How to pass the time until our favourite Brits return
Here's the good news: A Downton Abbey movie is officially a go! The bad news? The release date is set for September 13, 2019. So what's a historical drama lover to do while we wait for Carson, Lady Mary and the Dowager Duchess to get their posh selves to a screen? We've got a couple fresh-from-the-studio television shows to fill the Downton Abbey sized hole in your life.
Oh, and FYI: We're not counting shows like Victoria, Poldark, Outlander, Call The Midwife and The Durrells that are returning with new seasons, because we assume you're all over those already. And if you're not—drop everything and binge them ASAP.
Bletchley Circle: San Francisco
We loved the original two season arc of this show about real-life female code breakers in post-war Britain, so naturally, we were delighted to hear it was back...albeit on a completely different continent. Two of the original characters are still using the smarts they honed in the British spy service to solve crime, but this time they're joined by two American compatriots in the shifting social scene of California in the 1950s. It's got the warmth and strong female characters we all loved on Downton, mixed with a little dash of suspense.
Ordeal by Innocence
And speaking of all things sleuth-y: This next one is an Agatha Christie adaptation, which frankly is like catnip to a period drama lover, no? Better yet: This one star's Matthew Goode, who, as you all know, played Lady Mary's ultimate love interest on Downton. This Christie adaptation sees a philanthropist murdered in her own home—and the prime suspect is her adopted son. This one is filled with the kind of sumptuous set design Downton had, mixed with a soupcon of the murder mystery at the heart of the Anna/Bates drama.
This original series has one major thing in common with Downton: At its heart, it's about a family trying to save its ancestral home—and both are in Yorkshire, weirdly enough. In the case of HBO show, it's Shibden Hall, and rather than the late 1910's, this show begins in 1832, when Anne Lister (based on a real woman) turns to an unconventional marriage to restore her fortunes.
There's a reason this 19th-century novel keeps getting re-made and re-made and re-made: Its story of class, ambition and the role of women is evergreen. This latest production stars Olivia Cooke as Becky Sharpe, the most infamous social climber in Georgian England, and is an utterly gorgeous, totally fresh feeling mini-series of a familiar text. If you lived for the Dowager Duchess' zingy one-liners on Downton, you'll love the crackling dialogue here.
The Woman In White
Fair warning: This one's a little more frightening than your average Downton ep, but we think you'll like it nonetheless. It grapples with the kind of issues Julian Fellowes tackled in his show—like the place of women in Victorian society, for example. It begins when a young artist, on his way to a new job with a remote aristocratic family, stumbles across a woman (wearing white, naturally) on a country lane. He tries to help her, but she vanishes when a passing coach stops. It only gets weirder (and more absorbing) from there...