Watch: Teaser Drops for New Show from 'Downton Abbey' Creator

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday November 19, 2021

Are you ready to revisit a time of great prosperity for a few, widespread poverty for most other people, and the glamor of a bygone era with its period clothes, elegant settings, and opulent appurtenances?

We're not talking about reruns of "Downton Abbey," or even the second "Downton" movie, titled "A New Era," which is slated to hit screens next March.

But this is close: "Downton Abbey" creator, Julian Fellowes, is behind a new show that sees him turning his creative attention to the other side of the Atlantic. Titled "The Gilded Age," the new series is set among the upper crust of 1880s New York City. The series debuts in January, but fans of Fellowes' work can get a glimpse of past glories to come, thanks to a teaser that dropped November 18.

In an amusing twist, Cynthia Nixon — star of another NYC fantasia that gazed raptly at privileged people — is one of the stars of "The Gilded Age," Entertainment Weekly said in a first-look exclusive.

"The Gilded Age" was originally developed by NBC, but it was then acquired by HBO, EW added, going on to detail that Nixon plays a wealthy, never-married woman named Ada Brook. Christine Baranski plays Ada's widowed sister, Agnes. The series also features a host of other stars, including Jeanne Tripplehorn, Morgan Spector, Taissa Farmiga, and Audra McDonald.

Ada and her widowed sister "take in their penniless niece Marian (Meryl Streep's daughter Louisa Jacobson), who arrives just in time to meet the fabulously wealthy new neighbors (Carrie Coon and Morgan Bertha and George Russell), whose spare-no-expense attempts to break into society are met with disdain," EW details.

Fellowes gave EW a mini-history lesson about the "Gilded Age," noting that it was the result of post-civil war fortunes made possible by the advent of nation-spanning railways.

"It's not the golden age, it's the gilded age," Fellowes pointed out. "And that tells us it was all about the surface. It was all about the look of things, making the right appearance, creating the right image."

Old money and the nouveau riche interacted something more or less like oil and water, Fellowes indicated, which will presumably provide the series with some of its dramatic energy.

"While it was a period of expansive wealth and great opulence for a small segment of Americans, it was also a time when social inequities were glaring," Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, a co-executive producer for the show, told EW, adding that modern audiences would "be able to connect the past to the present" through the show.

Watch the new teaser below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.