Many viewers wish they could be a fly-on-the-wall for many of the historic battles and times we see in Ancient Roman stories and shows like Rome. With the amount of effort that goes into replicating the setting, costumes, language and the overall feel of the time, Rome and other historical dramas are some of the best pieces of TV around. This is why we have created a list of 12 shows just like the HBO show, Rome.
Rome, created by John Milius, William J. MacDonald and Bruno Heller is set in 1st century BC Ancient Rome, chronicling the transition from Republic into Empire. With a large ensemble of characters, most of which are based off of real historical figures, Rome, shines in the aspect of its characterization and relationships between those characters, a style that would see a show like Game of Thrones grow to be the cultural phenomenon that it did, later on. If you enjoyed Rome, I’m sure you’ll be looking for more shows that are built just like it. So here are 12 shows for you to watch after Rome. Enjoy!
List of Shows like Rome
- The Tudors
- The Last Kingdom
- I Claudius
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand
- The Borgias
- Marco Polo
- Wolf Hall
- War & Peace
1. The Tudors (2007)
The Tudors is a historical drama series similar to Rome. The plot is centered on the reign of Henry VII in England in the middle ages. With the help of his trusted adviser, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Henry VII is able to navigate the murky waters of politics and international conflicts.
Although based on a true time in history, many of the overarching storylines and characters in The Tudors are fictional. This show however has some truly convincing performances by its actors, and we are even treated to Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer, giving off a masterclass in acting in another fictional period piece.
2. Barbarians (2020)
Barbarians is a German historical war drama TV series similar to Rome. The plot is a fictionalized portrayal of the Roman occupation of old Germany, known then as Germania, and the subsequent rebellion by those Germanic tribes, a rebellion fuelled by a Germanic leader known as Arminius.
Barbarians is superbly put together, and while not the most accurate in terms of historical events and the characters within it, it is very accurate in terms of the language, production design, especially the props, buildings, and costumes. If you love shows that kill it in terms of production design then you’ll love Barbarians.
3. The Last Kingdom (2015)
The Last Kingdom, based on Bernard Cornwell’s novel series known as The Saxon Stories, is set in the year 872, after the invasion of the Danes of England. There remains just one city that stands in the wake of the Danes, and that is the kingdom of Wessex, which remains under the command of King Alfred.
Airing on Netflix, and produced by the BBC, The Last Kingdom, similar to shows like Rome, was met with overwhelming positive critiques, and was widely praised for the performances of its ensemble cast, as well as its pulsating action sequences and beautiful cinematography. It really is a pleasure to watch.
4. I Claudius (1975)
A BBC Television adaptation of Robert Grave’s 1934 novel of the same name, I, Claudius, is written by Jack Pulman, and features Derek Jacobi, as the elderly Claudius, who shows us the history of the early Roman Empire through his eyes, and via his narrations that guides us throughout this series.
I, Claudius was a hugely celebrated show in its prime, and even till now, and is a show mostly about the politics of empires and the relationship between characters, themes that would later be prevalent in HBO shows like Rome and further down the line, Game of Thrones.
5. Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2009)
Airing on Lions Gate Entertainment’s cable television channel Starz, Spartacus: Blood and Sand was one of the channel’s most successful TV franchises. Spartacus: Blood and Sand is centered on the historical figure of Spartacus, played by Andy Whitfeld, a gladiator who leads an uprising against the Romans in 73 BC.
Full of sex and violence, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, still manages to keep things grounded by adding a bit of depth to the show’s characters. The show was also praised for improving as the season wore on, as it began to shed more melodrama, and focus in on the story and its characters.
6. The Borgias (2011)
The Borgias is set in Italy in the Renaissance Era. Aired by Showtime Television in the US, the plot is centered on the Borgia family, an utterly corrupt and evil family that will do all it takes to get to the top of Italian society, and secure themselves a seat close to the pope himself, played by Jeremy Irons.
The Borgias has been routinely compared to shows like Rome and The Tudors, due to their similar styles. The show is elevated highly by the performances of veterans in the industry, like Jeremy Irons and BAFTA winner Gina McKee.
7. Marco Polo (2017)
Netflix broke the hearts of many fans when it canceled Marco Polo after just two seasons, despite great reviews from some of its fans, although it was trashed by critics. The story of Marco Polo, is unsurprisingly… about Marco Polo, a young merchant from Venice, who is taken into court by the Mongolian emperor, Kublai Khan.
Due to its high production value, and the fact that the show was bleeding money, reportedly losing Netflix $200 million dollars in total, Marco Polo was canceled in December of 2016. The show still remains on the platform though, and you can check it out if you’re a fan of series similar to Rome.
8. Wolf Hall (2015)
Wolf Hall is set in the 1500s, from 1500 to 1535, and chronicles the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII. Cromwell becomes one of Henry VIII’s most trusted advisors, and even helps the king escape his marriage to the treasonous Anne Boleyn.
Showered with critical acclaim by fans and professional critics alike, this show has been praised for the masterful direction by Peter Kominsky, as well as the great performances by its leading cast members. If you like shows like Rome, Wolf Hall is definitely up your alley.
10. Britannia (2018)
Britannia is another quality historical TV series similar to Rome. Set in Britain in 43 AD. The show chronicles the invasion of Britain by the Romans, led by General Aulus Plautius, and his trusted second, Lucius, who are bent on seeing Britain fall, after Julius Caesar had failed to conquer the territory almost a century ago.
Britannia definitely has something going for it, and that is its characters. Add in some great set design, writing, and gripping cinematography, and we have a show that I have no qualms recommending that you check out, as soon as possible.
11. Domina (2021)
Domina is a British-Italian historical drama series similar to Rome, which aired on Sky Atlantic in the UK and Italy. The show is set in Ancient Rome, and takes a rarely used perspective of a female character. This character is Livia Drusilla, the wife of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar.
Starring Nadia Parkes as Livia, Domina has been dubbed as ‘Game of Romans’, a play on words to point out its similarity in terms of political intrigue, back stabbings and intricate characterizations to a show like Game of Thrones. You can find this show now, streaming on Roku.
12. Plebs (2013)
Plebs brings a comedic twist to the historical drama genre. This show, which was first broadcast on Britain’s ITV2, is premised on telling us rare stories of ordinary young citizens living in Rome, as opposed to the grand stories that we get usually, about uprisings, and empires and gladiators.
Shot in Sofia, Bulgaria, Plebs is a quick departure from the tone of shows like Rome, and is made even more hilarious by the use of modern language in these settings, and use of modern music as themes for its background music, opening and closing titles. If you want a bit of a laugh, then here’s the show for you.
13. War & Peace (2016)
War & Peace is centered on Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Army, and its invasion of Austria, from where the army intends to move into Russia. This show is a six-part adaptation of the 1869 novel, War and Peace, written by Russian author Leo Tolstoy.
The show has been praised for its striking visuals, and the fact that it remains very faithful to its source material, despite being almost two centuries old. The Telegraph named it among the greatest TV adaptations of all time, placing it at #5. Safe among the likes of series like Rome.
Here are other shows like Rome which didn’t make the list that you can also watch:
- 1. Versailles (2015)
- 2. Poldark (2015)
- 3. Outlander (2014)