A Hidden TV Gem Dubbed 'Best Historical Fantasy of 2024' Just Landed on Disney+

A Hidden TV Gem Dubbed 'Best Historical Fantasy of 2024' Just Landed on Disney+
Image credit: Disney+

We all missed some good old swashbuckling stories!


  • A new project by Sally Wainwright has been released on Apple TV+.
  • It is a historical fantasy series about a highwaywoman in early 18th century England.
  • Critics and viewers who have seen the new show have been impressed.

How long has it been since you watched a quality movie or TV series set in the historical fiction genre? Perhaps it was the last season of Outlander? Or maybe you're eagerly awaiting the new season of Bridgerton?

But how often have you thought of adventure stories among all the historical fiction that, unlike Outlander, would take a more optimistic and cheerful turn, telling of chivalry, courage and great road adventures? Unfortunately, not many such movies and TV series have been released in recent years.

That's why we recommend all fans of historical stories to subscribe to Apple TV+ if you haven't already, because this streaming service offers some great historical dramas, including the recent series The Buccaneers and Masters of the Air. Today, though, we're going to talk about another show that came out not too long ago.

It's an incredibly entertaining adventure story in the vein of classic swashbucklers, but it also manages to be both self-ironic and innovative, offering a fantasy twist based on folklore tropes. The show has already received impressive reviews from critics and audiences alike, so let's find out more about this new series on Apple TV+.

What is the New Show About?

We are talking about a series developed by acclaimed British TV writer and producer Sally Wainwright, previously known for such cult series as Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack. On March 29, 2024, Apple TV+ released a new series called Renegade Nell. Set in England in 1705, it follows a young woman named Nell Jackson, played by Derry Girls star Louisa Harland. Nell is fiery, tomboyish and open to adventure.

One day she runs away from her home village with a certain Captain Jackson, who is killed on the battlefield, forcing Nell to return home. When she returns, Nell brings with her a wealth of experience, an even greater thirst for adventure, and... magical powers granted by her house spirit, Billy Blind, played by none other than Ted Lasso star Nick Mohammed.

But Nell has no intention of settling down in her hometown. When she runs afoul of the local landlord's son and is framed for his murder, she is forced to flee and become a highwaywoman with her two sisters, Roxy (Bo Bragason) and George (Florence Keen), and the dead man's groomsman, Rasselas (Enyi Okoronkwo). Along the way, they are aided by the charismatic outlaw Charles Devereaux, played by The Essex Serpent actor Frank Dillane.

At the same time, the group faces dangerous adversaries: the mysterious Earl of Poynton (Adrian Lester), a master of black magic, and his henchwoman, the dead man's sister, Lady Sofia (Alice Kremelberg), who are preparing to assassinate the Queen Anne (Jodhi May) herself.

What Are Critics and Audiences Saying about the New Show?

The new series has an 86% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 7.4 out of 10 on IMDb, which is high for a series that has undeservedly received little promotion. Many viewers were enchanted by the performance of Luisa Harland, who excelled in both her superb Irish accent and her ability to transform from a road-tripping tomboy to a well-bred aristocratic damsel and back again.

The story's combination of folk magic and interesting historical setting, spiced with appropriate humor and action scenes, make the series incredibly entertaining and unforgettable, making it a perfect representative of the swashbuckler genre.

A second season has not yet been announced, although a script is in development. All 8 episodes of Renegade Nell are available to stream on Disney+.