Home Entertainment 15 Best Gritting Historical Shows like Vikings You Must Watch

15 Best Gritting Historical Shows like Vikings You Must Watch

Best Shows like Vikings

Vikings is one of the most beautifully made historical dramas laced with themes of blood-lust and cut-throat competition. The story of the show is about Pagans who are relentless conquerors. Several regions of England and France are spellbound from their terror. The mythical characters, action-packed encounters, and thrilling plot twists must have made you wonder if there are any other shows like Vikings to root for.

Surprisingly, there are some really good television and web shows that share the same action-centrist and character-driven stories, set in a historical era. Over the past few years, numerous artists from all over the world have come up with shows like Vikings. The brilliant performances, astounding direction, gritting stories, perfect settings, and costumes can easily lure us into reliving the iconic eras.

So, if you have finished watching the series and would like to indulge in similar shows like Vikings, here is a list of 15 of the best finds.

Here are shows like Vikings for you to watch:

The Last Kingdom (2015)

The Last Kingdom

Watch The Last Kingdom trailer here

If shows like Vikings is what you are looking for, The Last Kingdom is the most obvious choice. In many ways, it can be said to be a retelling of the show from a different perspective. This is because the two shows are set almost in the same time frame and depict life in the medieval English kingdom of Western Sussex.

The Last Kingdom too talks about Ragnar and Alfred the Great, two characters whose lives have been talked about in the epic show Vikings. The major difference between the two shows lies in the fact that while Vikings accentuate the Scandinavian story of the Vikings, The Last Kingdom leans more on their English counterparts. That aside, the show has the same action-centrist, character-oriented and thrilling premise to offer.

In terms of being a historical show, The Last Kingdom has often been lauded as one with factually correct depictions. The show features on BBC, which speaks enough of the kind of authenticity in its portrayal of past stories. Watch ‘The Last Kingdom’ if enthralling shows like Vikings are what you are looking for.

Related: Shows Like The Last Kingdom


Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

Watch Game of Thrones trailer here.

This is one show that needs no introduction, considering the kind of social media hype it has garnered for itself. The show which ran 8 long seasons has been lauded worldwide for its brilliant performances, gripping storyline, and beautiful cinematography. Game of Thrones remains one of the most loved historical dramas, despite not being based on any accurate incidents at all.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin’s book of the same name. It is true that Game of Thrones’ world of dragons and magic, zombies and wolves does not seem in line with the other shows like Vikings on this list.

Yet, the brilliant depiction of an era, replete with accents and costumes, drama, and action are things you do not want to miss. The story of the show speaks of multiple political rivalries for the iron throne, just like the Vikings battles of medieval England.

Watch Game of Thrones if you haven’t yet. Despite the disappointing finale season, the series is immersive, memorable and applause-worthy.

Related: Shows Like Game of Thrones


Marco Polo (2014-2016)

Watch Marco Polo trailer here.

For all the history enthusiasts out there, the name Marco Polo is not too unfamiliar, is it? the Netflix series talks about the lives and times of this famous historical character. Marco Polo was a Venetian explorer, writer, and merchant who was an integral part of the Mongol empire’s political strife during the reign of Kublai Khan.

You must watch Marco Polo for its intricate details as far as the settings are concerned, along with its thrilling premise. Critics have blamed the show for not being accurate enough, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best historical dramas on the internet.

The stellar performances, the brilliantly pictured action sequences, and the exceptional cinematography are worth mentioning.


Spartacus (2010-2013)

Watch Spartacus trailer here.

If you have been looking for shows like Vikings because of the action-packed historical flavor, you need to watch Spartacus next. The setting of the story dates back to the later half of the Roman republican era. Spartacus, the protagonist of the show, is a Thracian gladiator, who has been forced into the profession due to slavery. He manages to run away from the shackles of bondage and takes a lead in slave unrest soon.

The show is based on true historical incidents, although it has been dramatized to some extent. The show, as you must have guessed by now, is about combat and killings. Yet, the plot, the writing, and the twists are some of the best you will explore on television these days.


The White Queen (2013)

Watch The White Queen trailer

The White Queen is not as famous as others on this list when it comes to shows like Vikings. Yet, it makes for a great watch if you are inclined towards televised historical sagas. The show is based on Philippa Gregory’s thrilling novel series ‘The Cousins’ War’. The show is quite similar to Vikings in terms of setting, political strife, and rivalry.

The plot focuses on three queens, each eyeing the throne of England. Their actions and rivalry leave much distress for the lower strata of their kingdoms. The story ensues as the rivals compete, not always with swords as much as with clever tactics.

The romantic television saga must be duly appreciated for its beautiful portrayals and brilliant cinematography. Watch The White Queen for an encounter with Medieval England and its political factions.


Medici: Masters of Florence

Medici: Masters of Florence

Watch Medici: Masters of Florence trailer here.

If you are hunting for shows like Vikings, Medici is one show you cannot afford to give a miss. Besides the premise of political rifts, as is common for several shows listed here, the show also talks about the complexities of relationships. The story is about the influential Renaissance family of Florence, the Medici. Their family of merchants turned into bankers and later the most dominant political family of 15th century Europe.

Richard Madden (yes, he is on Game of Thrones as well) and Dustin Hoffman have put up stellar performances. The portrayal of the historic period is gorgeous and the story-line riveting. There is no other show on this list that can match the breath-taking cinematography, with its portrayal of scenic Rome, Florence and Tuscany. The show is history breathed back to life.


Knightfall

Watch Knightfall trailer here.

Knightfall is a must-watch if you have seen Vikings and loved it. The reason is that there are several similarities between the two shows that are difficult to ignore, barring the unique premise of each. The plot centers around the events that led to the downfall of the Knights Templar, a historical assembly.

If you are looking for shows like Vikings with enough plot twists and drama to keep your adrenaline rushing, this is the show for you. The protagonist is very much an anti-hero, just like in the case of Vikings.

In fact, Knightfall as a show focuses almost entirely on the lives and perspectives of these so-called “villains”. The roles they have played in history, their actions and consequences, and the motives behind such anti-heroes becomes a central theme. This is also what makes the show so much more interesting.


The Borgias (2011-2013)

Watch The Borgias trailer here.

One of the few watchable HBO shows that fit in perfectly if you are looking for shows like Vikings is “The Borgias”. The show speaks of the story of the Borgia family which climbs the seat of power after Pope Innocent VIII’s death. This must give you a hint of the content – complex relationships, political strife, rivalry and drama.

The show is one of the most beautifully portrayed shows of the historical genre. Fine intricacies have been observed when it comes to costumes, settings, dialogues and looks. Unlike many shows that cease to be anything more than drama, The Borgias brings together thought-provoking moments in its screenplay.


Black Sails (2014-2017)

Black Sails 

Watch Black Sails trailer here.

Black Sails is a show about marauders who set forth on expeditions of robbing, murdering and plundering. The plot is enthralling and bears many similarities to Vikings in terms of its characters and theme. The story talks about Captain Flint, who steers his crew to multiple locations. Together, they plunder many who have set out on the ocean.

Just like many other historical dramas on this list, Black Sails is high on action, gore, and sex. The story-line is immersive and makes sure you cannot leave without watching just one episode. Just like an interesting novel whose pages who cannot resist keeping turning, Black Sails offers enough thrill, suspense, and drama to keep the adrenaline and interest rushing.


Rome (2005-2007)

Watch Rome trailer here.

For any history-lover out there, the mention of the eras gone by would seem incomplete without considering Rome. How then can this list not feature one of the most immersive shows written about the Roman empire’s story? Rome is a show based on Rome of the first century BC, just before it transitioned into an autocratic empire from its republican past.

You must have already guessed by now that there’s a lot of drama in store for you. The story speaks of some of the most iconic characters – Octavian Augustus, Titus Pullo, Lucius Vorenus and many more. Although the show is not based completely on accurate incidents and turns fictional at some points, the history of Rome has been depicted beautifully.

HBO’s Rome is just the perfect choice if you are hunting shows like Vikings to watch next. The best part of the show is that it doesn’t limit itself to merely glorifying the Roman empire.

It has, instead, done its best to show the darker side of the empire’s transition and the bitter-sweet truths of the main players. Ancient Rome is depicted as land not just of monuments and content but one laden with the vices of prostitution, adultery, and decadence. The show doesn’t fall shy in its depiction of violence, without compromising the narration quality.


The Bastard Executioner

Watch The Bastard Executioner trailer here.

Kurt Sutter, who has also created the much-appreciated show Sons of Anarchy, does not fail to lend us another gem of a show with The Bastard Executioner. The story centers around Wilkin Brattle who has served as a knight but is now fed up of all the bloodshed and rivalry. Yet, his destiny seems to not leave Brattle any soon. Instead, he gets involved in a prolonged battle to revenge his people.

The story is mesmerizing enough to keep you hooked on the other side of the screen. Besides, the kind of action and drama portrayed in the show adds golden feathers to its cap. For someone who has enjoyed watching Vikings, The Bastard Executioner will not fail to impress you.


Barbarians (2004-2007)

Watch Barbarians trailer here.

Barbarians are adrift from the conventional TV or web series that have been mentioned here. It is quite similar to a documentary of a bygone era. Featuring on History TV, this is one show that has managed to beautifully describe the story of Early and Late Middle Ages tribes. The story revolves around their lives and times, their invasions and conquests, their rise and decline. The show features tribes such as the Goths, Mongols, Huns, Vandals, Saxons, Franks and the Lombards besides the Vikings.

Watch this documentary if you have taken an interest in the lives of Vikings after watching the famous show on them. This documentary is bound to shower on you some lesser-known facts and realistic details, making it a must-watch after your tryst with the show Vikings. Perhaps the other tribes and their stories would also seem equally interesting to you by now.


Deadwood (2004-2006)

Watch Deadwood trailer here.

Deadwood deserves a mention if you are hunting for shows like Vikings to stream next. Based on life during the Wild West, Deadwood is a story based on historical events, replete with blasphemy and action. The storytelling dates back to the post-Civil War era. If you are a bit of a history enthusiast, it won’t be difficult for you to guess the central theme of the show – attempts at redemption from a miserable lifestyle the war gifted.

Watch this show if you are ready to intake the extremities portrayed, physically, and mentally. The show is about people trying to rise above what life has offered to them, and barring no efforts in the process. Unlike many other dramas on this list that portray events in a story-like way, Deadwood leaves a lot for the viewer to assess and think about.


Camelot

Watch Camelot trailer here.

Camelot is one of the best, yet not so well-known historical dramas you need to watch if you are into shows like Vikings. In the very first place, the show features Eva Green, who alone makes any viewer fall in love with the show. Her staunch portrayal of Morgan, the protagonist of the show. The character is so well-written and so inspiring that the show seems like a real treat to the eyes and the mind.

Camelot also stars Clive Standen as Gawain, who has previously appeared in Vikings too. The stories, though far apart, yet have recurrent themes of historical legends, battles, romances and individual strife.

The show’s ending is touted by some is open-ended, which we believe is a good thing. After all, how many historical dramas deviate from the good and the bad, and focus on you questioning the circumstances? Watch Camelot if you wish to be taken on a roller coaster ride of your own questions and discoveries.


Britannia

Watch Britannia trailer here.

The show Britannia focuses on 1st century Britain when it had to face the wrath of invasions by ambitious Romans. The historical epic has managed to beautifully depict each faction, complete with their practices and habits, landscape and architecture, clothes, and ways.

The beautifully directed show seems to have spent quite a great deal of time (and money) in picturing its scenes and characters. The accurate portrayal is sure to already enchant you, even before you start delving deep into their story. Watch Britannia soon if you are looking for shows like Vikings to indulge in.


Conclusion

The television world has, in the recent decade, seen a spurt in historical dramas all of a sudden. What is it that draws millions towards shows, whether accurate or not, towards such portrayals of the times gone by?

History holds a lot within its yellowed-pages. Perhaps this is the reason we feel so attracted to it in whichever form it is manifested before us. Vikings is a show that deals with a specific tribe set in a specific period.

Its beauty lies not just in its screenplay and performances but also in the depiction of an era gone by. Perhaps this is what makes the other shows and series on this list equally beautiful. We hope these 15 shows help you delve deeper into the many secrets history has in store, with their high doses of drama, action, colorful and inspiring characters.

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