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Unless you've been hiding in a very secure cave for the past several months, you will probably know that TV dramas with a main focus on romance are becoming more and more popular. While anyone who's ever enjoyed shows such as Grey's Anatomy, or even procedurals like Law & Order: SVU, will know that the romantic lives of characters have always been a favorite aspect to be explored, we're getting way more shows that fully lean into the romance as their raison d'être. And now, thanks in large part to hit shows like Outlander, Bridgerton and Virgin River, romantic TV dramas are starting to come out of the HEA (that's Happily Ever After) woodwork.
We have for you now a list of romantic TV dramas, both new and returning, for you to sink your will-they-won't-they (They absolutely will!) teeth into. Keep your eyes on this piece, because we'll be adding to it as new seasons and television shows are announced. Now, let's get to the good stuff!
A Discovery of Witches (Season 2) - June 27, 2021
OK, I'm cheating just a teensy bit here, but still feel that it's important note A Discovery of Witches. The fantasy series, which is based on the All Souls Trilogy by author Deborah Harkness and focuses on witch Diana (Teresa Palmer) discovering her true powers as she and a vampire, Matthew (Matthew Goode), who's helping her evade a number of evil creatures fall in love, actually returned for Season 2 in January of 2021. But, that showing of the time-hopping drama was only available to subscribers of either Sundance Now or Shudder. Fortunately, in early May 2021, AMC announced that the show would also run on that network, beginning with back to back airings of the first two episodes on Sunday, June 27 at 7 p.m. EST. Subsequent episodes will then continue on the channel, Sundays at 8 p.m. EST.
Virgin River (Season 3) - July 9, 2021
My goodness! This is a shock, right guys? After having a breakout Season 1 and 2 which premiered on Netflix in early December and late November (respectively), small town drama Virgin River is now headed back our way in July. Fans will know that any time is a good time to catch up on all of the new and rekindled romances within, though, with this show based on Robyn Carr's 19-book novel series focusing on Jack (Martin Henderson), Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge), and many of the other denizens of the remote California town as they fall into and out of love, and try to avoid getting on the wrong side of a certain local drug kingpin. Season 2 ended with a whopper of a shocking cliffhanger which left a lot of questions to be answered, so fans will likely be quite eager to see what Season 3 has in store when it hits Netflix on July 9.
Bridgerton (Season 2) - Late 2021 / Early 2022
Bridgerton is far from the first show to feature a love story as its main focus, but it has certainly set pop culture ablaze unlike any other recent series. While Season 1 found its hit-making status by following along with the first novel in Julia Quinn's series of romances and letting us watch along as Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset, The Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), went from enemies to friends to lovers, Season 2 is on track to cover the romance of Daphne's big bro, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), as he and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) get some pants feelings for one another in short order. Unfortunately, it could be a year or more until we actually have Bridgerton Season 2 on screen to enjoy. No official debut is set just yet, but with them beginning to film in spring 2021, it will likely be late 2021 at the earliest that we can watch it all unfold.
Outlander (Season 6) - Early 2022
One could easily claim that this Starz hit is the show which began the current day obsession with romantic television dramas, as Outlander will be heading into Season 6 when it finally returns. This time-traveling romance is based on Diana Gabaldon's long-running series, and sees 1940s nurse Claire (Caitriona Balfe) being accidentally transported to 1700s Scotland and soon falling for Jamie (Sam Heughan), and him doing everything in his power to protect her as they marry, have children and endure a variety of beyond difficult times. Outlander ran with intense action and nudity-filled romantic sexytimes so that Bridgerton could... also run, but in a slightly different direction, OK? Filming on Season 6 (which will have fewer episodes than usual) began in early February 2021, so it won't be expected to premiere until early 2022.
Sweet Magnolias (Season 2) - 2022
What a pleasant surprise Sweet Magnolias was when it hit Netflix in May 2020. Set in fictional Serenity, South Carolina, this small town romance (which is also based on a long-running series of books, this time by author Sherryl Woods) focuses on the lives of best friends Helen (Heather Headley), Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott), and Maddie (JoAnna Garcia Swisher), as they begin a new business together and deal with an intriguing assortment of family and personal issues, including hot but dastardly ex-husbands, shady estranged husbands, town mysteries, and a lot of truly appealing potential mates. Sweet Magnolias Season 2 has also finally started filming as of late spring 2021, but it will be a while until we're able to binge it all, with sometime in 2022 being the release. This is another romantic drama that wrapped with a shocking cliffhanger, so all eyes will be eager to see how our beloved trio moves forward after the events of the Season 1 finale.
Miss Scarlet and The Duke (Season 2) - 2022
OK, this one is also a tiny bit of a cheat, but I'm including the divine 1880s-set, Victorian London detective series Miss Scarlet and The Duke for all of you romance fans who also like a cozy mystery and some good, old-fashioned longing. The show follows Eliza Scarlet (Kate Phillips), who takes over her dead father's detective business despite being a woman in the 1880s who's expected to marry and spend her life raising children. As she investigates cases, she crosses paths with William "The Duke" Wellington (Stuart Martin), a police inspector who was a childhood friend, and does not take kindly to her inserting herself into many police investigations. As you might imagine, Miss Scarlet and The Duke have had a thing for each other for years, and every time they interact, there are loads of sparks. Season 1 did very well for PBS and Masterpiece, and Season 2 should come along at some point in 2022, though we're without a specific date yet.
Sanditon (Season 2) - 2022
Speaking of Masterpiece and all the joy it brings on PBS, how about the surprise renewal of Sanditon? Season 1 aired way back in the dawn of 2020, with it having already been cancelled by British broadcaster ITV by then. It seemed that the series was totally dead in the water, despite leaving fans without the happily ever after ending which they'd become accustomed to with other Jane Austen adaptations (as this is another, albeit of her final and unfinished manuscript), but that decision was bissfully reversed in early May 2021. Sanditon, which follows independent and high-spirited Charlotte (Rose Williams) as she leaves her family behind and tries to navigate life and love in the eponymous seaside town, isn't set to begin production until late in 2021, so it will likely be a while into 2022 before we can watch her defy expectations once more in Season 2.
When Calls The Heart (Season 9) - TBD
As Hallmark's longest running romantic drama, When Calls the Heart has retained a lot of fans while weathering cast changes, controversies, and very opinionated viewers who are not at all happy with how a certain love triangle turned out. The sweet romance, set in a small Canadian coal-mining town in 1910 and based on Janette Oke's book of the same name, sees high society Elizabeth Thatcher (Erin Krakow) learn to deal with life in the town after she's assigned to teach there. And, as one might imagine, stories about the lives and loves of Elizabeth and the townsfolk have blossomed through eight seasons so far, with Season 9 set to debut at some point in the future.
Bridgerton Spinoff (Season 1) - TBD
While it's no great shock that Netflix wants to capitalize on the massive success of Bridgerton as much as possible, even fans of the books were probably taken aback when it was announced that a limited series is in the works, which will follow younger versions of Queen Charlotte, Lady Violet Bridgerton, and Lady Danbury. The show will follow the women as they rise in their stations in life, as well as their romances, obviously, and have most of the focus on Charlotte. There are still a lot of things we don't know about this series right now, as the cast, when production might start and when it will hit Netflix are still mysteries.
As you can see, fans of romantic dramas already have a lot to look forward to in the coming months and years when it comes to new content, and there will be plenty of new episodes to binge as we head into the summer and beyond!
Be sure to bookmark this list, as we'll keep it updated when new details emerge!