5 Reasons to Watch The Gilded Age, Especially If You Miss Downton Abbey
Got period drama shortage? There's your salvation.
HBO recently released the second season of its costume drama The Gilded Age, in which wealthy ladies played by Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski try to teach their young niece the rules of behavior in 19th-century American society.
The showrunner of the series is Julian Fellowes, whose Downton Abbey has long been a cult show. Here are a few reasons why The Gilded Age is worth a watch if you haven't already tuned in.
1. The Show Is Made By Downton Abbey Creators
Producer and screenwriter Julian Fellowes is a modern classic of the costume drama. He wrote the screenplays for the film adaptation of William Thackeray's Vanity Fair, The Young Victoria and the legendary TV series Downton Abbey.
The show, about the English aristocratic family of the Crawleys, won three Golden Globes, fifteen awards and a total of sixty-nine Emmy nominations. The series ended in 2015.
Since 2012, Fellowes has dreamed of filming another show inspired by a different time and place – New York in the 1880s. The new show has been described as a prequel to Downton Abbey, although there is no direct connection between the two shows. Downton Abbey director Michael Engler is also involved.
2. New York Atmosphere and Magnificent Costumes
In 2011, the Downton Abbey crew won awards for best costumes, and in subsequent years, a nomination for best hairstyles. The same level of attention to detail was applied by the showrunner when choosing The Gilded Age's costume designers and artists.
It's easy to believe that Americans were throwing money left and right in that era: the large budget and careful design are visible in the interiors, the costumes, and the luxurious crowd scenes.
The costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone tried to be true to the period, only made small changes in the design of suits and dresses to make them a little more modern.
3. The Gilded Age Is a Turning Point in History
Fellowes dreamed of setting the show in the Gilded Age for a reason: it's a really interesting historical period. Unlike the prim society of Downton Abbey, the Gilded Age has a different mood.
The authors did not forget about social problems like racism, sexism and class inequality. But it is also a time of pointless luxury, crazy spending and a very active social life.
4. Lighthearted and Exciting Story
Fellowes skillfully assembles the script around a large cast of characters. At the same time, they all get enough screen time and at least a little story. And for all the lightness and leisurely pace of the story, there are several plot twists that will keep the viewer hooked.
There are several young debutantes trying to make their way among the cunning and rather cruel gentlemen. And there are a few dark horses to root for when watching the rich suffer becomes too boring.
5. A Wide Variety of Characters and Actors
In The Gilded Age, characters of different genders and colors are introduced for a reason – their identities are directly related to the plot.
For example, Peggy is talented enough to realize her dream of becoming a writer: when she sends stories to newspapers, the editors love them. And when they see the color of her skin, they change their mind: in the 1880s, no one was ready for such a breakthrough.
The authors introduced the initially shy Gladys, contrasted with the lively Marian and her aunts. And Cynthia Nixon, who plays Ada Brook, seems to bring a bit of feminism from And Just Like That with her.