masterpiece channel. 


Bridgerton is set firmly in the high society of Georgian England, with a queen, a duke, and other aristocratic folks among the characters. Hulu’s Harlots takes place in a less glamorous, but no less interesting, world — that of sex workers in 18th century London. Samantha Morton plays canny madam Margaret Wells and Lesley Manville plays the rival owner of a posh brothel. The two spar over control of the city’s lucrative prostitution business, with each willing to go to great lengths to take the other down. Three seasons are streaming on Hulu. 

‘The Great’

Huzzah! Elle Fanning stars as Catherine the Great and Nicholas Hoult is Emperor Peter in the not-exactly-fact-based series The Great. There’s no shortage of dark humor in this show, which follows the adventures of Catherine, a naive German princess who finds herself married to the boorish and violent ruler of Russia. She has to learn to navigate life in the tsar’s court while also attempting to drag the country into the 18th century. Like Bridgerton, The Great also embraced diverse casting, with actors such as Sacha Dhawan (Count Orlo) in supporting roles. One season streaming on Hulu. 


Caitriona Balfe in Outlander
Caitriona Balfe in Outlander | Starz

Passionate romance, epic battles, time travel — Outlander has a little bit of everything. Catriona Balfe plays Claire, a Word War II nurse who accidentally travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. Once there, she falls in love with a dashing Highlander named Jamie (Sam Heughan) and tries to change the course of history. The first three seasons are streaming on Netflix. Season 4 and 5 are available to watch on Starz. 

‘Pride & Prejudice’


Theo James Admits His ‘Sanditon’ Character Isn’t That ‘Likable’

Jane Austen was the original chronicler of Regency romance, and her books are still beloved by readers today, two centuries after they were first published. Unsurprising, there’s no shortage of Austen adaptations, including the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice, which many fans count as among the best, most faithful adaptations of her work. The six-episode miniseries is streaming on Hulu.

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