Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Episode 1 of Season 2 of The Gilded Age.

  • Gilded Age And Downton Abbey have more in common than their shared creator Julian Fellowes, as both series explore upper-class society in a changing world.
  • Initial concept Gilded Age was a prequel about Cora before she married into the Crowley family, but over time it became a standalone story still set in 1880s New York.
  • Gilded Age differs from Downton Abbey expanding its focus beyond one household, focusing on two separate families rather than Downton Abbey’He pays special attention to Crowley.

Downton Abbey undoubtedly Julian FellowesThe most famous series, which has since inspired the writer to work on new historical dramas. The story follows the Crowley family as they navigate the turbulent historical events of the early twentieth century as modern changes threaten their lavish lifestyle. Eight years after its end, the show is still so beloved that Downton Abbey now boasts two sequels. And the story shows no signs of ending as she is rumored to return next season. But, interestingly, despite the success of the show and the continuation

competitiveness, he never received an additional series. This practice is quickly gaining popularity, with recognizable examples such as Queen Charlotte: The Bridgerton Story And House of the Dragon expanding worlds Bridgerton And Game of Thrones, respectively. More Downton Abbey strictly adhered to continuing the story in sequels rather than exploring lesser characters or a different time period.

Fellows has created other historical drama series across different eras. Dr. Thorne And Belgravia both explore the lives of England’s rich people, but neither has received the same recognition as Downton Abbey. So it’s no surprise that Fellows is trying something new with his new series. Gilded Age. The action takes place across the ocean from his previous works. Gilded Age The story takes place in New York in the 1880s, just a few decades earlier. Downton Abbey but the world is far away. Like Downton Abbey, Gilded AgeThe story follows the upper class as the younger generation challenged traditional ways of life. Although the beloved and feared Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith), would be offended by any comparison with American characters, the series are similar. There are clear differences between the shows, but they were originally more closely related. The concept began as a prequel series about Lord Grantham’s American wife, Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern). Although this idea is no longer associated with Downton Abbey, some similarities to Cora’s past remain. However, the series’ broader scope distinguishes it from Downton Abbey. Since the two shows are not related, Gilded Age doesn’t have a predetermined ending, so the division works in its favor.

Gilded Age

The wide-eyed young scion of a conservative family is sent on a mission to infiltrate a wealthy neighboring clan dominated by ruthless railroad magnate George Russell, his philandering son Larry, and his ambitious wife Bertha.

Date of issue
January 24, 2022

Throw
Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector, Louise Jacobson, Denis Benton, Taissa Farmiga, Harry Richardson, Blake Ritson, Thomas Cockerel, Simon Jones, Jack Gilpin, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Baranski, Donna Murphy, Debra Monk

Main genre
Drama

What would a Downton Abbey prequel look like?

Hugh Bonneville Downton Abbey 2
Picture using focus functions

The original idea proposed was a prequel about Cora when she was still Cora Levinson, but as the series progressed it evolved into The Gilded Age. However, the concept itself hints at what the series will be about. By focusing on the character’s childhood in America, it would have shown a divided New York society as the newly rich “robber barons” tried to buy their way into aristocratic society, as was the end result, only with familiar characters. Downton Abbey introduces several members of Cora’s family, including her determined mother Martha (Shirley MacLaine), and her freedom-loving brother Harold (Paul Giamatti), which would probably appear. The series also mentions her father Isidore, although he never appears. Isidore is described as a shrewd businessman who made his fortune in the dry goods trade. Once these characters are established, their story can be easily imagined.

Originally described as a coming-of-age story for the future countess, the plot most likely centered on her mother’s ambitious plan to achieve social legitimacy by marrying her daughter to an English lord. One of the few things that is known about Cora’s youth is her journey to England in search of a husband. Inspired by Martha’s cunning, Cora met young Robert Crowley (Hugh Bonneville), who married her for money in order to help out the bankrupt family estate. They later fall in love and Robert is ashamed of his motives for seeking fortune. It would be interesting to see a prequel about this event as it explores the relationships that played an important role in the original series. Nose Downton Abbey detailing their life together after their daughters grow up, viewers will know the ending before the show even begins.

Fortunately, this is no longer a problem. During extended development the idea changed radically to The Gilded Age. Although set in roughly the same time frame as Cora’s series, the story is very different. And yet there are similarities. Instead, focusing on the Russells and the Van Rijns, the series depicts events in New York City as “new money” families encounter a long-established society that doesn’t want them. The two leading families live across the street, and although the Van Rijn matriarch, Agnes (Christine Baranski), resists the Russells’ attempts to join society, the younger generation resists less. Proximity and age put both families in danger of uniting into Romeo and Juliet-kind of story. With the original characters the story is very different, but the influence Downton Abbey common.

‘The Gilded Age’ reflects ‘Downton Abbey’

Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski in The Gilded Age
Image via Max

Although Gilded Age separated from Downton Abbey, The influence of the original on the new show is evident with characters with goals similar to the original concept and familiar relationships seen in the series. Gilded AgeThe novel’s roots as a Cora prequel have never been more obvious than the parallels with the Russell family. Introducing New Money, George Russell (Morgan Spector) – railway magnate with an ambitious wife Bertha (Carrie Coon) and two children. The family of four is structured much like the Levinsons’, as Bertha follows Martha’s example in trying to establish her position in society through a successful marriage for her daughter Gladys (Taissa Farmiga). Although, in Downton Abbey, The plan worked for Martha, Bertha’s success is yet to be determined. However, it is unlikely that she will have to travel to England to find Gladys’ husband, as suitors are already lining up. This comparison is exacerbated by the fact that Gladys is being pursued by treasure hunter Oscar van Rijn (Blake Ritson). Although his reasons are already different from Robert’s, Oscar is interested in Gladys for the money, and his much more traditional mother is against the marriage. However, in the case of Gladys and Oscar, Bertha is against the marriage, while Martha supports Cora and Robert’s relationship. However, it is easy to see how these events evolved from the original idea.

The similarities between the two series extend beyond the Russell family, as other characters resemble Downton Abbeyfavorite cast. Most important are Agnes van Rijn and her sister Ada Brooks (Cynthia Nixon) are reminiscent of the often contentious friendship of Violet and Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton). Unlike Downton Abbey’The couple Agnes and Ada are not involved in constant competition, but they have opposing opinions that neither of them will give up. Like Violet, Agnes lives in the old way, while Ada and Isobel are open to the new. Violet and Agnes also share family loyalty and a softer side that they allow few to see. Marian Brooks (ur.Louise Jacobson) channels Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown Findlay) as she challenges the societal norms that her family wants her to follow in order to achieve her dreams. While Sybil finds purpose in politics and working as a nurse, Marian seeks it first in charities and then in teaching, but both stand up for themselves despite the disapproval of their loved ones. With such obvious inspiration drawn from Downton Abbeycharacters, it’s easy to compare the two series.

But The Gilded Age and Downton Abbey are not the same thing

Carrie Coon as Bertha Russell, Morgan Spector as George Russell and Taissa Farmiga as Gladys Russell in the second season of The Gilded Age
Image via HBO

Despite the similarities, Gilded Age And Downton Abbey have some significant differences. Gilded Age begins to take on a life of its own, expanding the story. Unlike Downton Abbey, the series focuses not on one house, but two. The Russells and Van Rijns live near each other, but have very different families. Bye Downton Abbey focuses on the Crowleys and those who live in their house, Gilded Age focuses on the intricacies of New York society and devotes less time to servants, although they are always present in houses. Deciding that one approach is better than another is a matter of taste. However, the difference proves that Gilded Age not just an American Downton Abbey.

Although there is clear inspiration from Downton Abbey, “The Gilded Age” has no direct connection to the other series, which works in its favor. The creators took what worked in the previous series and used it in their story. But without direct intersections, Gilded Age not tied to anything Downton Abbey. The series should not touch on Cora’s age timeline or any other events from another show. Without a set outcome, character stories can develop in unexpected ways. Although the prequel will bring a dedicated audience, it will bring benefits Gilded Age to have the freedom to do as he pleases. After all, George Russell’s train wreck in Season 1 gave the series a sense of urgency that Isidore Levinson’s sudden dry goods emergency might have struggled to match, especially since there’s no threat of him losing money. based on what is seen from his family decades later. Also, Downton Abbey fans know that Harold remains a bachelor, losing any secrecy about the character’s potential romances. Despite the similarities between the two series, Gilded Age And Downton Abbey different, and it’s better for both. Gilded Age remains completely free from accession to Downton Abbey, and, as Crowley’s story continues, it retains the same freedom. While these two period dramas will likely have overlapping audiences, it’s good that they represent different things.

Gilded Age airs Sunday nights on HBO and is available to stream on Max.

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