15 TV Series Based On True Events You Can Stream Right Now


Fortunately, shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and The Walking Dead are completely fictional. But the concept that your favorite TV series are based on true stories can be enlightening, educational, or sometimes horrifying. Many elements are at play when portraying true events, from doing the involved parties justice as well as finding the balance between maintaining accuracy and providing entertainment. Luckily, these 15 TV series based on true stories give us storylines to quench our thirst for the details of the lives of the indicted, the royal, and the underrepresented.

With cold weather ahead, extra time inside hibernating means you might find yourself ready to mass marathon TV shows. Keep scrolling to see a round-up of some of the best series based on true stories that debuted in past and recent years, ranging from crime stories to period dramas.

by Tori Zhou

'The Crown'

The Emmy-nominated series The Crown has been giving audiences a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II's life for three seasons and counting. Each season covers a different period influenced by personal and political events, from marriage to tumultuous international affairs. Season 3 premiered in November 2019, complete with a new cast, while Season 4 is currently being filmed.

Stream on Netflix.

'The People v. OJ Simpson'

One of the most widely-discussed cases of the century, of which its cultural and media effects are still being felt, O.J. Simpson's murder case was the basis of American Crime Story's first season. Starring Cuba Gooding Jr., the season opens with the murder scene of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and ends with the aftermath of Simpson's polarizing trial.

Stream on Netflix.

'The Assassination of Gianni Versace'

Following The People vs. OJ Simpson, the second season of American Crime Story centers around the 1997 murder of designer Gianni Versace. The season commences with Versace's murder and then takes the audience through the events of the seven years prior to his death.

Stream on Netflix.


The miniseries Chernobyl only had five episodes, but its impact was deafening with its 71st Emmy Awards success with 10 wins out of 19 noms. The show's depiction of the Soviet Union's 1986 nuclear plant explosion was met with critical acclaim, with critics calling the show "horrifyingly accurate." Despite being considered the worst nuclear accident in history, the Soviet Union gave out very little information on the catastrophe. However, the show works to unveil the details that weren't reported in the media. Despite the many accolades, writer Craig Mazin has confirmed that there will not be a second season.

Stream on HBO.


As gripping as it is relevant, Unbelievable is based on the 2015 report "An Unbelievable Story of Rape," which went on to win the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. Written by journalists Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong, the piece tells the story of Marie and the connection to a 2011 case of two Colorado detectives. In the TV adaptation, the miniseries focuses on the legal and social implications of those who sought to discredit her [Marie] and others with similar cases.

Stream on Netflix.

'When They See Us'

When They See Us won two Emmys out of 16 noms in 2019 and quickly became the most-watched series on Netflix as of Jun. 2019 since its premiere. Viewers can easily see why. Depicting the story of five teens who were threatened into confessing to a sexual assault crime they didn't commit in 1989, the series addresses the flaws in the U.S. justice system and the over-policing of racial minorities.

Stream on Netflix.

'Fosse / Verdon'

The eight-part miniseries depicts the tumultuous professional and romantic relationship between dancer and director Bob Fosse and Broadway dancer Gwen Verdon. In 2019, the show won four Emmys out of 17 nominations.

Stream on Hulu.

'Band of Brothers'

The war drama miniseries is based on Stephen E. Ambrose's non-fiction book Band of Brothers as well as interviews Ambrose conducted with war veterans. The plot follows the mental and physical experiences of the soldiers of the Easy Company of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division during World War II.

Stream on Hulu.

'Downton Abbey'

The six-season series gives viewers a look into 12 years of the lives of the Crawley family and their servants in the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic, WWI, and the Irish War of Independence, among other defining historical events of the early 20th century. The show's events and occurrences have frequently been debated for their credibility, and several historians have agreed that the show's power dynamics and social norms were likely altered for TV.

Stream on PBS.

'Call the Midwife'

Based on the memoir written by Jennifer Worth, the series gives audiences a look into the work of midwife Jenny Lee in London. In a trilogy of books, author Worth recounts her time working as a midwife and a nurse in several hospitals, with many figures from Worth's memories having become characters in the show.

Stream on PBS.

'Fresh Off the Boat'

Based on the memoir of chef Eddie Huang, and his struggles growing up as an Asian-American, Fresh Off the Boat follows the life of a Taiwanese-American family of six. After moving to a city where they are the minority, the family comes into their own as they balance Western and Eastern values and traditions while running a restaurant. In November 2019, it was announced that the sixth season would be the last.

Stream on ABC.

'Unsolved: The Murders Of Tupac And The Notorious B.I.G.'

The 10-episode true crime series delves into the murders of Tupac and Biggie, and the separate investigations of former LAPD Detectives Greg Kading and Russell Poole.

Stream on Amazon Prime Video.


Known as Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, GLOW is a loose recreation of the first all-female wrestling show that aired in the '80s and '90s, complete with themes of social unrest and challenging the glass ceiling. The show has been renewed for a fourth and final season.

Stream on Netflix.

'Peaky Blinders'

Loosely based on a Birmingham street gang of the same name as the show, the series follows the ambitions of English gang members in the wake of economic crises and the Great War. The fifth season finished airing in September 2019 with a sixth season confirmed.

Stream on Netflix.

'Orange Is The New Black'

Your favorite prison drama began with the uprooting of Piper Chapman into a women's prison. The inspiration behind the protagonist is Piper Kerman, who wrote the memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison to depict her 13 months behind bars. The seventh and final season of the show aired in the summer of 2019.

Stream on Netflix.