Some of the most wildly inaccurate historical dramas on TV and the misconceptions they bring. 

Making a historical television series is not easy.  You must take a historical event or time period and make it seem relevant and modern for today’s audience. So it’s no surprise that many of the historical pieces we see today may not necessarily be 100% historically accurate, with producers and directors making small changes to fit in with how we see the world today. Read on below to find out some of the most historically inaccurate historical tv shows and the misconceptions we have of that period because of them.

Highlander: The Series

While this series is technically science fantasy and depicts immortals in an eternal war to be the most powerful, many of the episodes are actually based on historical events that occurred in real life. However, the creators of this show may have blundered when it comes to the accuracy of these historical scenes. For example, the battle of Waterloo which is depicted in the series as happening on a snowy landscape actually occurred in the middle of summer. This mishap occurred because it was snowing on the day that the filming was booked it would have been far too expensive to reschedule. Another more serious blunder is the depiction of the Scottish clan leaders as living in small dingy huts with many other people. This is factually inaccurate as Scottish clan leaders actually lived in massive castles, and many of them continue to do so even today.

Some of the most wildly inaccurate historical dramas on TV and the misconceptions they bring.

The Borgias

The Borgias is a great show about a family from Spain who were outcasts and eventually tried to overtake Italy. While it is incredibly entertaining, it is full of historical accuracies, the biggest being the depiction of a real-life revolutionary and scholar Niccolò Machiavelli as an advisor to the Medici family when in reality he was one of their biggest critics and rivals. In fact, his works were some of the most critical of the family at that time and he was eventually imprisoned and tortured by them because of this.


Niccolò Machiavelli seems to be misrepresented in many other shows as well. In fact, he appears in Leonardo, a show depicting the life of legendary Renaissance artist and scholar Leonardo da Vinci. In this show, Machiavelli is depicted as being best friends with a teenage da Vinci. The problem with this is that this part of the show is set in 1467 and means that Macheveilli would not have been born for another 2 years


Outlander is another science fiction series that involves real-life history. In this show, a World War 2 nurse is sent back in time to 1743 in Scotland where she and a Highland warrior battle against witchcraft accusations and the Jacobite risings. Part of the show involves a plotline where the nurse and her Highland companion are prosecuted for being involved in witchcraft. This plotline is incredibly inaccurate as parliament had enacted the witchcraft act in 1735, 8 years earlier. Under the witchcraft act, witchcraft was no longer a crime and, in fact, anyone who accused someone of witchcraft would be prosecuted themselves because accusing someone of witchcraft was now a crime.

Some of the most wildly inaccurate historical dramas on TV and the misconceptions they bring.

The Tudors

The Tudors is a romantic historical series that focuses on the romantic adventures of King Henry VIII. While this show makes for great romantic viewing it is historically inaccurate in that it shows Henry VIII marrying the young Anne Boleyn while he was still young and in his 20s. However, in reality, he only married her when he was in his early forties. Also, Henry is depicted as slender and handsome when historical portraits show that he was anything but that. In fact, Henry was known to be grotesquely overweight and unpleasant to look at. 

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