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5 Shows like Empresses in the Palace: Historical Tales

Simon Hamilton itcher

This is a rather novel Chinese historical drama set in a harem and focused upon the social dynamics and machinations that take place therein.

For other dramas set in previous epochs, take a look at our suggestions here of other TV shows like ‘Empresses in the Palace’. ~ Simon Hamilton

Shows Similar to ‘Empresses in the Palace’

This article recommends an underrated title, a must-see title, an unknown title, an ‘if you like, you will like’ title and an unexpected title so you have different options when it comes to choosing your next movie to watch.



‘The Tudors’ (Showtime, 2007-2010)

This show received quite a lot of criticism for dialogue which seems laughably out-of-place for the period of history in question. Jonathan Rhys Meyers is also a questionable choice of actor to play King Henry VIII as there is no similarity here whatsoever.

However, those who can put these quibbles aside seem to rather like it, so ‘The Tudors’ is certainly worth considering if you’re looking for another TV series like ‘Empresses in the Palace’.


Similarity Match

The story of King Henry VIII and his many wives. 



‘Deadwood’ (HBO, 2004-2006)

Set in Dakota during the late 19th-century, ‘Deadwood’ is a show which all fans of the Western genre should acquaint themselves with. If you’re looking for a historical series similar to ‘Empresses in the Palace’, this is also a first-class choice.

Great scripting, production and performances from the cast all contribute to making this one of the best TV series of the last decade.


Similarity Match

A gritty and realistic series set in the Old West. 



‘The Borgias’ (Showtime, 2011)

This is a lavish and high-quality historical drama series centred around the machinations of the Catholic church and their attempts to exert control over the nations of Europe.

With an amazing performance by Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia, a great supporting cast and a keen eye for historical detail, it was something of a disappointment that this show didn’t last longer than it did. Ultimately, it just didn’t have the widespread appeal to warrant its sizable budget.


Similarity Match

A fascinating series about Papal intrigue. 



‘The Monocled Mutineer’ (BBC, 1986)

With the excellent Paul McGann as the protagonist, this is the tale of a mutiny amongst the British Army during World War I.

It’s a decent mini-series about the harsh reality of army life, but one which is known more for the controversy it stirred up during the 1980s with accusations of political bias leveled at the BBC. It’s certainly true that the depiction of the “Étaples mutinies” was grossly exaggerated by this series. Put that aside, however, and this is certainly a series worth watching.


Similarity Match

A controversially inaccurate but still enjoyable historical drama. 


If You Like ‘Empresses in the Palace’, You Will Like

‘Empress Cheonchu’ (KBS2, 2009)

This is a drama series based upon the true story of an Empress who ruled the Kingdom of Goryeo and, as a series similar to ‘Empresses in the Palace’, it’s one to strongly consider.

It tells the tale (with a fair bit of creative license) of her rise to power and attempt to reclaim to the lands that her dynasty had lost in previous times to other nations and tribes.


Similarity Match

An entertaining tale of war, power, intrigue and conquest. 


Over to You

The richness of history always offers plenty of fertile ground for drama, and these fives shows are some of the best ever produced.

Do you have your own personal favourite shows set in epochs gone by? Make sure to add them in the comments section below!

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