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We’re well into winter, and it’s time to cozy up with a new show that offers pure escapism with a dash of familiarity. Enter: The Gilded Age, HBO’s newest series and a costume drama that has all the ingredients to be your next weekly must-watch. The series, from Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, debuts on HBO Max today and you won’t want to miss out — read on for how to watch (including a free option!), details on the star-studded cast including Christine Baranski, Carrie Coon, Cynthia Nixon, and more, and why this period drama is exactly what your January needs.
The GIlded Age takes us through the opulence and innovation of the American economic boom of the late 1800s and early 20th century: specifically, New York City in the 1880s where a battle between new money and old rules is starting to simmer and will undoubtedly reach a boiling point. On the side of old money New York we have Agnes van Rhijn (Baranski), who finds her stubbornness for the way social customs were and ought to remain challenged by Bertha Russell (Coon), a New Yorker with new money who wants to enter into polite society against the unspoken social practices of those like van Rhijn that would deny her entry.
Watch 'The Gilded Age' on HBO Max
Naturally, members of these two women’s families and social circles become involved, along with a cast of characters featuring varying status and rank in New York City society. Does it sound slightly familiar? Well, for fans of Downton Abbey, this new series could be a perfect fit. Julian Fellowes, creator of The Gilded Age, is also responsible for the beloved, Emmy-winning costume drama about the Crawley family and their estate’s staff that took America by storm in 2010 — and still has a hold on it to this day.
Fellowes’ Downton Abbey lasted six seasons and went on to spawn two movies — the second of which hits theaters this March. Prior to Downton, Fellowes earned an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002 for his British mystery drama Gosford Park. So, much like some of the wealthy characters we will meet in The Gilded Age, the series itself has quite the pedigree all its own.
Despite covering one of the most extensive periods in American history, The Gilded Age has a rather short story for how it finally came to fruition. After Fellowes began discussing the show sometime in 2012, the series earned its original slate for NBC back in 2018, before it ultimately went to HBO in 2019. Once the cast was assembled, filming was ready to get underway, though due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a number of delays. Once production concluded, the series went into post-production, and the final product debuts tonight on HBO and HBO Max. Find all the information you need on how to stream (and how to take advantage of a free trial) below.
When does The Gilded Age start?
The Gilded Age starts streaming on HBO Max tonight, Jan. 24, at 9 p.m. ET.
When does The Gilded Age air?
The Gilded Age will release a new episode onto HBO Max every week on Mondays at 9 p.m. ET. The season is ten episodes long.
Where can I watch The Gilded Age?
The options for streaming and watching The Gilded Age are fairly limited, but there are a few ways that you can access the series streaming on HBO Max. For those who have been considering subscribing to HBO Max, now may be the perfect time to buy in and save money while you do. HBO Max currently has a deal where you can save 20% for 12 months on either of the monthly plans the streamer offers. With both HBO Max subscriptions, you can watch the full library of HBO’s content, along with Warner Bros. movies that drop on the streamer.
The subscription plan that includes all of the aforementioned features along with ads is currently $7.99 (usually, the plan is $9.99 per month). If you don’t want to watch ads, then the $11.99 per month deal features ad-free content to stream as you please (a plan that’s usually $14.99 per month). This deal only lasts until January 25, so don’t hesitate to sign up today.
Watch 'The Gilded Age' on HBO Max
How to watch The Gilded Age for free
For those looking for a free option before fully committing to the new series, there is one way to watch that might be an easy addition to a streamer you already have, or a great way to subscribe to two platforms instead of just one. Hulu offers a free 7-day trial of its HBO Max addition for new subscribers only (sorry current subscribers!). For those interested in seeing what all of the fuss is about with Hulu + HBO Max, this is a great deal.
Hulu plans start at just $6.99 per month. Once you’ve selected your base plan for Hulu, you can subscribe to HBO Max as well. Your first week of HBO Max is completely free, and you can cancel at any time. So, even if The Gilded Age isn’t for you, there is still plenty more content on the streamer to explore and binge before your week is up.
Watch 'The Gilded Age' With Hulu's Free HBO Max Trial
Why does everyone in The Gilded Age look so familiar?
Unlike Downton Abbey, which catapulted a number of its lesser-known cast members to superstardom almost entirely overnight, The Gilded Age is practically a company of who’s who of Broadway. Leading the cast is Christine Baranski, who plays the aforementioned Agnes van Rhijn, and carries with her all the stoicism and dignified air you might associate with a lady of her status.
Baranski herself is well-known for her roles on stage and screen. She’s appeared in films like Chicago, Mama Mia!, and The Birdcage. She won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1995 for her work on the series Cybill, and has been nominated for a whopping 13 Emmy Awards since. She’s also the recipient of two Tony Awards, both for Best Featured Actress in a Play for 1984’s The Real Thing and 1989’s Rumors.
Of course, Baranski needs a strong adversary in New York City, which is where Carrie Coon comes in. The actress plays Bertha Russell, who brings her new wealth and ideas to New York City at the start of the series. Coon earned wide acclaim for her work in the HBO series The Leftovers, which ran from 2014 to 2017. She also appeared in the FX anthology series Fargo (for which she earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie), the 2018 film Widows, and the 2021 film Ghostbusters: Afterlife. In 2013, Coon received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
Naturally, Coon and Baranski aren’t the only cast members having all the fun. While the two accomplished women are undoubtedly the marquee names for the series, the show also stars plenty of veterans as well as burgeoning new talent. Cynthia Nixon appears in the series as Agnes van Rhijn’s sister Ada Brook, who relies on her sister’s wealth since she herself never married. Nixon, of course, is known for her role in Sex and The City and the show’s sequel series And Just Like That… as Miranda Hobbes. Along with her two Emmy Awards, Nixon has been the recipient of two Tony Awards, as well.
The ensemble shakes out even further beyond its three leading ladies. Taissa Farmiga stars as Bertha Russell’s daughter Gladys; Jeanne Tripplehorn and Bill Irwin are season regulars; six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald appears in the series, along with Broadway star Denée Benton and Louisa Jacobson — who just happens to be Meryl Streep’s daughter.
Where can I watch all of Downton Abbey, in case I wanted to do that?
Great question! All six seasons of Downton Abbey are available to stream on Netflix, or you can rent them on Amazon Prime Video. Speaking of Amazon Prime Video, you can also rent the Downton Abbey movie there.
Watch 'Downton Abbey' Movie
'Downton Abbey' Season 1 on Amazon Prime Video
Before you go, click here to see the best TV shows you should be watching right now.
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