Jidaigeki means "period drama" - and is usually the Edo period of Japanese history, from 1603 to 1868.
Jidaigeki show the lives of the Samurai, the farmers, craftsmen, and merchants of their time. Many jidaigeki take place in Edo, the military capital. Others show the adventures of people wandering from place to place.
Among the characters in jidaigeki are a parade of people with occupations unfamiliar to modern Japanese, and especially to foreigners.
Whether the lead role is Samurai or commoner, jidaigeki usually reach a climax in an immense sword fight just before the end and the title character of a series always wins, whether using a sword or a jutte.