1. William Shakespeare (Will)
In TNT's new drama, Will, we find the famously Paul Giamatti-looking balding playwright in his early days...when he was a major hottie with tons of hair, just the right amount of stubble, and cheekbones that you could cut a steak with. Basically, William Shakespeare is Chill-iam Shake-dat-ass-peare, and he probably writes stuff like:
To be hot, or to be not: that is the question:
Whether 'tis radder to have a hot bod
And take selfies while lookin' hella fine,
Or to be portrayed as fancy George Costanza,
Lookin' hella old and dumb. To pose: to swipe right.
Check out the trailer - it actually looks pretty fun, and realistically a lot more people would want to watch hottie Shakespeare than dumpy balding Gary Oldman Shakespeare. Plus, I'll watch anything set to Foreign Beggars.
2. Henry the VIII (The Tudors)
Henry the VIII is famous for a few things - constantly murdering his wives for failing to give him male heirs, founding the Church of England so he could get a few divorces, and being enormously fat and ugly-looking (inbreeding was kiiiinda an issue back then). So what does Showtime's The Tudors do? Cast young, fit hottie Jonathan Rhys Meyers as England's portly, pube-bearded wife-beheader who spends at least 5 minutes per episode showing off his abs:
3. Seth Bullock (Deadwood)
Okay, this one makes a little more sense - having a near-unibrow guy with the biggest mustache in history might look A LITTLE CARTOONISH on television. But still, hard to argue that the stoic-but-simmering Timothy Olyphant is a lot handsomer than his Yosemite Sam-lookin' inspiration.
4. William Masters (Masters of Sex)
When you're making a show about one of recent history's most famouse fuck-scientists (that is to say, uh, "human sexual response researchers"), mayyybe you don't want to portray him too accurately, since he looked like a taller version of Cotton Hill in a bowtie. So instead, you cast British hottie Michael Sheen and call it a day.
5. Mary, Queen of Scots (Reign)
Well, Reign is on the CW - a channel aimed towards young adults and tweens, so the odds of getting a historically-accurate, pale, extremely plain main character and not some sex-ed up hottie were pretty slim. Still, DAMN - Mary Queen of Scots is now Mary Queen of Hots. There's not much else to say here, except that this has always been one of my favorite segments of a Wikipedia page:
Four years later, she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, but their union was unhappy. In February 1567, his residence was destroyed by an explosion, and Darnley was found murdered in the garden.
Marrying first cousins, EXPLOSIONS in the mid-16th century, and mysteriously murdered husbands - and that was only an extremely brief window into Mary, Queen of Scots' life.