Unmissable historical thrillers

When we turn the pages of our history, what stands out are conflicts, alliances, betrayals, atrocities, battles, conspiracies, kidnappings, assassinations, kingdoms, etc. And as we go, the curiosity to savor even the smallest element of such a controversial story only increases. This curiosity has been recognized by creators for some time now and has spawned a range of impeccably made historical thrillers.

While some of them have become the talk of the town (talking about the world, literally), some of them have remained underrated. Here’s a list of some must-watch historical thriller series that will keep you on the edge of the seats from start to finish:

The Spanish Princess

Directed by: Birgitte Stærmose, Daina Reid, Lisa Clarke, Stephen Woolfenden, Chanya Button

Starring: Sai Bennett, Alicia Borrachero, Andrew Buchan, Laura Carmichael, Daniel Cerqueira, Aaron Cobham, Elliot Cowan

Where to watch: Starz

The series follows Catherine of Aragon, daughter of the Spanish sovereigns Isabella and Ferdinand, betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, heir apparent to Henry VII of England. Catherine has a diverse court with people not very familiar with English customs, traditions, and ways of life. While Catherine and her people are doing their best to adapt to the societal paradigm, Prince Arthur suddenly dies. Catherine’s pursuit to bring peace between Spain and England seemed to hit a snag until her eyes landed on Arthur’s younger brother, the arrogant Henry, Duke of York.

Resurrection: Ertugrul

Directed by: Metin Gunay

With: Engin Altan Düzyatan, Kaan Taşaner, Hülya Darcan, Esra Bilgiç, Cengiz Coşkun, Nurettin Sönmez, Hande Soral

Where to watch: Netflix

Resurrection: Ertugrul is a Turkish historical fiction known as the Turkish Game of Thrones. Ertrugrul was a 13th-century Muslim nomadic warrior from Central Asia. Ertugrul led the rebellion against the Mongols, Crusaders and Byzantines several times who settled around their lands and inflicted atrocities on the Turkic tribes. The Ertrugrul and his men fought for a homeland, which was established by Ertrugrul’s son, Osman, as the later Ottoman Empire. It is said that Ertugrul was an embodiment of justice, kindness, truth and forgiveness, but when it came to saving his people from oppressors, he and his handful of men were enough to uproot armies whole.

Marco Polo

Directed by: Alik Sakharov, Daniel Minahan, David Petrarca, John Maybury, Jon Amie, etc.

With: Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen, Rick Yune, Amr Waked, Remy Hii

Where to watch: Netflix

Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant, explorer and writer who traveled through Asia along the Silk Road between 1271 and 1295. He spent much time in China during the reign of Kublai Khan of the Mongol Empire . Although he is not the first European to visit China, Marco Polo is the first to leave a detailed chronicle of his experience. His writings gave Europeans a very clear insight into the workings of the eastern world, geography, trade, passages, culture, flora, fauna, etc.

The television series, Marco Polo, follows his early years in the court of Kublai Khan, the Khagan of the Mongol Empire and the founder of the Yuan dynasty.

Gunpowder

Directed by: J Blakeson

Starring: Kit Harington, Peter Mullan, Mark Gatiss, Liv Tyler

Where to watch: HBO MAX

Kit Harington starring Gunpowder is a British historical drama, based on the Gunpowder Conspiracy in London. the Gunpowder The plot was an assassination attempt on King James I during the opening of Parliament in November 1605. At that time, the English faith was divided into two parts, Catholics and Protestants. Jacques I was a Protestant. When he began his reign as king, it was expected that there would be more religious tolerance during his reign than his predecessor, Elizabeth I, who initially felt fine. However, in a speech to Parliament in 1604, James I declared that he “hated” the Catholic faith. And after the speech, the atrocities against Catholics began in full force.

Robert Catesby (Kit Harrington) and other Catholic conspirators have joined forces and plotted an assassination to bring down the Protestant government.

Barbarians

Directed by: Barbara Eder, Stephen St. Leger

With: Laurence Rupp, Jeanne Goursaud and David Schütter, Bernhard Schütz, Nicki von Tempelhoff, Gaetano Aronica, Ronald Zehrfeld

Where to watch: Netflix

Set in AD 9, the story revolves around the occupation of Germania by the Roman Empire and their conflict with the Germanic tribes for independence. Throughout their twenty years of occupation, the Germanic tribes suffered all manner of atrocities from the Romans. They were demanded an insane amount of taxes and tributes and any retaliation ended in horrific violence from the Romans.

Arminius is a member of the Germanic Cherusci tribe which was given by his father Segimer to the Romans in order to secure peace between his tribe and Rome. After a long time, Arminius returned to Germania to help his adoptive father, Publius Quinctilius Varus, maintain order in the region. However, when Arminius saw the atrocities inflicted by the Romans, he took control of the Cherusci tribe and started a rebellion for independence. Although the events are historically inaccurate and rather fictional, the overall story is not to be missed.

Edward K. Thompson