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The Gilded Age Season 1 DVD Review

‘Downton Abbey’ 2.0

The debut season of the 9 episode HBO series ‘The Gilded Age’ marks the return of ‘Downton Abbey’ creator Julian Fellowes. This series, however, is set in 1882 New York. It’s another ensemble drama that focuses on Marian Brook (a broke young woman who lost her father) who moves in with her aunts (Agnes and Ada) and their new wealthy neighbors across the street George and Bertha Russell. George is a successful businessman and Bertha is dedicated to becoming a part of high society. The couple have 2 children Gladys and Larry. Throughout the season, there are plots about  A lawyer (Tom) who has a romantic interest in Marian, George’s business ventures, Oscar’s love life, Peggy’s writing pursuits, charity events, servants, Bertha’s determination to be a part of high society (even though her husband is a rich and powerful businessman), a train accident, balls/parties (naturally), the introduction of electric power, George on trial, Peggy’s past, and a socialite named Mrs. Astor.

To say Julian Fellowes is obsessed with the past is an understatement. The famed TV series creator has once again created a period piece costume drama about class, families, reputation, and high society. There’s certainly a lot of similarities between the two series although this one does boast a different setting and story along with explorations of themes about dreams, progress, the past and the present, and change (don’t take a drink every time the word change is said or you will end up in the hospital). If you’re a Downton fan seeking to fill the void of that show’s absence, it’s safe to say you will likely find yourself getting lost in the world of ‘The Gilded Age’ (and its lavish sets and production values). It’s the type of addicting TV series that will be a comfort to many viewers who want to get swept up in soap opera style stories about the lifestyles of the rich and famous and the glamorous and distinguished past.

The cast is comprised of Carrie Coon, Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Taissa Farmiga, Morgan Spector, Nathan Lane and Louisa Jacobson. Aside from the miscast and bland Louisa Jacobson, the cast is loaded with talent. Christine Baranski (Agnes) and Carrie Coon (Bertha) are far and away the 2 MVPs here as they not only have the best characters to work with, but their performances are always worth watching. They elevate every line and scene. There’s a reason they’re both award winning actors after all.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Widescreen. How does it look? It’s strange as to why this didn’t receive a Blu-ray release given the legions of Fellowes fans out there, but alas, there is only a DVD release for now. The picture quality is pretty standard for a DVD but this is the type of series that should be seen in hi-def.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? Expect a quality 5.1 track.

Extras:
* ‘Inside The Episode’ segments for all 9 episodes. These segments contain episode clips, interviews, and discussions about plot and characters.
* ‘Invitation To Set’- A very brief featurette that provides and overview of the show while showcasing sets and production design.
* separate interviews with cast members about their characters. Cast interviews include: Cynthia Nixon, Harry Richardson, Blake Ritson, Thomas Cocquerel
* The self-explanatory ‘The Russell House Set Tour Featuring Carrie Coon.’
* ‘The Gilded Age: The Black Elite Of New York” featurette. 

August 15, 2022 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , , , , ,

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