‘The Gilded Age’ review: Julian Fellowes’ sprawling new drama shines as an American version of ‘Downton Abbey’

The background here lies not in British upper class however rather the hostility of old-money households towards what they dismissively describe as “the new people,” those who have actually just recently entered fortunes however do not have the arrived-on-the-Mayflower claims to elite status.

Agnes wed well, enabling her sibling, as she keeps in mind, “the pure and tranquil life of a spinster.” Like the Dowager Countess in “Downton,” Fellowes beautifies her with all the very best lines, which Baranski provides with leaking venom, her fangs hardly hid.

To her consistent inflammation, the “new” individuals to whom she things live straight throughout the street, in the kind of railway baron George Russell (Morgan Spector) and his partner Bertha (Carrie Coon), who use a Downton-like selection of servants. When not preserving the estate, the downstairs folk chatter about the Russells’ potential customers of being accepted into upper class, which is Bertha’s ruthless objective.

“She’s built a palace to entertain the sort of people who will never come here,” sneers Bertha’s house maid (Kelley Curran), while outlining regarding how she can leave such service.

Cynthia Nixon, Christine Baranski (foreground) play sisters in 'The Gilded Age.'

This American variation likewise brings race into the mix, with Marian’s journey presenting her to Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), an ambitious Black author who takes a position in Agnes’s use. Marian’s desire to end up being Peggy’s pal betrays both her naivete and the obvious bigotry of the times, though with limited depth, a maybe inescapable function of whatever else that’s unfolding upstairs and downstairs.

Fellowes stays an outright master at handling an excessive variety of subplots along with discovering interesting wrinkles in characters with fairly bit parts, such as Blake Ritson as Agnes’s computing kid. There’s a specific shame of riches on the starlet side, with Audra McDonald, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Donna Murphy to assist class up the already-classy joint.

The early episodes (5 of the 9 were previewed) likewise remarkably chew through story, showing that while the gowns may look stiff and confining, the pacing isn’t.

The casting is as impressive as the duration outfits, with Jacobson as the partially modern-day newbie captured in the middle of these old animosities, and Coon and Spector standing out as the supreme power couple, playing a long video game in leveraging their wealth to break down the barriers put up by the established facility.

Among the stress includes the concern of Marian weding for something besides monetary benefit, a possibility welcoming with scary by her practical auntie. “Will you concede nothing to my age and experience?” Agnes asks her.

Although real-life figures from the duration travel through the story, “The Gilded Age” rapidly takes a thick truth all its own. And while a number of characters have apparent “Downton” equivalents (consisting of life in the closet for gays throughout this period), the Yankee taste differentiates the series enough to differ from it.

It’s early to pronounce this completely as another “Downton”-like dependency, with one film and another en route. Yet Fellowes has actually set out the structure for a duration soap with that lofty capacity, in what is currently a really attracting piece of “Abbey”-nearby realty.

“The Gilded Age” premieres Jan. 24 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, which, like CNN, is a unit of WarnerMedia.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.