Should I Watch It? Julian Fellowes' American answer to Downton Abbey.

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The Gilded Age is the perfect TV escapism.

All thanks to the fact that it draws you into a perfectly crafted world, one that looks on the surface to be about the wealthy socialities of New York City in the 1880s, but is also a story of family and intrigue that touches on everything from classism to racism in a story that still feels fresh and relevant.

Season two of The Gilded Age has premiered on Paramount+, but should you watch it?

Here's everything you need to know. 

What is The Gilded Age about?

The Gilded Age premiered in 2022 and was immediately met with critical acclaim. The historical drama series was created and written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes, who wrote the screenplays for movies such as Gosford Park and Vanity Fair and who is also the creator, writer, and executive producer of the beloved award-winning series Downton Abbey.

So with The Gilded Age, we always knew we were going to be in the hands of an expert storyteller.

The Gilded Age is set against the lush backdrop of New York City in 1882 and began with a young woman named Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson), who fled Pennsylvania after her father’s death left her with no money, to live with her estranged aunts Ada Forte (Cynthia Nixon) and Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) in the bright lights of the Big Apple. 

Along the way, her story merged with a young ambitious African-American woman named Peggy Scott (Denée Benton) an aspiring writer who soon found work as Agnes' secretary, all while being estranged from her family and her father.


Also in the story mix were Bertha Russell (Carrie Coon) and George Russell (Morgan Spector) a couple dubbed as "new money" thanks to their recent influx of wealth and who attempted to infiltrate high society, a task they found difficult after all their new neighbours turned their backs on them.  

Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector in The Gilded Age. Image: Paramount+. 


The Gilded Age's season one finale was a sea of delightful drama and plot twists that left audiences hungry to see where these stories would go in season two. 

In the finale, Marion was jilted by a man who chose to marry for money instead of being with her, and the story behind why Peggy was estranged from her father finally came to light. A reveal that saw her leaving for Philadelphia in search of a lost family member. All while George and Bertha continued to entice the rulers of the old-money class to attend their ball.

Season two began with even more drama and intrigue for the residents of the Upper East Side in Manhattan during the 1880s. Peggy found out the truth about a family secret in Philadelphia, Marian faced her ex-fiancee and a new character arrived on the scene, Dashiell Montgomery (David Furr), who is Agnes' nephew by marriage.

Watch: the official trailer for The Gilded Age season 2 here. Post continues after video.

Come for the…

The incredible cast and the rich, layered stories that they tell within this prestigious, unmissable series.

The Gilded Age boasts one of the best and most critically acclaimed casts on TV, and pays particular attention to telling complex female characters' stories through actresses who work we have been enjoying on screen for decades.


Emmy-Award winner Cynthia Nixon, known for her role as Miranda Hobbs in Sex and the City and its continuing story And Just Like That..., flexes her acting muscles in a different way with her role as Ada. Though initially written off as just a spinster, the character proves to be much cleverer than anyone gave her credit for.

In the same vein, actress Christine Baranski is in her element while playing Agnes. Known for movies such as Mamma Mia! and as the leading lady in the critically acclaimed series The Good Fight, Baranski steals the show in The Gilded Age as the stubborn yet compelling matriarch of the Rhijn-Brook family.

Christine Baranski in The Gilded Age. Image: Paramount+.


Actress Louisa Jacobson may have initially been known as just "Meryl Streep's daughter", but with the role of Marian, she forges her own path as a performer, while Tony Award nominee Denée Benton perfectly portrays aspiring writer Peggy.

Stay for the…

Sumptuous historical sets, costumes, and makeup looks. 

Thanks to its 1880s New York setting, the costume and make-up looks in The Gilded Age are an essential part of the show's well-crafted storytelling.

Season one of the series won the Primetime Creative Emmy for Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Period or Fantasy Program, acknowledging the craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into creating the visual presence of the show on-screen. 

The styling of this show is particularly significant due to the fact that each look contains a secret message for the audience, quietly signaling each character’s societal status within this gilded world. 

The Gilded Age is both a master class in plot and storytelling while also being a visual feast for the eyes on screen.

Image: Paramount+. 


So, should you watch it?

Absolutely. If you are new to the series then you will be swept away with the characters and this beautifully built world in season one. If you are diving into season two, you'll be hooked on where this must-watch series is taking us next.

All episodes of The Gilded Age season 2 are now streaming exclusively on Paramount+.

Feature Image: Paramount+. 

The Gilded Age Season 2 is now streaming, only on Paramount+
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