Whereas viewers have loved Julian Fellowes’ the Gilded Age as a welcome distraction from the January and Covid doom and gloom, critics haven’t been charmed by the producer’s grand New Yorker extravaganza. 

The present, which premiered within the US on Monday and within the UK on HBO and Sky Atlantic final evening, follows the tribulations of fifth Avenue’s nouveaux riche and previous cash residents in 1882 New York, pitting the social climbing Russell household towards the previous cash Van Rhijn-Brook family. 

Twelve years within the making, it was touted because the American Downton Abbey, impressed by the upstairs-downstairs dynamic of Fellowes’ massively profitable brainchild, which ran for six seasons and spawned two motion pictures. 

However whereas Downton Abbey’s pastoral topic issues have charmed critics prior to now, the Gilded Age’s a lot anticipated debut gathered some not-so-shining critiques, together with a savaging from the New York Instances, branding it a dime-store Downton, verging on caricature.  

In the meantime, the Guardian was equally as brutal, writing the present was ‘sheer agony’ full of ‘drivelling redundancy.’ 

The Gilded Age, Julian Fellowes new period drama, set in 1882's New York, premiered on HBO and Sky Atlantic last night, and received mixed reviews. Pictured: Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski as old money spinsters Aida Brook and Agnes Van Rhijn

The Gilded Age, Julian Fellowes new interval drama, set in 1882’s New York, premiered on HBO and Sky Atlantic final evening, and acquired combined critiques. Pictured: Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski as previous cash spinsters Aida Brook and Agnes Van Rhijn

Much more constructive critiques from the likes of the Telegraph, which awarded the present 4 stars, mentioned that it lacked the humour and heat of its predecessor. 

And The Unbiased conceded the Gilded Age is ‘completely watchable’ because it gave three out of 5 stars, however known as it ‘bloated’ and ‘broad-brush.’

Within the 77-minute-long pilot, viewers have been additionally launched to Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), a black girl who befriends the ingenue Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson)  as she travels to stick with her aunts in New York. 

Scott is ultimately employed by Marian’s aunt, Agnes Van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and reviewers famous it gave Fellowes supplies to discover race relations in turn-of-the-century New York. 

Nonetheless, The Unbiased mentioned this plot level felt pressured, including:  ‘You barely get the impression this side has been tacked on, and that basically Fellowes would like to concentrate on what he does finest, which is straight white individuals getting upset about desk settings.’

Right here, FEMAIL dissects the present’s combined critiques so you do not have to. 

The New York Times dubbed the show 'dime store Downton' while in the UK, the Guardian called it 'sheer agony.' Pictured: Morgan Spector and Carrie Coon as George and Bertha Russell, a social climbing couple

The New York Instances dubbed the present ‘dime retailer Downton’ whereas within the UK, the Guardian known as it ‘sheer agony.’ Pictured: Morgan Spector and Carrie Coon as George and Bertha Russell, a social climbing couple 

The New York Instances 

The New York Instances was amongst the harshest Gilded Age critics, with Mike Story writing the present ‘seems like a slacker and extra superficial rehashing of character varieties and conditions acquainted from the sooner collection.’ 

He significantly regretted the present’s dialogue and claimed its character lack growth, which he mentioned have been one-note.  

‘Generally, the conservatism and provincialism of the previous guard is so overdrawn, and introduced with such little context, that the society ladies appear to be they’re from outer area, and the actresses taking part in them can’t do a lot to make them human,’ he added. 

He additionally mentioned the Gilded Age introduced a ‘muddled and slapdash portrait’ and a story that bordered on caricature. 

The Guardian  

Giving it a scathing one star out of 5 ranking in her evaluate for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan disliked the interval drama to name it ‘sheer agony.’

She mentioned the dialogue is plagued with ‘drivelling redundancy,’ going so far as to match the present to a brand new pressure og coronavirus and advising viewers to arm themselves with PPE.  

She added it felt like Fellowes had ‘churned’ the present was sleeping, and that the top outcome was not credible. 

The Instances

Writing for the Instances, James Jackson gave the brand new interval sensation a way more beneficial evaluate. 

He conceded that whereas the present was not with out fault, it was straightforward to look at and fulfilling. 

He significantly praised Fellowes’ capability of ‘introducing you to characters with out you noticing that you simply’re listening to 90 per cent expositional dialogue.’

Nonetheless, he famous that followers of Downton Abbey may wrestle to heat as much as its American cousin. 

‘The Gilded Age might show too soapy for Edith Wharton followers and presumably not cosy sufficient for Downton Abbey ones,’ he wrote.  

Whereas he tempered the pilot ran for too lengthy, Jackson nonetheless topped The Gilded Age a hit. 

‘This was an assured if overlong begin, and it’ll be fascinating to see if America takes to its personal heritage in the way in which it does Britain’s posho dramas,’ he wrote. 

The Telegraph 

The Telegraph additionally gave The Gilded Age a constructive evaluate, however famous it’s unlikely to allure viewers the way in which Downton did.

‘Will or not it’s beloved, like Downton Abbey? No, as a result of it lacks each that present’s heat and humour,’ Anita Singh wrote. 

She additionally famous the characters weren’t as likeable as those within the Yorkshire-based drama.  

‘Virtually each character in Downton had likeable qualities, however that may be mentioned of solely a pair in The Gilded Age,’ she added. 

She significantly famous that the character of Bertha Russell, who’s craving for upward mobility, is unlikely to be preferred by UK viewers, as a result of British individuals dislike people who attempt too onerous.   

The Unbiased

Writing for the Unbiased, Ed Cumming jested: ‘Gilded the age could also be, however strong gold this isn’t.

He admitted the present was ‘completely watchable’ however lacked what made Downton’s success.  

You barely get the impression this side has been tacked on, and that basically Fellowes would like to concentrate on what he does finest, which is straight white individuals getting upset about desk settings.  

‘The Gilded Age would really like you to suppose it’s a lacking Henry James novel, however it feels broad-brush by comparability,’ he added. 


Critic Dave Nemetz described the primary 4 episodes of the collection as a triumph of fashion over substance, until you watch TV to ‘gawk at chandeliers’ and can take pleasure in a ‘feast for the eyes’.

Evaluating The Gilded Age to the large success of Downton within the US, he mentioned it feels ‘cynically calibrated’ to strike the identical notice, however misses the mark. 

‘Sadly, the storytelling isn’t as wealthy, affected by boring plotting and broadly drawn characters,’ he mentioned. 

‘This present follows the components of a cultured costume drama so intently, it verges on self-parody; it’s like a faux TV present {that a} character on one other TV present would watch.’

He additionally criticized the variety of characters and the plot specializing in ‘tedious boardroom dealings — railroad offers and inventory manipulation don’t make for thrilling tv — and weepy melodrama’.  

Wall Avenue Journal

In its evaluate, the Wall Avenue Journal dubbed the present a ‘recycling effort by creator-writer-producer Julian Fellowes.’

Author John Anderson famous the Gilded Age’s characters are clichés, ‘not disagreeable however wholly unsurprising.’

He added the Russell household are ‘the least plausible characters within the collection,’ and hinted their story act doesn’t get higher as the primary episodes play out. 


Alan Sepinwall, confession himself to be a die onerous Downton Fan, gave the present an honest three stars, however could not assist making comparisons between the 2, saying the previous had an ‘elegant simplicity’ whereas The Gilded Age is a ‘messy sprawl’.  

I’ve to surprise if the die-hards will have a look at this as one thing that must be completely pleasing, however that doesn’t look fairly proper to the skilled eye.


Collider gave a constructive evaluate of the present general, nonetheless, it famous: ‘It is spinning its wheels somewhat than chugging full-steam forward.

Wanting into the primary episode, reviewer Carly Lane admitted that the illustrious solid’s expertise will get overshadowed by the exposition that occurs when introducing so many characters directly. 

‘There’s a variety of time that will get afforded to establishing the place everyone seems to be of their respective lives, and it is positively groundwork that does have to be laid, however it generally occurs at the price of driving the plot ahead in vital methods,’ she wrote. 

Nonetheless, she mentioned the collection will get higher because it goes on, with greater plot factors producing extra momentum. 

Afterward, nonetheless, the collection begins to generate extra momentum, courtesy of larger drama and extra extreme repercussions for sure characters’ actions, and it is in these occasions that

establishes itself as a title wholly unbiased of any which may have come earlier than — offered viewers are prepared to wade by the filler to get to the substance.

Within the US Downton, the worst snobs are the servants: CHRISTOPHER STEVENS critiques Julian Fellowes’s newest costume drama The Gilded Age


Sky Atlantic, final evening 


Railroad tycoon George Russell has his toes up on the furnishings. ‘Cautious,’ warns his spouse, ‘that desk belonged to King Ludwig of Bavaria.’ 

George flashes a devil-may-care grin. ‘He had it as soon as. I’ve acquired it now!’ he crows.

You possibly can belief Julian Fellowes by no means to go away us doubtful about his intentions. 

The creator of Downton Abbey has returned with an much more lavish costume drama in The Gilded Age (Sky Atlantic) – and it is all about New Cash.

Set in New York, 1882, the overblown wealth was on show from the opening shot. 

The sisters have taken in their penniless niece Marian, Louisa Jacobson. Marian brings her new best friend to stay – the young black writer Peggy, Denee Benton (both pictured)

The sisters have taken of their penniless niece Marian, Louisa Jacobson. Marian brings her new finest good friend to remain – the younger black author Peggy, Denee Benton (each pictured)

Horse-drawn carts loaded with statues, chandeliers, antiques and grand pianos rolled up Fifth Avenue to the mansion commissioned by George and his bold spouse Bertha (Morgan Spector and Carrie Coon).

However throughout the highway, Previous Cash is in residence. Spiteful widow Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and her fluffy-headed youthful sister Ada (Cynthia Nixon) are surrounded by footmen and butlers – and the servants are even greater snobs than the women.

The finances for The Gilded Age is a well-guarded secret, however to guage from the spectacular laptop graphics that recreate New York 140 years in the past, this manufacturing would make a gap in any household fortune.

Followers of Downton will probably be hoping for sophisticated romantic entanglements, and, after all, Cupid is hovering. 

The sisters have taken of their penniless niece Marian (Louisa Jacobson), whose no-good papa (their brother) has wasted their inheritance.

In the meantime, the Russells’ raffish son Larry, performed by Harry Richardson, is having fun with the excessive life – and Marian has already caught his wandering eye.

However the emphasis is on the older feminine characters. Bertha is a social climber who makes no secret of her want to be a queen of the New York social gathering world.

‘She has creativeness, style and nerve,’ boasts hubby George, whose chief job is to roll his eyes at his spouse’s extravagance and signal the cheques.

On the climax of this opening double episode, Bertha threw an opulent soiree, her desk piled excessive with lobsters spitted on swords like seafood kebabs. 

No one got here – actually not Agnes and Ada. ‘We solely see the previous individuals on this home, not the brand new,’ proclaimed Mrs van Rhijn.

How out of joint her stuck-up nostril will probably be when she learns the stunning fact about her disreputable son Oscar, who retains a barrel-chested blond sportsman in his condo for frisky enjoyable after the day’s events are over.

Agnes is confronted in different methods by the altering occasions, as Marian brings her new finest good friend to remain – the younger black author Peggy, (Denee Benton) an aspiring novelist twice as intelligent as any of the opposite characters.

It takes Peggy all of two minutes to win Agnes over, and land a job as her live-in secretary. She has to sleep within the servants’ quarters, although, and one or two of the maids usually are not fairly certain what to suppose.

Amid this rush of faces, we barely had time to get to know the below-stairs employees. Simon Jones presides over the van Rhijn residence as butler Mr Bannister, and he already has a catchphrase: ‘It’s not for us to have an opinion.’

Throughout the road, conniving housekeeper Mrs Turner (Kelley Curran) appears to be setting her cap at Mr Russell. 

If Bertha catches wind of that, which she undoubtedly will, the saucy servant may find yourself speared with a lobster stick.

With a lot scene setting, the story was sluggish to get going. It’s totally completely different to Lord Fellowes’s final drama, Belgravia, which packed the entire of the Battle of Waterloo and a marriage into its opening sequence.

However the good lord enjoys all the flamboyant costume historical past so massively that it’s not possible to not be carried alongside.

‘Did you hear they shot Jesse James?’ cries Mr Russell. ‘Good night, Mr and Mrs Roosevelt,’ calls a footman.

Celebrities, billionaires and pots of cash – that is actuality TV from the steam railway period.