Downton Abbey is one of my favourite shows of all time. The costumes, the lavish sets, the family drama, it was truly a show that had it all!
While we are getting a new Downton Abbey movie this year, I know, like me, there are fans out there HUNGRY for more Downton-esque content.
Here are 8 reasons why new show The Gilded Age (streaming on Paramount+ in Australia) is THE next show you should be watching!
1. It’s created by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows
The first, and most obvious reason, is that the shows are both created by the same showrunner. In fact one might describe The Gilded Age as ‘Downton Abbey… but make it American’.
However the show is so much more… (see below)
Plus it’s set earlier than Downton, so can we anticipate a crossover event? Perhaps a young Cora will pop up sometime in the season???
2. It’s set in 1880’s New York
Downton Abbey begins in 1912 and explores a family through WW1 and beyond. The Gilded Age explores an earlier time, and an entirely different world in 1880’s New York. This was a booming time for industry, with the burgeoning power of America in the late 19th century, and a fascinating time for social dynamics with the clash of old money and new.
3. The ‘upstairs/downstairs’ dynamic
One of the things I loved the most about Downton was the portrayal of life equally below stairs as life above stairs. We haven’t met many of the below stairs cast yet, but I can’t wait to delve more into each of their characters and watch their stories evolve.
4. Christine Baranski! (and Miranda)
The series stars Christine Baranski. Also Miranda from Sex and the City. Enough said.
5. It’s more diverse!
Unlike Downton Abbey, which in its earlier seasons pretty much had an entirely white cast, The Gilded Age has taken a different track. Set just 15 years after the end of the Civil War the show is definitely exploring the racial dynamics of New York at this time, and much of the first episode follows the introduction of a Black character, contrasting her reception in New York to a white woman’s.
I’m very intrigued to see how the show continues to explore this, and hope they introduce more diverse characters along the way in a nuanced and thoughtful manner!
6. The DRAMA
Episode 1 introduces us to two households living on either side of a New York street in the Upper East Side. One one side are Agnes van Rhijn and her spinster sister Ada Brook, whose family tree extends back to the beginnings of New York – they are ‘Old Money’. On the other side are wealthy newcomers the Russells – determined to use their money and position to break into a polite society that resists change at every turn.
Old money vs New money. The stage is set for DRAMA.
7. Fashion. Fashion. Fashion.
19th century LEWKS. The fashion is GLORIOUS.
8. and a little bit of… romance?
It wouldn’t be a Julian Fellows show without a touch of romance! No spoilers, but even in episode one the *sparks* are flying…
Watch The Gilded Age on Paramount+