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Life After Downton: How to Get Our Period Fix

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I'm subscribed to Acorn but I won't be surprised if I see myself dropping it after a few months. They don't have the choice British dramas you think especially the period ones. In my view Netflix has a wider range of good British dramas period or otherwise - even Amazon.

 

Thank you for your insight, skyways!   I have both Netflix (they have a great line-up of BBC shows...thx for suggesting that I check) and Amazon Prime, so it looks like I'll have lots of options for a while.  :-)   And, since Acorn has a 30-day trial, I should probably give it a whirl and watch the ones that caught my eye that I didn't see in Netflix's lineup.  I can probably run through a lot of them within 30 days.  :-D  

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If you're not so particular about only period dramas try Broadchurch on Netflix, Line of Duty on both Acorn and Amazon and Zen and The Last Enemy on Amazon. Cheers! They are modern drama and not much language which I appreciate.

Edited by skyways

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If you're not so particular about only period dramas try Broadchurch on Netflix, Line of Duty on both Acorn and Amazon and Zen and The Last Enemy on Amazon. Cheers! They are modern drama and not much language which I appreciate.

 

I tried to watch Broadchurch (and its US version, fraternal twin 'Gracepoint'), but they were both too painfully slow and dark for me.  Perhaps I just wasn't in the mode to watch them. It was always a drag to tune in for the next episode.  However, Line of Duty and The Last Enemy look very interesting.  I'll check them out.  Thanks much!

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Broadchurch is very intriguing. Stay with it if you can. Forget the US version. I was wary of it at first myself since I dislike slow dramas myself but this was was well-done, well-written and well-acted.

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Also very watchable is an old series called "The Duchess Of Duke Street". It's about a beautiful working class woman and gifted cook who rises from humble beginnings to owning and running a high class hotel. I loved the heroine. Catching the eye of royality. Working hard. A spine of steel. And a love story that will make you tear up at the end.

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I wholeheartedly second "The Duchess of Duke Street."

One of my all-time favorite series.

I loved it so much I bought the entire series on VHS tapes back in the day. They're the only VHS tapes I still have.

(Now I want to hook up my old VCR and rewatch the whole thing.)

Edited by ChiCricket
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Thanks for the heads up to 'Jericho'. Just checked out the first episode and was pleasantly surprised. Nice to see Jessica Raine again, I lost track of her when she left 'Call the Midwife'.

 

She was Tuppence in the newest version of Agatha Christie's Tommy&Tuppence stories called Partners in Crime. It was an okay adaption, but I didn't like it as much as I wanted to. Speaking of Christie, I actually love most of the Marple stories with Geraldine McEwan. I know they change a lot of stuff, but a) I've been been that much of a purist when it comes to adaptions, and b) I can always read the novels if I want the "true" version. My favourite of the newer ones are The Moving Finger, 4:50 from Paddington (John Hannah!), Towards Zero and The Murder at the Vicarage.

 

Also; the newest adaption of And Then There Were None is wonderful! And not just because Aidan Turner takes his shirt off (again).

 

I've started on Mercy Street but I don't quite love Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character as much as I think the show wants me to. But I'll stick with it for the time being. I've also just rewatched Colditz, a PoW story from WW2 with a veritable spot-that-actor cast (Damian Lewis! Tom Hardy! Lawrence Fox! Sophia Myles! Jason Priestley (?!)).

 

For something non-period I'll suggest you guys all run to watch ShakespeRe-Told (Shakespeare Retold). It's a four-episode modern adaption of Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream and it is sooo good. My favourites are Much Ado that has Damian Lewis and Sarah Parish in the roles of Beatrice and Benedict ("Tensions mount in the TV studio when a take-charge anchor is reunited with a man she has a "history" with.") and Taming ("A young harridan MP marries a title in order to advance towards her goal of becoming party leader") where Shirley Henderson plays Katriona and Rufus Sewell a cross-dressing Petruchio. Go watch. Now :) It's the best comfort food ever.

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What a great thread! I'll be checking back here in the future for ideas.

I just want to second the recommendations for Upstairs/Downstairs and Lark Rise to Candleford. These two sets kept me happy for months, watching one episode every evening after dinner-- even my husband looked forward to it. There's something deeply satisfying about both of them that will keep me coming back every few years, like visiting dear old friends.

Right now I'm watching War and Peace online at the "Lifetime," site. I think it's been just wonderful, but, unlike my Tolstoy experiences with "Anna Karenina," I haven't read the novel, so I'm not complaining about things left out or not properly portrayed. That can be an advantage.

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Anyone catch Doctor Thorne yet?  I have the first episode at the ready; just not sure I want to tackle a (albeit more straightforward) period piece with Fellowes and another perfect "Mary".

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I tried watching The Buccaneers last night but the acting was so bad that I turned it off.  We are spoiled!


tentativelyyours - where/when does it air?

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Well, I hope it come to the states, no matter the reviews.  I know JF is a bit of a prig but I do enjoy watching British dramas.  I am kind of obsessed.  

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I'm liking "Dr. Thorne" so far.  Phoebe Nicholls, who played Lady Flintshire, is in it. So is Alison Brie from "Mad Men."  

 

Another good show to check out is "A Place to Call Home" which is an Australian show set in the early 1950's.  Our PBS station runs it on Saturday evenings, but I believe you can also get it on ACORN.

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I tried watching The Buccaneers last night but the acting was so bad that I turned it off.  We are spoiled!

tentativelyyours - where/when does it air?

I thought the acting was fine, but was bothered with how much was changed from the book. They made it too soapy

 

I'm surprised the folks who've mentioned North and South haven't mentioned Brendan Coyle being in it. :D

 

Also an Outlander fan here. Read the books first years ago while browsing at the library and got sucked in and addicted. The casting for the show has been excellent.

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I finished The Duchess of Duke Street a few weeks ago and I loved it. It 's been awhile since I saw a series I enjoyed that much. It was really fun and well acted.

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I thought the acting was fine, but was bothered with how much was changed from the book. They made it too soapy

 

I'm surprised the folks who've mentioned North and South haven't mentioned Brendan Coyle being in it. :D

 

Also an Outlander fan here. Read the books first years ago while browsing at the library and got sucked in and addicted. The casting for the show has been excellent.

I thought the Buccaneers was a big let down. I was just coming off of having read The Titled Americans by Elisabeth Kehoe in addition to a few other books, so my expectations were clearly way too high. I felt like they skipped over and ignored so many of the details that made the stories of the women interesting. I'd love for someone to take another crack at this one day now that it seems like every network that ever was wants to have a successful scripted series. 

 

I'd actually love to see JF's take on the titled Americans because I actually think that he would be sympathetic to these women in spite of the clear feelings that he has about Americans in general. Just based on comments he's made in the past I think I'd like to be able to see what he could do. I'm less comfortable with the idea of him writing a show that's almost exclusively about Americans in Newport or New York. Hopefully The Gilded Age isn't the giant misfire that I think it's going to end up being. I totally want it to work but am expecting it to go the other way. 

Edited by Avaleigh
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I'm not sure what happened (or is happening) wrt Gilded Age. but it seems to have back-tracked to being unattached and unmentioned on Fellowes' IMDB page (I think it used to have attached to various production companies, whatever info is current requires member's options) ... 

Fellowes is being "coy" talking about now-being-free to pick it up again, but I'm not convinced anyone is going to meet his terms, given the glaring problems that resulted from tight-fisted control of Downton ... in any event, it's not "in production" ... it has a 2016 projected release date, but I think that's left over from it's last incarnation as a work-in-progress ... no cast, no network ... sigh. 

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I thought NBC optioned it.  There is no way they are not going to air it.  NBC loves money and Julian has proved himself.  NBC/Universal now owns USA Films (which became Focus Features) that released GOSFORD PARK and did the Oscar campaign for Julian Fellowes.  And they own PBS.  I cannot imagine them not working with him on it.

Edited by caligirl50

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I thought NBC optioned it.  There is no way they are not going to air it.  NBC loves money and Julian has proved himself.  NBC/Universal now owns USA Films (which became Focus Features) that released GOSFORD PARK and did the Oscar campaign for Julian Fellowes.  And they own PBS.  I cannot imagine them not working with him on it.

 

I don't believe that NBC/Universal owns PBS. They did purchase the former PBS Kids Sprout channel and renamed it Sprout. That meant that they purchased a lot of former PBS children's programs, but the original PBS "network" is just a group of independent stations that use programming supplied by PBS.

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Has anybody seen 'The time in between'? I think it's set in 1930's Spain? 

 

I loved this. I read the book years ago and gobbled up the series when it appeared on Netflix. The costumes are beautiful. It was hopeful, sweet and soapy with intrigue and great relationships. I really liked the lead. Worth a watch if you get the chance.

 

I've watched A Place to Call Home all the way through. It can be clunky at times, and the production value is low, but I enjoyed it.

 

Like others have mentioned I was so disappointed when I watched Berkeley Square and realized there was no second season.  Jason O'Mara was so young in that.

 

The Crown looks amazing.  Exactly my kind of show.

 

Going to look for Jericho and The Village. Couldn't get into Mercy Street but  I am just ending season one of Gran Hotel.

 

ABC or NBC (can't remember which) tried a Gilded Age show, from one of the Grey's Anatomy writers, about four years ago.  It was called "Gilded Lilies".  It didn't get made but I saw the pilot.  Sarah Bolger (Mary Tudor from "The Tudors") was the lead character.  Thought it had potential but it didn't get picked up.   For some reason, while I was on vacation in Nashville, there was a random cable station that aired all these unmade pilots in the middle of the night. I was in hog heaven. Gilded Lillies was one of the ones I saw.

 

Did anyone ever see the old PBS docu-series Manor House?  I watched it years ago and thought it was fascinating.

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Just started watching "When Calls the Heart" on Netflix. I think it takes place in 1910 in the Canadian coal mines and has Lori Laughlin.

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Another vote for Monarch of the Glen. Julian Fellowes is excellent in it as Kilwillie.

I'd also recommend The Barchester Chronicles, based on the Anthony Trollope novel. It's an older British series, and the production budget was probably not high. However, it features Donald Pleasence, Alan Rickman, Susan Hampshire, Clive Swift and Nigel Hawthorne... some of my favorites. :)

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Tried the new Amazon series "The Collection" after seeing a semi-positive review online with The Telegraph.  Saw what the review considered negative and a lot of it.  Problem is I never saw what the reviewer saw as the positive.  Used the word "sumptious" for a show that is flat bleak and overly dark even taking into consideration the period (post-World War II Paris).  It made the whole thing too flat, too claustrophobic and made the few attempts at high fashion seem almost garish and cheaply out of place.  Plus there are some serious production issues in that the show tries for creating luxury in moments and it feels half done and illustrates what seems a lack in budget to accomplish the atmosphere needed to carry the scenes.

The lead is flat and unappealing and lacks the dynamism needed for this type of role.  They have want I sensed was an attempt at a 'Don Draper' moment that really underscored how unfit for the role this actor is.  The direction and writing for that scene also didn't help.

In fact I had even less interest in this than the one and half episodes of Versailles I forced myself to sit through.  I'm not sure if it was the director's fault or the two lead actors playing the brothers Louis XIV and Phillipe D'Orleans but if I had to sit through another scene of either of them trying to eat the scenery with their bulging of the eyes and flaring of their nostrils (it was like The Soup re-enacting a telenovela) I was going to have to hurt someone.  It was not even bad enough to be funny good. 

I found Dr. Thorne decent enough the first episode but the heavy hand in portraying the "villain" was at odds with the otherwise almost too simple overall narrative.  The male and female lead were as bland as bland can be.  Too bland.  But only three episodes made it a simple watch when all is said and done.  Coupled with the trainwreck Downton turned out for me, it didn't generate much faith in Fellowes next project.

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I have found my people!

LOVED Cranford - just a few episodes, and I'm on second viewing because I missed so much the first time through. Much more humor, in very subtle places.

Loving Lark Rise to Candleford - every character is charming and interesting. "Mar" and "Par" makes me smile every time I hear it. Minnie is just a joy (when not driving us nuts!)

Also enjoyed Bletchley Circle. Wish there were more! Miss Fisher is a lot of fun.

Will  need to give North and South a try!  Saw first ep of Poldark, and liked it. Just got sidetracked with Lark Rise.

The Crown is wonderful.  Nicely paced, beautifully acted, very interesting. Amazon Prime also has a good documentary on Prince Phillip, which I had seen first, and offers good insight.

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The Halcyon Hotel in 1940 London provides the setting for ITV's new period drama The Halcyon (not to be confused with Syfy's Halcyon).

The Halcyon is produced by Left Bank Pictures, which also put out The Crown.

The first season will be 8 (1 hour?) episodes.  The first episode has aired in the UK.  I haven't seen it.

No word on when it will air in the US.

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Discovered Doctor Thorne: we watched 2 episodes but we liked it well enough. It's a decent short little story.

I watched the new Call the Midwife special with my mom. That was pretty good.

I'm gearing up for Victoria and can't wait for the new season of Mercy Street (which I recommend).

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I just finished The Halcyon and absolutely loved it!
The summaries mentioned spies, but that only comes into play in a handful of episodes. The show focuses on the relationships between the characters much in the same way as Downton... Except it moves much faster!
I think it was the closest thing to Downton I've watched actually, and I've seen quite a few of the shows referenced here... including:
 

On 07/01/2016 at 5:46 PM, feverfew said:

South Riding is a beautiful and bittersweet love story.

Tons of great recs in your post, but I wouldn't call South Riding a love story! Even if it is indeed sold as one. I watched it expecting romance and was sorely disappointed!

The show's made of three one-hour episodes. At the end of the first episode, you find out...

Spoiler

... that Sarah's (pretty insufferable) love interest is actually married! His wife is locked away in some institution.


So you already start feeling a bit uncertain about the romance...


Then halfway through the second episode, you find out...

Spoiler

 

... that the reason why the male lead lost his wife is that he RAPED her,
1) leading to her losing her mind and spending the rest of her life in a mental institution
2) leading to his daughter losing her mom and becoming quite a bit unstable as well!

After those reveals, I couldn't root for the character or the romance - in fact, I considered dropping the show right then and there, but since there was only one and a half hour left, I stuck it out... Anyway, apparently, the show couldn't root for any of this either: in hour three, the male lead falls off a cliff and dies, leaving the female lead as unattached as she was at the very beginning! First time I rejoiced over a love interest dying in a so-called "love story"... Felt pretty weird!

 

So in summary, as much as Anna Maxwell Martin is a treasure, I personally do not recommend South Riding AT ALL!

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22 hours ago, GinnyMars said:

I just finished The Halcyon and absolutely loved it!
The summaries mentioned spies, but that only comes into play in a handful of episodes. The show focuses on the relationships between the characters much in the same way as Downton... Except it moves much faster!
I think it was the closest thing to Downton I've watched actually, and I've seen quite a few of the shows referenced here... including:
 

Tons of great recs in your post, but I wouldn't call South Riding a love story! Even if it is indeed sold as one. I watched it expecting romance and was sorely disappointed!

The show's made of three one-hour episodes. At the end of the first episode, you find out...

  Hide contents

... that Sarah's (pretty insufferable) love interest is actually married! His wife is locked away in some institution.


So you already start feeling a bit uncertain about the romance...


Then halfway through the second episode, you find out...

  Hide contents

 

... that the reason why the male lead lost his wife is that he RAPED her,
1) leading to her losing her mind and spending the rest of her life in a mental institution
2) leading to his daughter losing her mom and becoming quite a bit unstable as well!

After those reveals, I couldn't root for the character or the romance - in fact, I considered dropping the show right then and there, but since there was only one and a half hour left, I stuck it out... Anyway, apparently, the show couldn't root for any of this either: in hour three, the male lead falls off a cliff and dies, leaving the female lead as unattached as she was at the very beginning! First time I rejoiced over a love interest dying in a so-called "love story"... Felt pretty weird!

 

So in summary, as much as Anna Maxwell Martin is a treasure, I personally do not recommend South Riding AT ALL!

I'm so sorry about that; there's nothing worse than expecting one sort of story and getting another! I should probably have put the emphasis on "bitter". (It happened to me too when I watched Jude the Obscure. Put me off Hardy for years).

But it made me think about the concept of "love stories". Is it only a love story, if it has a happy ending or protagonists worth rooting for? I would never call South Riding a romance, true, but love story? I'll still maintain that it is. Wide Sargossa Sea, the 'fanfic' written by Jean Rhys about Rochester's (of Jane Eyre fame) fatal meeting with his wife - that is a love story, even if we know from the beginning how terrible it'll end for Barbara. Same goes for Jude the Obscure, Tess D'Uberville, The Great Gatsby or The Age of Innocence. They're not only love stories -writers like Hardy and Wharton were way into social injustice etc, but they are love stories. My fault was in not making sure people would know that South Riding is a tragedy too, and I am truly sorry for that.

Apology-kitten:

KittenRescue_KittenCareHandbook.jpg

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On 8/21/2017 at 9:38 PM, GinnyMars said:

I just finished The Halcyon and absolutely loved it!
The summaries mentioned spies, but that only comes into play in a handful of episodes. The show focuses on the relationships between the characters much in the same way as Downton... Except it moves much faster!
I think it was the closest thing to Downton I've watched actually, and I've seen quite a few of the shows referenced here...

Does it have a self-contained story? I don't want to start watching a cancelled show if it ends with loose thread.
 

I've started watching The Duchess of Duke St though and am really enjoying it. It's the closest thing I've found to Upstairs Downstairs (for obvious reasons). Though I wish it would move a bit slower. I've watched 5 episodes and it's just galloped through so much plot. I would have loved to have seen more of her path to becoming such a great cook, her relationship with Edward and her establishment of the hotel. I can't quite imagine what story is going to be left to tell in the next 26 episodes?

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7 hours ago, AllyB said:

Does it have a self-contained story? I don't want to start watching a cancelled show if it ends with loose thread.

Ohhh, I hadn't looked it up yet, I didn't know it had been canceled! That sucks, I was so happy to have found a new show I enjoyed so much...

To answer your question... The biggest storyline does get resolved by the end of the season, yes. And as for the relationship aspect of it, well, the show follows those people's daily lives and those things are always bound to change, so... nothing's resolved or unresolved, I'd say?

You should give it a try. :)

Edited by GinnyMars
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Our local PBS station is in fund-raising mode.  They just played a 90-minute (minus pledge drive intermissions) episode called "I Miss Downton Abbey."  There were tears from me for more than one scene.

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Our local PBS is showing DA from the beginning on Saturday nights.  

I decided to step back and watch objectively.  Honestly, Mary is a bitch towards Edith from the first episode.  

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6 hours ago, AZChristian said:

Our local PBS is showing DA from the beginning on Saturday nights

Ours (WOSU) just started the whole thing over  on Sunday's at 6PM.  Whoopee! 

I agree Mary is still a bitch, but this time around I'm going to try  not to get obsessed with hatred toward her like I did the last time.   Try, I say.

I'm enjoying Thomas's story and it's fun to see the beginning of all the Bates and Anna angst.

I love how beautiful all the women look in their 1912 dresses and hairdos and of course Downton itself is the true star, it always takes my breath away.

I'm in for a second time around.  Maybe this time they'll listen to us shouting at them: "Don't waste your time with Sir Anthony, Edith, he's just not that into you!" "Don't drive so fast, Matthew!"  "Watch out for the soap by the bathtub!"  "Get a birth control thingy from the chemist!"

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Just saw on Facebook this morning that the Downton Abbey exhibition is moving from New York City to West Palm Beach, Florida - opening on November 10th.  And guess who is going to be in Florida on vacation while the exhibition is there?  Me!!!  And Mr. AZC has already agreed that we can go to see the exhibition on my birthday.

(We saw the original exhibition when it was at Winterthur in Delaware . . . but I'll be happy to see it again!!!)

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I went to both exhibits. This exhibit is more elaborate and includes furniture and whole rooms, like Lady Mary’s bedroom, not just clothing like the exhibit at Winterthur. There is extensive information on the characters and actors, and even holograms of some of the characters. Don’t miss it, and while you’re there, see Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s home, in Palm Beach. 

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3 hours ago, GrannySmith said:

I went to both exhibits. This exhibit is more elaborate and includes furniture and whole rooms, like Lady Mary’s bedroom, not just clothing like the exhibit at Winterthur. There is extensive information on the characters and actors, and even holograms of some of the characters. Don’t miss it, and while you’re there, see Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s home, in Palm Beach. 

Thanks so much for this info, GS.  Now I'm even more excited.  I thought the most beautiful costume at Winterthur was Edith's first wedding dress.  They had just a portion of an antique gown, and incorporated that into the costume for the show.  The embroidery was gorgeous - and seeing it on TV just didn't do it justice.

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8 hours ago, AZChristian said:

Thanks so much for this info, GS.  Now I'm even more excited.  I thought the most beautiful costume at Winterthur was Edith's first wedding dress.  They had just a portion of an antique gown, and incorporated that into the costume for the show.  The embroidery was gorgeous - and seeing it on TV just didn't do it justice.

The clothing at the exhibit in NYC had all different clothing from the other exhibit. You’ll be amazed. We winter in Florida and will probably go down to see the exhibit again, even though we saw it in July. It was that good. 

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I also went to both exhibits. The display for the clothing was better at Winterthur but that exhibit was all clothing so it makes sense. The Mary and Matthew engagement scene there was so great with the snow! I had tears in my eyes! We went on the last day of it and the gift shop was almost totally sold out. 

NYC exhibition had a lot of cool stuff like telegrams, photos, and jewelry BUT I'm calling fakery on the room displays as some of the items (for example the lamps and items on top of the dressers) were not the same ones from the show. I know this because I am totally nuts and I noticed lol. I thought the gift shop selections were not great either; but I liked the Mrs. Patmore's kitchen items. 

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I went to the Downton exhibit in NYC.  It was very enjoyable.  I liked all the details they showed from the show you may not really notice (or be able to see well) on screen, like the jewelry and the details of how they made the costumes.  I would highly recommend it to any fan.   

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I just went to the exhibition today . . . which has now moved to West Palm Beach, FL.  I saw the first exhibition in Winterthur, DE, before they decided to move it around the country.  To be honest, I liked the Winterthur exhibit better.  I think they did a better job of displaying some of the clothing (particularly Edith's first wedding gown and Mary's engagement-to-Matthew dress).  It was still great to see everything, though . . . 

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I don't know if any of you will be interested in this or not but I thought I would post it just in case. If you are interested in jewelry and antiques from this time period ( and others pieces) , there is a show on AVC ( Americas Value Channel) on Mondays and Thursdays from 5-10pm. It's called Antiques and Estate Jewelry with Sue. You can also watch it at shopavc.com. It's channel 224 on DirecTV. She has a variety of period pieces if you are into that.

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