“The Gilded Age is all snobbery and society balls, waspish aunts and snooty servants, and on a very ‘new money’ budget — in other words, precisely the American Downton it was expected to be”

The Gilded Age

The Gilded Age, Sky Atlantic

“The Gilded Age is all snobbery and society balls, waspish aunts and snooty servants, and on a very ‘new money’ budget — in other words, precisely the American Downton it was expected to be. What may be a surprise is that, while it’d be easy to pick on it, it is actually quite enjoyable. This was an assured if overlong start, and it’ll be interesting to see if America takes to its own heritage in the way it does Britain’s posho dramas.”
James Jackson, The Times

“Its official title is The Gilded Age, but we all know what we are dealing with. There are posh people – the old families who have been in New York since it was a glint in a Dutchman’s eye. Then there are the upstart types who made buckets of stinky new money building railroads and are now busy building mansions all over Manhattan and trying to lay down tracks into smart society. We’ll call them the Shamderbilts. And then there are servants, who live beneath these posh people and bitch about them whenever the restraining influence of the butler is absent. In short, it’s just what HBO ordered from the man who by now is surely actually churning this stuff out in his sleep rather than simply giving the faultless impression of it.”
Lucy Mangan, The Guardian

“Will it be beloved, like Downton? No, because it lacks both that show’s warmth and humour. And yet, granted a sneak preview of future episodes, I found myself quite absorbed in Bertha’s mission. The subject matter could have lent itself to something spikier. But Fellowes specialises in comfort television; one of his great skills is marshalling people and plots into one coherent, satisfying whole. By that measure, this is his best show since Downton.”
Anita Singh, The Telegraph

“The costumes and sets are as lavish as you would expect given The Gilded Age’s provenance. It’s perfectly watchable, and every intention and motive is signposted with Fellowes’s usual clarity. But what sustained Downton for so long was that it balanced its pomp with humour, charm and a razor-sharp understanding of British class differences. The Gilded Age would like you to think it is a missing Henry James novel, but it feels broad-brush by comparison.”
Ed Cumming, The Independent

“Downstairs was less well defined than upstairs, although the butler was English (naturally) while, rather than the colour-blind casting of Bridgerton, Fellowes has researched the era’s black middle class to create the character of Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), an aspiring author. As with the real society soirees in 1880s New York, it’s the powerful women who promise to make The Gilded Age an inviting weekly fixture.”
Gerard Gilbert, The i

“Clumsy title aside, this was a nuanced and quietly lethal assessment of the state of economic (and therefore social) affairs since the banking crisis of 2008. Had the programme been a straight-up polemic, it would have been less effective. Instead, producer/director Victoria James assembled an impressive range of witnesses to piece together the story in their own, sometimes self-serving words. The documentary brought welcome clarity to the past 10 years, with its rampant corporate tax avoidance, Occupy Wall Street protests and David Cameron claiming that ‘We’re all in this together’.”
Gerarg Gilbert, The i

“Let’s face it, we shouldn’t expect balanced, impartial reporting from a documentary with such a lurid title. And we didn’t get it. This two-part history of Britain since the banking crash of 2008 is a manifesto for anti-capitalist tub-thumping. Merchant bankers, brokers and politicians queued up to denounce the system and bemoan the way it benefited a corrupt ‘elite’ of ‘the one per cent’. The more unkempt they were, the more hollow their lamentations. It all felt like a party political broadcast on behalf of the Socialist Workers.”
Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail

“If part one did anything, it reminded us that the Conservatives don’t just like a party, they are the ‘nasty party’. Sure, there was a balance of talking heads, but the constant barrage of facts about how the rich got richer after the 2008 bank bailout won’t have been good for anyone’s blood pressure.”
James Jackson, The Times