These are the best historical dramas to watch in 2022

If you are left with one Bridgeton-shaped emptiness in your life after watching the show’s achingly beautiful second season, our list of the best upcoming period dramas to watch this year is perfect for you.

By Dakota Johnson conviction – tailored for hopeless romantics, to Florence Pugh A wonder For thrill-seekers, for historical drama enthusiasts, the choices are endless. It’s going to be an exciting year for historical drama, with many highly anticipated films and series releasing on both celluloid and streaming platforms like Netflix.

Here are nine historical dramas to watch in 2022


Period dramas to be released in 2022 - Conviction
Credit: Persuasion/IMDb

Release date: 15th of July

Starring Dakota Johnson, Cosmo Jarvis, Henry Golding and Suki Waterhouse, conviction tells the story of a second chance and the rekindling of a long-lost love between the protagonists Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Based on Jane Austen’s novel of the same name, the film follows the life of Anne, one of the three daughters of the wealthy and influential English aristocrat Sir Walter (Corin Redgrave).

Part of Anne’s wish has gone unfulfilled since she was persuaded by her family not to marry her great love Frederick eight years ago because of his poor social standing. However, the flame between them never went out.

Years later, when Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with financial gains and the socially respected rank of naval officer, old sparks rekindle between the two.

Directed by Carrie Cracknell, the Netflix film is a must-see if you’re into the romance One Who Got Away. Watch the period film with its beautifully extravagant costume design and Cracknell’s playful take on this Jane Austen classic.


historical dramas - Emily
Photo credit: Michael Wharley Popara Films Ltd 2019 – © Michael Wharley Popara Films Ltd 2019

Release date: late in the year

This film brings to life the story of one of the most famous and seminal writers of the millennium, Emily Brontë, a gem lost to the world at the age of just 30. Starring Emma Mackey as Emily, the story follows the intense years leading up to the writing of her influential novel Wuthering Heights.

It offers a glimpse into her exciting, uplifting and rebellious journey into womanhood. Set in the Yorkshire Moors, this coming-of-age film is Frances O’Connor’s promising directorial debut.


Photo credits: Babylon/© Birkan YÜKSEL

Release date: 25 December

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, Babylon is an American period drama film set for a Christmas release this year. The star cast includes Brad Pitt as John Gilbert and Margot Robbie as Clara Bow, with Tobey Maguire as executive producer. Maguire also has a cameo in the film, as silent film icon Charlie Chaplin.

Although Paramount has yet to release an official storyline, speculation is that the film will explore the glitzy and glamorous world of Hollywood and the industry’s transition from silent films to motion pictures with dubbed soundtracks (talkies). The cast also includes Olivia Wilde and Jean Smart.

The wonder

The wonder
Credit: The Wonder/IMDb

Release date: late in the year

An adaptation of Irish-Canadian playwright Emma Donoghue’s bestselling book. The wonder is a psychological thriller that explores the life of a “miracle” girl who seems to go months without food. Starring Florence Pugh as Lib Wright, the Netflix film, directed by Sebastián Lelio, is set in the mysterious glens of 19th-century Ireland.

Pugh plays the role of an English nurse whose presence in Ireland is urged to observe and analyze 11-year-old deeply religious wonder girl Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy). Heralded as a miracle, she was made a tourist attraction for her monastic survival skills without food. O’Donnell soon becomes a sensational phenomenon as townsfolk throng to catch a glimpse of her.

Wright is also joined by a journalist who is skeptical of this seemingly wondrous story of survival and wonders if there is something more sinister at play.

Lady Chatterley’s lover

Release date: late in the year

Actress Emma Corrin, who played Princess Diana in season four The crown, will play the free-spirited noble Lady Constance Chatterley in this historical drama. The film is based on the novel of the same name by DH Lawrence, directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, and follows the story of Lady Chatterley, who pursues a torrid affair with a gamekeeper (Jack O’Connell) after falling in love with her husband . In the process, she discovers more desire and intimacy than she ever thought possible.

The Woman King

The Woman King
Credit: The Woman King/IMDb

Release date: 16th September

An American historical epic directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and co-written by Dana Stevens (also screenplay), The Woman King is a historical drama inspired by the true events that took place in the kingdom of Dahomey. It was one of the most powerful African states in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The remarkable story follows fierce military general Nanisca (Viola Davis) and her recruit Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) as they repel enemies and battle those who have destroyed their sense of honor. The cast also includes Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, Sheila Atim, Adrienne Warren, Jayme Lawson and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin.

The Crown: Season 5

The crown season 5
Credit: Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix – © Netflix 2020, Inc

Release date: November 2022

The fifth and penultimate season of the hugely popular series, which chronicles the political upheaval and personal intrigue of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign from the 1940s to modern times, is set to premiere on Netflix in November. Imelda Staunton plays Elizabeth, along with Jonathan Pryce, Lesley Manville, Jonny Lee Miller, Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki in key roles. The series follows the momentous events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.

Featuring dramatic accounts of the Queen’s early reign, personal life and romance, the Netflix original series debuted in 2016 and garnered global acclaim. The fourth season follows the years after 1979 when Prince Charles meets Diana (Emma Corrin) for the first time. The tumultuous course of their relationship, from courtship to marriage and the birth of Prince William and Prince Harry, is chronicled this season.

The upcoming fifth season is expected to cover the events that took place in the late 1990s during the world’s most famous monarchy where the previous season had ended.

Mr. Malcolm’s list

Mr. Malcolm's list
Photo Credit: Mr. Malcolm’s List/IMDb

Release date: July 1

The period film, due for release in July, will be directed by Emma Holly Jones, marks her feature film debut and will be written by Suzanne Allain. The story is adapted from Allain’s novel of the same name. In the film, a young woman named Selina Dalton (Frieda Pinto) falls in love with a mysterious, wealthy suitor, Mr. Malcolm (Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù) in 19th-century England. The film also stars Zawe Ashton, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Ashley Park and Theo James.

The historical romance drama revolves around the classic enemies-to-lovers point of view and follows the life of Mr. Malcolm as he searches for a suitable bride for himself. He wants to find a lady who will meet his demanding and long list of requirements and conditions.

Pinto, along with her friend Julia Thistlewaite (Zawe Ashton), plays the role of a country girl who initially despises Mr. Malcolm and plots revenge on him for rejecting Julia for not meeting his criteria. In a (not so) surprising turn of events, she courts him instead.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

Downtown Abbey: A New Era
Photo credit: Downton Abbey: A New Era/© 2021 FOCUS FEATURES LLC

Release date: April 29th

While this was released in April, Simon Curtis’ exciting sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era is a must for lovers of historical drama. The film revolves around the Crawley family, who embark on a grand journey to the south of France to uncover the mystery of the Countess Dowager’s newly inherited villa. Set against the backdrop of the hallowed halls of Highclere Castle, Dame Maggie Smith is back as Countess Dowager Violet Crawley, while Michelle Dockery returns as Lady Mary Talbot.

Tuppence Middleton is back as Lucy Smith, with Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley and Imelda Staunton as Maud Bagshaw.

Supporting cast includes Hugh Dancy as Jack Barber, Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley, Laura Haddock as Myrna Dalgleish, Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates and Penelope Wilton as Isobel Merton.

It was released in cinemas in the UK by Universal Pictures on April 29, 2022 and in the US by Focus Features in May.

(Credit for main and featured image: Liam Daniel/Netflix/- © 2022 Netflix, Inc.)

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