18 Shows to Watch If You Love “Outlander”
When “Outlander” first debuted on Starz in 2014, the romantic epic series was a bit of a risk. Based on a bestselling series of novels by Diana Gabaldon, the show didn’t quite fit neatly into any one box. It’s an adventure, a historical and political drama, a family saga, a steamy romance, and a time-travel fantasy, all at once – that’s a lot of ground for any one show to cover!
As it turns out, fans turned up in droves, turning “Outlander” into a bona fide phenomenon and turning its stars into recognizable faces. As the seasons go on, there’s still plenty of story to cover, with Gabaldon’s book series not even finished yet. Spanning decades of historical events and fictional drama, the show still manages to keep its focus on its main characters and on the love story between Jamie and Claire that anchors the whole thing. That character focus, more than anything else, is what keeps people tuning in year after year.
The biggest problem with being an “Outlander” fan is the “Droughtlander,” or the long waiting periods between each season of the show. Fortunately, there are plenty of other shows that have feature of the same things we love about “Outlander” that you can watch to fill the time. Whether you’re looking for a heart-stopping romance or a high-stakes historical adventure, start one of these shows the next time you’re missing “Outlander.”
Shows Like "Outlander": "Black Sails"
The characters of “Outlander” struggle on and off with British and other authorities over the course of decades. They definitely have that in common with the pirates of “Black Sails” (although they might not totally approve of these pirates’ methods!). Set during the golden age of piracy, “Black Sails” is technically meant as a prequel to the iconic “Treasure Island,” but it goes far beyond that. In this version, Captain Flint is at the height of his power, searching for treasure while also fighting for the survival of the pirate way of life against “civilised” people who paint them as villains. These aren’t your friendly “Pirates of the Caribbean” swashbucklers, but darker, more adult characters – perfect for “Outlander” fans looking for that mix of adventure, danger, and romance.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Bridgerton"
If you watch “Outlander” more for the epic romance than the historical adventures, then “Bridgerton” should definitely be on your watch list if it isn’t already. Like “Outlander,” “Bridgerton” is based on a lengthy series of novels that put the relationships between characters front and centre. At the centre of it all is the Bridgerton family, a wealthy family in the glamorous “ton” of Regency-era British society. The first season centres on eldest daughter Daphne, as her fake-dating arrangement with charming duke Simon turns into real love. Season two shifts the focus to her oldest brother Anthony, head of the family since his father’s death and now on the search for a wife himself – with results that surprise him and everyone else.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Call the Midwife"
If you wish we’d gotten to spend more time with Claire working in the medical field of postwar England, “Call the Midwife” could be what you’re looking for. The long-running series begins in the late 1950s, following a group of nuns, nurses, and midwives working in an impoverished, working-class part of London. Like Claire, they often face prejudice and assumptions about their abilities because of their gender, but they prove themselves capable time and time again. As the seasons progress, the show eventually moves into the 1960s, where big social changes – especially in the lives of women – impact the characters both personally and professionally.
Shows Like "Outlander": "The Crown"
“The Crown” definitely is a quieter, more introspective show than the big adventures of “Outlander,” but both shows have a lot to say about power, changing times, and family. Starting in the 1950s, “The Crown” traces the reign of Queen Elizabeth II over several decades. From her early days as an unexpectedly young queen trying to find her footing to her later years as an established monarch and matriarch, the show follows her and her family as they struggle to feel relevant in an increasingly modern world, often self-sabotaging along the way. There aren’t the epic, literal battles seen on “Outlander,” but that doesn’t mean the stakes are lower.
Shows Like "Outlander": "A Discovery of Witches"
Looking for that perfect blend of fantasy and romance? “A Discovery of Witches” has you covered. Like “Outlander,” it centres on the forbidden and passionate love story between a man from the past and a woman from the present day. Only this time, the woman, Diana, is a professor who discovers her connections to an ancient line of witches, and the man, Matthew, is a centuries-old vampire. As the two slowly learn to trust each other, they try to untangle mysteries surrounding the rivalry between magical species and the apparent weakening of magic itself. Yes, time travel gets involved at one point, but just like “Outlander,” it really is the central romance that holds everything together.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Downton Abbey"
There’s considerably less dirt, blood, and grime on “Downton Abbey” than there is on “Outlander,” that’s for sure. If you’re looking for an epic historical drama but with more of an elegant, glamorous feel, “Downton” is the way to go. Starting in 1912 and following the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants through nearly 15 years, the show covers an era of immense change for everyone. From the horrors of World War I to the glittering ballrooms of the 1920s, it’s a sweeping story that touches on every aspect of the characters’ lives. There’s even an ongoing hospital storyline – Claire would definitely approve.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Doctor Who"
While “Outlander” uses its time travel sparingly, “Doctor Who” is all about that adventuring through time and space. The iconic sci-fi series centres on the Doctor, an ancient alien being who “regenerates” into a new body at the end of each “lifetime” and travels throughout the universe with some human (and occasionally non-human) friends. While that might sound a little too much like silly sci-fi for “Outlander” fans, rest assured that there’s plenty of adventure, romance, and big emotions alongside the goofy and sometimes scary. After all, the very premise of the show means that nothing lasts forever and the Doctor always has to leave beloved companions behind. If you don’t cry at least once, you’re not paying attention.
Shows Like "Outlander": "The Great"
Hulu’s outrageous, quirky, anachronistic comedy might not seem like it has a ton in common with “Outlander,” but we think there’s a lot there that “Outlander” fans will love. Both shows have a strong, complicated woman at the centre of the story, surrounded by political intrigues, high personal stakes, and frequent life-or-death decisions. Here, that woman is Catherine, a naive young princess who arrives in Russia as a bride, only to discover that her new husband, Tsar Peter, is a self-absorbed, casually cruel narcissist. Frustrated by the way he rules, Catherine begins to think that maybe, just maybe, she could do a better job herself. With the help of a motley crew of allies, Catherine takes the risk to take power and become the legendary Catherine the Great.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Poldark"
Of all the TV show options out there, “Poldark” is probably as close as it gets to the vibes of “Outlander.” After being presumed dead during the American Revolution, Ross Poldark returns home to his estate in England, only to find that the life he left behind has changed irrevocably. As he tries to rebuild his life, help the villagers, and fend off the plans of greedy businessmen, he falls for a headstrong maid, Demelza. Their romance is far from smooth sailing, however, and the show follows them and the people around them over many years of fights, betrayals, reunions, and big decisions that change lives forever.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Reign"
How about a slightly different perspective on the historic quest for Scottish independence? “Reign” presents a (heavily fictionalized) version of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. Descended from the Tudor royal line, Mary’s journey starts out when she arrives in France as the betrothed of the heir to the throne. Through epic romances, terrifying betrayals, and razor’s-edge court politics, Mary transforms from naive princess to a steely would-be queen. As her story eventually brings her back to her native Scotland and into conflict with her English cousin, Queen Elizabeth, Mary is faced with difficult choices and a historical fate that cannot be avoided.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Sanditon"
A little rougher around the edges than your typical Jane Austen adaptation, “Sanditon” is a great choice for “Outlander” fans looking for more period romance, but fewer gruesome battles. Charlotte is a young woman whose life changes forever when she comes to the aid of the Parkers, a wealthy couple whose carriage overturns near her village. In gratitude, the Parkers invite her to spend a summer with them in Sanditon, a growing beach community that their family is trying to build into a seaside resort destination. While there, Charlotte befriends the heiress Georgiana and clashes with Sidney, one of the Parker brothers. There’s definitely enough drama and major heartbreak for any “Outlander” fan.
Shows Like "Outlander": "The Spanish Princess"
Curious for more of the backstory about the conflict between England and Scotland? You’ll get a little bit of the history – albeit with some soapy fictionalisations – in “The Spanish Princess.” The series focuses on Catherine of Aragon, the princess of the title who comes from Spain to marry Arthur, the heir to the English throne. As we all know, though, Catherine’s life won’t go the way she has planned, but she’s determined to fulfill her fate of becoming queen at any cost. The second season spends a little more time in Scotland, as Catherine’s sister-in-law takes charge of Scottish forces and marshals support for a conflict that will stretch, on and off, for centuries.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Timeless"
Time-travelling adventures? Check. A memorable ensemble of characters with an unbreakable bond? Check. Big mysteries and sweeping romance? Check. All of these things you love about “Outlander” are a big part of “Timeless,” a sci-fi drama with a historical twist. Historian Lucy, soldier Wyatt, and scientist Rufus are the mismatched team sent through time in pursuit of a madman who has stolen a time machine and intends to destroy history. As they unravel a much bigger conspiracy than they were expecting, they form a tight-knit bond, help each other overcome past traumas, and cross paths with an amazing (and sometimes hilarious) array of famous figures from years past.
Shows Like "Outlander": "The Tudors"
The elegant court life of “The Tudors” may be a far cry from how the Frasers and their friends live, but the life-and-death stakes are the same. When “The Tudors” begins, Henry VIII is a vibrant, if reckless, young king, determined to expand England’s power at any cost. His marriage to his Spanish wife, Catherine, falters as he blames her for their lack of a son, and his determination to father an heir becomes an all-consuming obsession. Like “Outlander,” the show follows its characters over years and even decades, covering major historical events as well as the personal lives of its main characters.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Turn"
As “Outlander” moves through the years, the focus shifts from Scottish rebellions to the era of the American Revolution. That’s where “Turn” is set too, taking its inspiration from true stories of one of the most important spy rings in revolution-era America. The show tells a fictionalized version of the real story of the Culper Ring, a group of spies reporting to George Washington whose work was instrumental in turning the war in favour of the Americans. As the spies work to gather intelligence and outwit the “redcoats,” they also face personal conflicts and betrayals among themselves. It’s a great option for “Outlander” fans in search of another historical drama full of battles, intrigues, romance, and twists.
Shows Like "Outlander": "Vikings"
For a similar vibe to “Outlander,” just minus the time travel and set several centuries earlier, “Vikings” is the way to go. The show spans multiple generations of Viking warriors and leaders but starts out with a twist on the Norse legendary hero Ragnar Lothbrok. Starting out as a poor farmer, Ragnar rises as a notable warrior and eventually becomes a king and the father of future heroes. The show eventually dives deeper into the many factions around Europe at the time, much like all the political and factional challenges that “Outlander” occasionally dips into. It’s not just politics, though – there’s plenty of emotional character drama too.