The Return of Downton Abbey!

The highly anticipated Downton AbbeyDownton Abbey cast in front of the country estate for official film poster movie is coming to the big screen this weekend, and I am quite excited about it! I loved the show so much. I can’t wait to see what has happened to all of my favorite characters since the television finale a few years ago. To prove my adoration, I hosted a proper English tea watch party for a bunch of friends the night of the finale. It was a delightful evening!

If you’re getting ready to see the movie in the next couple of weeks, there’s no time like the present to re-watch the series, and we’ve got all of the seasons on DVD for you! Aside from the DVDs, there are plenty of books related to the show and its famous setting, as well as soundtracks from the different seasons for you to check out: Click here for Downton related fun.

If you’ve already watched all of the Downton seasons several times and are in need of something new or different, have no fear, we’ve got you covered! Here are some movies and series that I think you’ll enjoy nearly as much. Many of them are based on novels, so you might want to look for those, too, if you want to delve deeper into the stories and characters.

Upstairs, Downstairs – A precursor and possible muse for Julian Fellowes as he created Downton. This series originally aired in the early 1970’s and then revived in the 2010’s with a new cast of characters. Luckily for all of you, you can find both versions on DVD at our libraries. The original runs from 1903-1930 while the revival picks up in 1936. The series follows the aristocratic Bellamy family and their loyal and lively servants at 165 Eaton Place.  Grab a cuppa and enjoy all of the drama, trials, tribulations, and soapy fun that both of these versions have to offer!

Gosford Park – Before Downton, Julian Fellowes won an Oscar for the screenplay of this murder mystery set at the country estate of Sir William McCordle in 1932. You’ll get to be a fly on the wall as you follow the lives of the upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a hunting party one weekend while also trying to solve the murder of Sir William. This one is quite a treat. 

Cheerful Weather at the Wedding – Perfectly summed up on the DVD: “Today is Dolly Thatchum’s wedding day, and her family is arriving with all the cheerfulness, chaos and grievances that accompany such gatherings. Trouble appears in the shape of Joseph, Dolly’s former lover from the previous summer, who throws her feelings into turmoil. But Dolly’s mother will not allow her carefully laid plans for her daughter’s future to be threatened. As the clock ticks and the guests grow more and more restless, the bride-to-be must decide whether to run away with Joseph or settle into the humdrum security of married life.”

Parade’s End – This one stars Benedict Cumeberbatch, one of my all-time favorite actors! He’s always a delight on the screen. If you haven’t watched him in the new Sherlock series do yourself a favor and check those out too. This miniseries, based on a series of books by Ford Madox Ford, takes place in the years leading up to WWI. Nobleman Christopher Tietjens (Cumberbatch) follows his principles and marries Sylvia, but he can only endure so much from his manipulative wife. He soon meets Valentine, a young suffragette that he is quite taken with, but he refuses to give in to their mutual feelings. This one is fraught with drama and heartache and perfect for Downton fans that want something a bit more intense. 

Forsyte Saga – There are several versions of this story, but the 2015 version is probably the best known as it stars Damien Lewis. The series is based on the Nobel Prize-winning novels by John Galsworthy. It spans three generations of the powerful Forsyte family at the turn of the 20th century. This family is definitely edgier than the Crawley clan. There is a core of unhappiness and bitter feelings lying just beneath their glossy veneers.

Image result for durrells of corfuThe Durrells in Corfu – Based on author and naturalist Gerald Durrell’s trilogy of novels, the series follows his family’s surprising decision to leave 1930s England in hopes of a better life in the Greek town of Corfu. As they all try to adjust to their charmingly dilapidated house and a completely different culture they must deal with all sorts of new challenges, friendships, lovers, and animals.

Chaperone – This new Masterpiece show is based on the book by Laura Moriarty and is due out on DVD in November. It stars Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley from Downton) and is written by Julian Fellowes. Follow Louise Brooks, the 1920s film star, as a 15 year old from Kansas headed to fame and fortune in New York with her chaperone. While you wait for the show, give the novel a try!

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