Just read an article about NBC’s plan for a series about New York City’s “Gilded Age”, which will be the title. It’s to be created by Julian Fellowes, the brilliant man who gave us not only Downton Abbey, but also the wonderful movie, Gosford Park.

I am absolutely positive that a large part of the reason I love both is that I’m a huge fan of Maggie Smith, but Mr. Fellowes has a proven track record with creating the kinds of projects I love to watch.

There is also the era in question to lure me in. I’ve long been fascinated by the Edwardian Era, as well as the time just before it, when the world lived at the delicately balanced edge where the tightly laced Victorian Era segued onto the cusp of the more freely flowing Edwardian. Fashion references? Most assuredly. Lifestyle, as well. And culture. Art. Literature. The Great War brought inevitable change to the world it ripped asunder. 

Before that America’s captains of industry, also known as Robber Barons, took the Industrial Age to soaring heights of wealth and power that rivaled the inherited wealth of real life literal British Lords of the Manor. Immense fortunes built on steel and oil, and power unimagined both in the sense of the kind that follows in the wake of great wealth and the newly discovered marvel–electricity.

I was already interested in this part of our history, and even moreso after reading a novel that won’t let me forget it, City of Light, by Lauren Belfer. It takes place at the dawn of the twentieth century, in Buffalo, New York, and includes romance, murder mystery, and political intrigue all taking place against the backdrop of the building of the great power plant at Niagara Falls.

More recently I watched the History Channel series The Men Who Built America. The dollar amounts of massive wealth played like Monopoly money were staggering, as were the totals of the massive charitable contributions to our nation made by the players in the high stakes game that was their life. Men like Morgan, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt…those names ring down through history to our own time…institutions and landmarks that touch our lives everyday, usually with little knowledge of the men  behind the workaday legends.

I have a feeling that The Gilded Age will focus on the gilded part of its age. Considering the way Julian Fellowes deftly blends upstairs, downstairs, and the lowly and lofty that touch them on Downton Abbey, I’m also hoping for glimpses of the powerful and the pitiful that make up the backdrop of that glittering gilded age of the city that never sleeps.

Downton Abbey Season 3 Official Trailer

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