The Gilded Age is a historical drama series created by Julian Fellowes that is set in the United States during the economic and financial boom years in New York City of the 1880s.
The Gilded Age was a period of rapid industrialisation in America from 1865-1898. It was marked by the extreme wealth of a few individuals while many others lived in poverty.
This era is often associated with political corruption and the exploitation of immigrant labour.
What is The Gilded Age About?
The Gilded Age follows a young lady who enters the rigid New York social scene in 1882 and is drawn into the daily conflicts surrounding the Russell family and the established van Rhijn-Brook family.
Set in late 19th century New York, Bertha and George Russell used their newly acquired fortune to build a grand palace on Fifth Avenue, just across the street from the van Rhijns' home on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Agnes and Ada, who are proud of their connections to old New York, are determined to despise the Russells and their children, Larry, a recent college graduate, and Gladys, a rebellious teenager.
But when the van Rhijns' long-lost niece Marian arrives in town with her friend Peggy, a college-educated black woman and aspiring writer, it is clear that change is coming, both to the van Rhijn household and the circles of New York society in which they preside.
The series received mostly positive reviews, with particular praise for the costumes, cast and performances by lead actors Carrie Coon, Morgan Spector and Christine Baranski.
Shows Like The Gilded Age
If you like drama series full of emotion and historical events, have a look at the list of nine shows like The Gilded Age that we've compiled for you.
Get to know the story of the five unmarried daughters of a 19th-century English rural family from the moment a good catch moves into the neighbourhood, in Pride & Prejudice.
Follow the aristocratic Crawley family and their friends, relatives and staff as they struggle to maintain their legacy after the death of a relative who was aboard the Titanic, in Downton Abbey.
Or how about the Bridgerton family of eight siblings as they struggle to cope with the wedding market, grand balls and aristocratic palaces in the sensual, luxurious and competitive world of early 19th-century London high society, in Bridgerton.
Check out our list of The Gilded Age, and we guarantee the challenge will be which series you choose to watch first.
Please leave us your other suggestions in the comments below.
OUR LIST OF SHOWS LIKE THE GILDED AGE
Will There Be A Second Season Of The Gilded Age?
The Gilded Age premiered in January 2022 with nine episodes.
With almost immediate success, the second season was promptly confirmed in February 2022.
It is still being determined which characters will return for the second season, as many cast members are Broadway stars who may have other commitments.
However, we know that filming for season 2 began in August 2022 and although there is still no specific date for the return of the series, it is expected to premiere in 2023.
Is The Gilded Age Based On True Stories?
The Gilded Age is a fictional series. However, Julian Fellowes has worked to represent certain realities of the period accurately, and several characters in the show are clearly inspired by figures who existed in the past.
Such is the case with Mrs Astor, inspired by Caroline Schermerhorn Astor, a prominent American socialite of the second half of the 19th century who led the Four Hundred and was the wife of an influential businessman.
Likewise, Bertha and George Russell are partly based on the remarkable Alva and William K. Vanderbilt. Alva Esrkine Vanderbilt belonged to a wealthy family who lost their money after the Civil War.
Determined to regain her social status, she married a descendant of the immensely wealthy Vanderbilt family. Still, they were considered to have too much new money by Caroline Astor and were largely ignored.
Throughout the show, other historical figures emerge, including Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, and T. Thomas Fortune, a man born into slavery who would become one of the leading black journalists of his time.
Despite the many historical similarities, the main plot of The Gilded Age is entirely fictional.
When Was The Gilded Age?
It was an era extending roughly from 1877 to 1900, between the Reconstruction era and the Progressive Era.
A time of rapid economic growth, especially in the Northern and Western United States, as American wages grew much higher than those in Europe, especially for skilled workers, the period saw an influx of millions of European immigrants.
It was also a period of abject poverty and inequality, as millions of poor immigrants headed to the United States, and the high concentration of wealth became more visible.