From ancient epics to large-scale war movies, Hollywood has a storied history of drawing from real-life events and characters to bring about some of the most impressive cinematic experiences ever.
But TV shows have long jumped on the bandwagon, too. And with streaming platforms like Netflix going global, viewers can now simultaneously jump back in time and travel the world.
So, care to uncover the dirty secrets of the French 17th-century court or to watch Roman legions clash with Germanic armies? Check out some of Netflix’s best international shows with a historical flair.
The fascination with Ancient Rome goes as far back as cinema itself. Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, Gladiator, The Eagle, to each decade its Roman flick. And in 2020, Barbarians joined an already lengthy list of Roman-themed shows. Contrary to series like Rome or Domina, this Netflix original takes a unique approach by switching the focus to Rome’s enemies.
Barbarians is a fictionalized account of the battle of Teutoburg Forest, one of the most resounding defeats in Roman history. The story takes place in 9AD in Roman-occupied Germany, where unrest is rampant among tribes seeking freedom while other chieftains try to appease the invader. The stage is set for Arminius, a Germanic child hostage turned Roman officer, to set up an ambush that changes history.
As well-acted as tightly written, this German period drama was lauded by critics for its attention to historical detail. Producers even went the extra mile to ensure accuracy by crafting dialogues in Latin. The show’s second season proved a tad more divisive among fans. Still, Barbarians remains a must-watch if you’re into action-packed historical epics.
Unlike other Netflix shows like Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung or Hwarang, Kingdom isn’t your run-of-the-mill historical K-drama. If you’re looking for a historically accurate deep dive into ancient Korean society, this zombie show won’t deliver. However, the creators of this horror series have put a thrilling twist on the genre by setting the story in a medieval context.
The plot unfolds in a fictional version of Joseon Korea, where the Crown Prince investigates a mysterious disease that turns infected individuals into bloodthirsty monsters. Seamlessly blending elements of thriller, survival horror, and political intrigue against the backdrop of 16th-century Korea, this enthralling drama is as gripping as visually stunning.
Magnificent costumes and period settings only elevate further an already captivating narrative. A second season and a movie prequel called Kingdom: Ashin of the North add another layer of complexity to the story, while fans eagerly await an already forecasted sequel.
The Palace of Versailles has become synonymous with opulence and splendor. But Versailles was barely on the map before Louis XIV decided to turn his father’s humble hunting lodge into the new seat of power. And in moving the court from Paris to the hamlet of Versailles, the soon-to-be Sun King forced into submission an increasingly defiant French nobility, who had threatened the very foundations of the monarchy during the Fronde civil wars.
Compulsorily displaced and pressured into accompanying the king wherever he pleases, the nobles soon become embroiled in dangerous – and often decadent – new-palace intrigues. Serviced by gorgeous costumes and scenery, this French-Canadian show shines a fascinating light on the reign of Louis XIV. The series was shot on location, joining in prestigious movies like Marie-Antoinette, Dangerous Liaisons, and Midnight in Paris. More surprising, perhaps, the Sun King’s architectural crown jewel has also inspired the gaming industry.
Gamers may roam around Versailles in Assassin’s Creed Unity before investigating the castle in the adventure game Versailles 1685. Casinos like Vegas Slots Online also boast Versailles-themed machine slots like EGT’s Versailles Gold. And gamblers with a knack for history may find even more history-infused VSO free slots. From Spartacus to Napoleon, history buffs have many familiar faces to play around with, as the most comprehensive platforms give users instant access to thousands of free online pokies. Testing out a website’s library has never been easier, thus. Besides, fun-filled slots work both on mobile devices and home computers.
If you’re into entertaining shows based – if loosely – on world history, Netflix has enough content to satisfy your binge-watching frenzy. Better yet, we left out plenty more international TV shows worth a shot. From Spanish drama Cable Girls to Canadian gem Frontier, not to mention worldwide British hits Outlander and The Last Kingdom, history is as fun as it gets on the streaming giant.