Please Pick A TV Show For Me To Be Really Into

downton abbey

So, I went home over the holidays, and my grandmother and mother and I spent much of the vacation around the TV while watching episode after episode of Downton Abbey while eating various chocolate products (mostly, we just stuff one another’s stockings with the entire contents of Vosges.).

It was fantastic.

Downton Abbey turns out to be everything I want in a TV show – insofar as it allows me to pretend that I could live in a past filled with beautiful dresses in a manor house where all the servants loved me because I was fundamentally virtuous – but I have finished it now. I finished all the episodes. In a week. Probably no other show is as good. All the other shows are dumb.

The only good thing about this is that Downton Abbey is going to start again on PBS this Sunday (I wish I could type 100 exclamation points!!!!!!!) but I will only get to watch one episode a week. There are still going to be a lot of days.

6 of them.

There will be six other days.

And Mad Men will not be back until summer, and Game of Thrones comes back on in March. So there is a while there. And apparently those are the only other shows I watch.

Oh. I also watch The Hour.

And reruns of The Nanny, but largely for the Cici-Niles dynamic, so, you know, for sophisticated reasons.

Okay, so, those shoes. Those are the shows I watch.

I know no show is going to be as good as Downton Abbey, but is there anything else that I should watch in its entirety? Can you give me some recommendations? I bet my favorites have tipped you off to the fact that I love pretty much anything historical with costumes.

Your turn, please be helpful.

Picture via Downton Abbey

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    • jamiepeck

      Sean loves Downton Abbey too, but perhaps for different reasons than you. Maybe you guys can talk about that someday.

      Some shows you should watch if you haven’t yet:

      The Sopranos
      The Wire
      The Walking Dead
      American Horror Story
      Parks and Recreation
      The Office
      30 Rock

      Those are the shows that I like, anyway.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      I don’t know if you’ve already seen it, but The Wire. The Wire, The Wire, The Wire. You will forget to eat and sleep because it is so good.

      Also: Archer, Frisky Dingo, Oz, Masters of Horror, Too Cute (I know it sounds weird, just trust me on this). I’m currently re-watching Desperate Housewives and desperately need to find some new stuff, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this post.

      • mallelis

        Frisky Dingo AND Oz? Samantha, we’re best friends as of right now.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        I LOVE both of those shows! And now I love you. For ages, I’ve been planning on getting a basset hound and naming kim Killface because that is easily my favorite villainous-but-not-really character ever.

    • Amanda Chatel

      Oh, please… we all know you’re counting down the seconds to Girls season 2 on the 13th.

    • TinyNinjas

      It doesn’t have historical significance or costuming, but OMG Friday Night Lights (feel free to skip through parts of season 2 though). Same goes for Breaking Bad. But seriously, sob your way through Friday Night Lights, you will not regret it.

    • CMJ

      Luther is amazing with the always foxy Idris Elba. Also, Battlestar Gallactica.

      • Alle


      • Jen

        YES to both of those!!

    • Nancy

      Bored to Death is witty and hilarious! And it has Jason Schwartman, Zach Gafilianakis and Ted Danson!! Also, The Black Donelly’s is amazing, but there was only one season which sucks. Dexter is the best show, so that one. Pretty Little Liars is good actually lol Maybe has some eye-rolling moments but it keeps you on the edge of your seat and they wear awesome clothes. For some humour, try the Ricky Gervais Show, it’s his podcasts televised as a sort of cartoon, it’s hilarious. Don’t know if you’re watching Nashville, but that is also suprisingly AMAZING. New favorite.

    • AmbienceChaser

      Jeeves and Wooster is pretty good fun. But for the most part I’ve been watching costume dramas and miniseries on Netflix. Just watched The Way We Live Now. Next up: Daniel Deronda.

      I have not yet tried the new Upstairs Downstairs, but it seems to have been made as an, “OMG, that Downton thing is making loads of money. Let’s dust off Upstairs, Downstairs and get on this!” sort of thing, so it might be a decent stand-in.

      • Samantha_Escobar

        AH I am so glad you mentioned Jeeves & Wooster. That’s always been my mom’s favorite show and I definitely want to buy some DVDs of it…Stephen Fry is just so wonderful!

      • Jennifer Wright

        I think it is agreed that Upstairs, Downstairs should be next.

    • Alex

      Archer is a fair bit sillier than those shows, but it does involve costumes.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Oh, I love Archer. I haven’t seen a lot of it, but the episodes I’ve seen have been hilarious. I kind of think FX is like a frat boy who inexplicably has perfect aesthetic taste.

    • Alle

      I LOVED The Hour. I want so much more of that show, it’s ridiculous. Freddie is a babe in a kind of hot alien way, and Hector is also a babe in the hot cartoon pilot way. It’s perfect.

      I watch a lot of tv. Tv is my thing. I’d suggest Sherlock (starring my imaginary boyfriend Benedict Cumberbatch) and for the costume element, maybe Cranford. Judy Dench is in it, and also Saffy from Ab Fab.

      If you haven’t seen all of Absolutely Fabulous, YOU MUST. I mean, it’s kind of historical (the 90s were a weird time) and there are totally awesome/ridic outfits that practically qualify as costumes.

    • Madame_Dakar

      Have you watched the Sherlocks with Benedict Cumberbatch?

    • Netochka

      The Paradise (based on Zola’s novel), Boardwalk Empire (Violent but gorgeous otherwise)
      Pan Am, Upstairs Downstairs, The Borgias.

      • Jennifer Wright

        They made a TV show of The Ladies Paradise!!!????

      • Netochka

        Yes! Loosely, it’s a bit fluffy but still a fun watch, I went through the whole thing in like a weekend.

      • Netochka
    • Jon

      Well you have gotten a lot of responses so far but I’m at work on a Saturday and bored out of mah mind! so here are some my favorites that haven’t been mentioned yet.

      Dollhouse – Joss Wheadon does such a great job with this show, I kept putting it off thinking I wouldn’t like it but WOW! Well done Joss Wheadon.

      Ringer – Can’t believe this show was canceled after one season, Sarah Michele Geller Nails this role. Bring it back CW!!

      Game of Throne – one of the best things ever, EVAR! The costumes, actors, scenary, music, everything about this show is amazing.

      Wilfred – super funny and relatable if you’re like me and sit on the sofa all day getting high and talking to your dog.

      Hell on Wheels – Great show if you like dark gritty westerns with an antihero

      Whale Wars – this show makes me feel like such a slacker while sitting on the sofa getting high and watching them sacrifice everything for a cause they believe in.

      Sons Of Anarachy – A show I resisted for awhile but as soon as I broke down and started it I couldn’t stop

      Boardwalk Empire – Lots of people love this but I never could get into it.

      Battlestar Galatica – was mentioned below but just wanted to give it another thumbs up. Such great writing in this show, what a fun story. Plus Edward James Olmos ’nuff said!

      Walking Dead – was also mentioned already and I know zombies are over done but this show has a way of completely sucking you in.

      • Tania

        I was so sad when I got to the end of Dollhouse. :(

    • Joanna

      Bomb Girls. Canadian drama about women working in a munitions factory during WWII. I watched all six episodes last weekend.

    • Tania

      Oh my god, I love Downton Abbey so hard. But it’s all been released in the UK, so you can probably find all those episodes online somewhere. That’s what I did! BBC’s “Sherlock” only has six episodes, but they’re all an hour and a half long, so, worth it. I’m told “Upstairs, Downstairs” is a much-watch if you love Downton Abbey. I have it ready to go on my Netflix. “Lost Girl” for cheesy urban fantasy slash softcore porn (not really, but there is a lot of sex and naked butts. But it’s an equal opportunity naked butts show!).

    • MR

      Did you see the film, ‘Hyde Park on the Hudson’ yet? What’s your take on that? Eleanor was as graphic as I always believed her to be.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Yes! You know, everyone says that the Queen was a very nice woman. I’m not sure why they decided to make her a shrew? Seriously, she was supposedly to be pleasant and endlessly supportive of her husband, not constantly comparing him to his brother and criticizing.

      • NR

        Yeah, good point. What about Eleanor? That scene in the horse stables said it all to me. Her and FDR were always reading off each other’s page. On a side note, according to the Journal today, Django came in second in film revenue this week. Given the choice we went to see ‘Silver Lining Playbook’ instead. Your guy, Bradely Cooper, finally did something to impress me – yeah the film was grainy and so real. The avant-garde theatre close by to my place is the Spectrum 8 – very cool, that is if you like home made biscotti. :)

    • Alma

      The Forsyte Sage on Netflix

    • lolana

      “Parenthood”, “breaking bad”, “Friday night lights”, and the best show EVER “six feet under”

    • May

      The Good Wife. Great story, amazing actors, incredible clothes.

    • Sophia

      You may or may not have heard about this from your more pedantic friends, but the British costume drama reached its zenith long ago and has since succumbed to a miserable decline. Some of the good stuff:

      Upstairs, Downstairs (the original, not the cringe-inducing reboot, from which Eileen Atkins disassociated herself after a time for reasons not entirely having to do with monkeys)

      I, Claudius (if you can cope with all the scheming, plotting, murder, adultery, murder, incest, banishment, insanity, witchcraft, and murder; also there is a drinking game)

      The Six Wives of Henry VIII (possibly in association with Glenda Jackson’s never-bettered Elizabeth, and The Shadow of the Tower, or am I the only one who likes Henry 7.0?)

      The Duchess of Duke Street (you will probably want to do a Shelved Dolls piece on the real Louisa Trotter, Rosa Lewis, whom you may recognise from Vile Bodies)

      Brideshead Revisited (belongs on every list of this nature even though it might be said to go without saying)

      The Pallisers (not everyone understands why this is so romantic, but at the very least you’ve got to admire Madame Max and her duke-management technique, I feel we could all learn a lot from her there)

      The Forsyte Saga (oh, someone already mentioned this)

      And probably some other things I will remember within the fifteen-second period immediately following the posting of this comment.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Oh my Gosh, everything on this list sounds amazing. I, Claudius is one of my all time favorites (I also loved Rome). Found The Pallisers online, already loving it based on the first scene (

      • Sophia

        The Barchester Chronicles (more Trollope, didn’t mention it in the first round because wasn’t sure glamorous enough for you, but if The Pallisers goes down well you should look into it; skip to 1:23 in this clip for the scene you’d almost certainly like best)

        The House of Eliott (gently-reared females reinvent themselves as successful businesswomen against a backdrop of the Roaring Twenties, from the creators of Upstairs, Downstairs; if this is one of your periods there is a risk the clothes will make you roll over with your paws in the air and emit a primal howl)

        The Jewel in the Crown (in which year, 1984, all four nominations for the Best TV Actress BAFTA went to ladies who appeared in this, with Peggy Ashcroft winning, as was quite correct)

        House of Cards (it’s not period but I had to sneak it in because dark political satire and elderly British actors amount to a winning combination, the first part is superior however to its successors)

        Jeeves & Wooster (can be watched not just once but twenty times over, especially the scene with the treacle, ask me how I know)

        Now, let me think, has there been anything more recent?

        Bleak House (2005) (villainous Charles Dance, I say no more)

        Cranford (2007) (another of those casts they have to list in alphabetical order)

        Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003) (total rubbish and the scripts get even worse as it goes along, but I sort of liked it anyway, and if you’re not yet weary of writing about royal mistresses you could write off those four hours as “research”)

    • Naomy

      (The Adventures of) Merlin. Prepare to cry.