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The American Downton Abbey (Well, Sort Of) Has Arrived In First Trailer For HBO's The Gilded Age

For years now, Downton Abbey writer/creator Julian Fellowes has been hard at work trying to get his next series off the ground. Having become somewhat infamous over recent years for its extended development process, The Gilded Age has taken quite a journey from its origins to its existence. Yet here we are, with the first trailer for HBO’s brand new original series, which sort of promises to be the American Downton Abbey, complete with Christine Baranski.  

Waiting is something that fans of Fellowes’ creations can certainly attest to being familiar with. Which makes the recently released trailer from HBO a cause for celebration, as we have our first looks at The Leftovers fave Carrie Coon, And Just Like That cast-member Cynthia Nixon, and the rest of the all-star cast that make up this latest society drama ensemble. Don’t go in just expecting another Downton Abbey clone, though, as we’ve already seen enough to realize that The Gilded Age isn’t merely replaying the hits from across the pond.

As noted in the series’ title, this American affair is going to be set a bit earlier in world history than Julian Fellowes’ ITV hit drama. The way the board is set this time around, it looks like Christine Baranski’s Agnes van Rhijn and Cynthia Nixon’s Ada Brook are the potential successors to the legacy of snark that Dame Maggie Smith’s "mysterious" Violet Crawley established. Through the journey of Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), the niece of these two well-placed aunts, the rules of polite company and the potential courtships in such circles will be taught to us once more. 

To borrow an analogy from Downton Abbey, it’s as if we’re seeing Thomas Branson going home to some rich family members, and learning the ropes. Which, despite a different historical background and the New York setting, sounds rather cozy enough for fans to latch onto. Surely, the opulence in The Gilded Age also invokes familiarity with its cast. The Plot Against America’s Morgan Spector co-stars opposite actor Nathan Lane, fresh off of a role in Hulu’s Only Murders in the Building, and they'll both share the screen with Tony Award-winning superstar of stage and screen/The Good Fight co-star Audra McDonald.

Believe it or not, that’s barely scratching the surface of this new series’ roster, which makes the surprise announcement of the show’s January 2022 release even more unexpected. Just last year, Fellowes was teasing that in order for Downton Abbey: A New Era to happen, he had to finish writing this very series’ scripts. Doubly delivering to his fanbase with a trailer for both of those projects, the sales of tea, brandy, and monocles may see a spike in the months to come. 

Prepare your finest evening wear, as HBO’s The Gilded Age starts streaming, only on HBO Max, as of January 24th. Which means that for those of you awaiting Downton Abbey: A New Era’s March 18th release into theaters, you’ll have something to tide you over real soon. For all other TV premiere dates, the 2021 fall TV schedule has what you need to make sure you’re clear for this beautiful looking project in the new year.

Mike Reyes

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.