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Bridgerton season 2: Seven period dramas to watch once you’ve finished the hit Netflix series

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After the success of the steamy first season, Bridgerton fans raced through series two upon its release earlier this year.

The Shondaland show, which is an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s series of novels, follows various Regency-era families in London during courting season.

Season one, which follows Daphne Bridgerton’s romance with the brooding Simon Bassett, Duke of Hastings, launched on Christmas Day 2020 to huge success. It was then swiftly renewed for a second season, which was released this year on 25 March.

“We’re planning to be in the Bridgerton business for a long time to come,” Bela Bajaria, vice president of global TV at Netflix, said in a statement.

With an additional prequel in the works – starring newcomers India Amarteifio and Corey Mylchreest as the young Queen Charlotte and King George, respectively – we are currently being spoiled with Bridgerton content.

If you can’t quite wait until 2023 (at least!) for fresh content, though, there are plenty of dramas to enjoy, both on Netflix and elsewhere, that will fill the Bridgerton-shaped hole in your heart in the meantime.

The Great (StarzPlay, Sky)

Describing itself as “an occasionally true story” and “an almost entirely untrue story”, The Great is a history-bending dramedy directed by Tony McNamara (The Favourite, Cruella).

Starring Elle Fanning as Catherine the Great and Nicholas Hoult as Peter III of Russia, The Great chronicles Catherine’s rise from outsider to the longest-reigning female ruler in Russian history. Combining court politics, sex politics and national politics, The Great is a dramatic and hilarious 18th-century ride.

The Duchess (Netflix)

Kiera Knightley’s period drama ‘The Duchess’

Starring Keira Knightley opposite Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess is a moving portrait of an unhappy marriage, complete with infidelity, extravagant partying and enormous wigs.

Based on Amanda Foreman’s biography of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, The Duchess follows the spirited Georgiana’s marriage to William Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire.

(PA Media)

With six seasons released, a seventh in the works, and a prequel recently announced, TV series Outlander is perfect if you’re looking to settle down with a new show.

Set in 18th-century Scotland, the award-winning Outlander doesn’t take historical accuracy too seriously, instead combining supernatural elements (time travel) with dramatised historical events such as the Jacobite uprising.

Starring Golden Globe-nominated actress Caitríona Balfe, Outlander is also famous for its sex scenes, and is therefore the perfect follow-on from Bridgerton.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Prime Video)

Pushing “alternate history” a little further than the typical period drama, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is Regency with a horror twist. Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel of the same name, which (you guessed it) parodies Jane Austen’s classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies reimagines the Bennet sisters in a zombie-infested, 19th-century England.

Lily James, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Jack Huston, Lena Headey and Matt Smith all make appearances to create a star-studded, tense and witty film.

Harlots (StarzPlay)

If Eloise’s trips to Bloomsbury and growing interest in women’s rights interested you in Bridgerton season two, definitely follow it up with Harlots.

With a grittier, bawdier insight into Georgian London, Harlots – based on Hallie’s Rubenhold’s non-fiction book, The Covent Garden Ladies – follows Margaret Wells and other self-made women running London’s brothels.

With religious crusaders looking to close brothels and police raids threatening Wells’ establishment, Harlots illustrates the other side of Georgian London, where marrying well isn’t the only way for women to make a living.

Emma (Netflix)

If you’re looking for Regency romance, Jane Austen adaptations are a failsafe, and 2020’s Emma is no different. In this vibrant adaptation, Emma’s wit and intellect as meddling matchmaker mirror Bridgerton’s leading women. The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy plays the title character: a wealthy young woman with more interest in other people’s love lives than her own, opposite Johnny Flynn as Mr Knightley.

Gentleman Jack (BBC iPlayer)

If you are one of the many Bridgerton fans urging Netflix to introduce LGBTQ+ storylines to its next season, Gentleman Jack might satisfy you in the meantime.

Also set in Regency England but transporting us up north, Gentleman Jack takes place in Yorkshire, 1832, and follows Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) – history’s “first modern lesbian”.

As she restores the estate she has inherited from her late uncle, Lister meets the Halifax locals and engages in a risky affair with local heiress, Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle). Having debuted in 2019, Gentleman Jack returns to BBC 1 for season 2 on 10 April.

Bridgerton seasons one and two are available to stream now on Netflix.

This article was originally published in April 2022

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