Hand-Flexing Romance: A Guide to Period Dramas

20 Period Romances to Watch Indulge in the Timeless Charm Inspired by Pride & Prejudice's Infamous Hand Flex

20 period romances to watch if you’re obsessed with Pride & Prejudice

Oh, the power of a little hand flex! It’s a simple gesture in a period romance that can make your heart skip a beat. Remember that iconic moment in Pride & Prejudice, when Mr. Darcy helps Elizabeth Bennett onto a carriage and then walks away, only to give us a close-up of his hand flexing? It was pure perfection, my dear fashionistas.

If you, like me, have been on a quest to find shows and movies that can capture the same magic as that hand-flexing moment, fear not! I’ve compiled a list of period dramas that come close, and some that may even match it. Get ready to swoon and laugh as we dive into the world of timeless romance.


1. Downton Abbey

If Mr. Darcy’s hand flex was a song, it would be the iconic intro music of Downton Abbey. This show is a masterpiece that takes you into the lives of the Crawley family and their staff. It’s filled with historical drama, lighthearted comedy (courtesy of the fabulous Maggie Smith), and enough longing looks to make your heart ache. Plus, there are six seasons and two movies to keep you captivated. Stream it on Netflix.

2. The Gilded Age

From the creator of Downton Abbey comes The Gilded Age, set in 19th-century New York City. It’s a battle between “old money” and “new money,” with an alluring cast and intriguing storylines. While the pacing may be a bit slow at first, hang on tight because Season 2 offers new twists and turns that will keep you hooked. Stream it on Max.

3. The Buccaneers

Ah, a brand new show that has me completely invested! The Buccaneers follows a group of friends from America as they embark on a journey to London in the late 1800s. Friendship, love, and defying societal limits are at the heart of this series. And let’s not forget those classic moments of two characters emerging from the ocean—nothing says period romance like a water-soaked encounter. This show is a delightful mix of Bridgerton and Downton, with a splash of great chemistry. Stream it on AppleTV+.

4. Bridgerton

Do I even need to say more? Bridgerton is THE iconic period romance series that took the world by storm. With the brilliant Shonda Rhimes at the helm, each season follows one of the Bridgerton children’s quest for love. The steamy moments and unforgettable characters rival that hand-flexing scene from Pride & Prejudice. And if you’re yearning for more, don’t miss Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. Brace yourself for ultimate steaminess. Stream it on Netflix.

5. Outlander

If you find yourself mourning the end of your favorite series, fear not—Outlander has seven seasons to keep you company. Based on the book series by Diana Gabaldon, this show takes you on a time-traveling adventure filled with love, passion, and jaw-dropping moments. The chemistry between Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall is simply electric. Trust me, once you start, you won’t be able to stop. Stream it on Netflix.

6. Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair offers a modern and fresh take on William Makepeace Thackeray’s classic novel. With the talented Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharpe, this series delivers a perfect blend of humor and tragedy. Prepare for budding romances, epic disappointments, and a musical score that adds a modern twist to the period drama genre. Catch it on Amazon Prime.

7. Poldark

While Poldark may lack the lightness and comedy of Pride & Prejudice, it compensates with its dramatic flair. This show never shies away from killing off characters or putting them through unbearable hardships. But fear not, dear readers, for amidst the drama, epic love stories unfold against the backdrop of sweeping ocean views and stunning equestrian rides through fields. It’s the perfect blend of beauty and heartache. Stream it on Amazon Prime.

8. Mr. Selfridge

Step into the world of Mr. Selfridge, where ambition and love intertwine within the walls of a bustling department store. Think Downton Abbey, but with a workplace twist. The divide between the store’s owners and the hardworking staff sets the stage for love triangles, hidden romances, and enough longing looks to make your heart flutter. Get ready for some serious drama and fashion inspiration. Stream it on Amazon Prime.

9. Death Comes to Pemberley

For all the Jane Austen fans out there craving both romance and mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley is a must-watch. It picks up after the events of Pride & Prejudice and brings back beloved characters to stir up trouble in the halls of Pemberley. While it may lack a hand flexing moment, it compensates with brilliant performances and a captivating mystery. Stream it on Amazon Prime.

10. Miss Scarlet & The Duke

Are you a fan of murder mysteries with a dash of romance? Then Miss Scarlet & The Duke is the perfect blend for you. This delightful series follows Miss Scarlet, a fiery and independent woman defying the expectations of London society in the late 1800s. With a mix of thrilling cases and a tantalizing “will-they-won’t-they” dynamic between Miss Scarlet and the Duke, you’ll be on the edge of your seat. Plus, a new season is coming next year! Stream it on Amazon Prime.

11. Sense & Sensibility

You may be familiar with the classic 1995 movie version of Sense & Sensibility, but have you seen the 2008 series? Starring none other than Downton Abbey’s Matthew Crawley—oops, I mean, actor Dan Stevens—this series brings a fresh twist to Jane Austen’s beloved novel. It may have a dated trailer, but trust me, it’s worth a watch if you can’t get enough of all things Austen. Stream it on Hulu.

12. The Paradise

Looking for a fun-filled department store drama to satisfy your craving for romance? Look no further than The Paradise. Though it had only two seasons, this show is packed with juicy love triangles and office intrigue. Join the new girl in town as she navigates her job at The Paradise, falls for her boss, and gets entangled in all the gossip among coworkers. It’s a delightful watch that will leave you wanting more. Stream it on Amazon Prime.

13. Sanditon

Are you tired of waiting for the next season of your favorite series? Well, fear not, because Sanditon is ready to captivate you from start to finish. Based on an unfinished Jane Austen novel, this series follows the vivacious Charlotte Heywood as she explores a beachside town and discovers herself along the way. Love interests abound, especially in the form of the brooding Sidney Parker. Prepare for Bridgerton-level steaminess and a rollercoaster of emotions. Stream it on Amazon Prime.


14. EMMA.

Prepare to be charmed by the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. This delightful movie stars the talented Anya Taylor-Joy, who brings a playful and unique energy to the beloved character. The banter between Emma and her love interest, played by Johnny Flynn, is reminiscent of Elizabeth and Darcy’s witty exchanges. Get ready for a swoon-worthy romance that will leave you grinning from ear to ear. Stream it on Peacock TV.

15. Belle

Based on a true story, Belle is a period romance that tackles issues of racism and societal norms in 18th-century England. Gugu Mbatha-Raw shines as Dido Elizabeth Belle, a woman caught between her aristocratic upbringing and the judgments society imposes based on her skin color. Her love story and her impact on British politics will keep you on the edge of your seat. Get ready for a movie that will touch your heart and ignite your spirit. Stream it on Hulu.

16. Becoming Jane

If you missed this gem when it first came out, now is the time to rectify that mistake. Anne Hathaway stars as Jane Austen herself, with James McAvoy as a Mr. Darcy-like love interest. Add the legendary Maggie Smith to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a fantastic period romance. Becoming Jane takes you on a journey through Jane Austen’s own romantic experiences before she became the literary icon we know today. It’s a blend of fact and fiction, delivering the tension and passion Austen is known for. Rent it on Prime Video.

17. The Favourite

Prepare yourself for an award-winning period romance that defies expectations. The Favourite stars Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz in a story that oscillates between disturbing and brilliant. With a plot that keeps you guessing and a love triangle rivalry between the main characters, it’s a visually stunning film that will leave you in awe. Get ready for a wild ride of emotions and some unforgettable performances. Stream it on Amazon Prime.

18. Marie-Antoinette

Step into the sumptuous world of Marie Antoinette, where Sofia Coppola’s unique vision brings history to life. This movie breathes fresh air into the story of the famous queen, blending modern music with exquisite costumes and set pieces. Prepare to be enchanted by the romance and turmoil of Marie Antoinette’s life in the opulent palace of Versailles. Rent it on Apple TV.

19. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Take a delightful detour from traditional period dramas with this World War II-era film. Based on the book by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society follows a writer, played by Lily James, as she discovers love and unravels the mysteries of a small island. It’s a heartwarming tale that combines romance, history, and the bond of book clubs. Prepare to fall head over heels. Stream it on Netflix.

20. Brooklyn

Prepare your tissues for this emotional rollercoaster of a movie. Brooklyn stars Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish woman who immigrates to Brooklyn in the 1950s. It’s a beautiful story about love, leaving home, and finding oneself in a new world. Like Elizabeth’s journey across the countryside in Pride & Prejudice, this film has an epic quality that will stay with you long after the credits roll. Brace yourself for a truly moving experience. Rent it on Prime Video.

These period dramas and films are a feast for the eyes and a balm for the soul. Whether you’re in the mood for steamy romance, gripping mysteries, or charming tales of love, this list has got you covered. So grab some popcorn, put on your most elegant loungewear, and immerse yourself in the magic of these timeless stories.

Tell us, dear readers, which hand-flexing moment in a period romance has stolen your heart? Have you watched any of the shows or movies on this list? Share your thoughts and join the conversation—it’s time for some serious fashionista bonding!