You may be wondering what you’re going to watch on television right now, especially if you’ve finished Orange is the New Black and the every episode of Friday Night Lights. If you like Downton Abbey, here are has some suggestions for shows to keep you entertained.The hit British series Downton Abbey is over now. What is an Anglophile or a fan of costume dramas to do?
The gowns, the motorcars, O’Brien’s bangs! If you really like Downton Abbey and need something to watch that captures the romance of the Edwardian era, I have similar shows to recommend to you. I hope they get you through your post-Downton letdown.
These cozy British mystery series from the BBC are based on short stories by English writer G.K. Chesterton. Parrish priest Father Brown solves crime in the most civilized, sympathetic way.
You may recognize the actor who plays Father Brown. Mark Williams from his previous role in the Harry Potter films where he played Mr. Weasley. If you had kids in the 90s, he was one of Cruella’s henchmen in 101 Dalmatians.
Watch five seasons, sixty episodes total of Father Brown via Netflix streaming.
A nice pivot from one’s standard England settling, the Netflix exclusive Cable Girls takes lace in Spain in the late 1920s. Season one is currently available with eight episodes.
Cable Girls is set at the Madrid telephone switchboard and follows four young women through changing times in “the modern workplace”.
In Spanish with subtitles, but worth it. Bustle describes the show as having a “modern, feminist message“. Also, the costuming is sumptuous.
Watch Cable Girls exclusively on Netflix via streaming
In one season made up of five episodes, follow the adventures of young women in the Women’s Land Army during World War II.
This ensemble drama follows the lives of women working on a farm as they serve their country and escape their old lives.
Available on Netflix via dvd or steaming
One of my favorite new shows this year! The Crown follows the first years of a young Queen Elizabeth II. I learned about elements of British history I never knew. It’s a detailed and opulent production. You can really tell it’s a multi-million dollar productions. The actors are top notch, especially Claire Foy as young queen Elizabeth, and John Lithgow as an elderly Winston Churchill.
Watch The Crown on Netflix.
See our list of what to watch on Netflix if you liked The Crown.
Call the Midwife
Five seasons of Call the Midwife make for a cozy binge-watching weekend. Nurse Jenny Lee goes to work at a hospital run by an order of nuns. She and other young nurses serve the poor population in London after World War II. Based on true stories.
Watch Call the Midwife on Netflix.
Inspector Christopher Foyle fights domestic crime in England during World War II. There are nine seasons of this Masterpiece favorite.
Watch Foyle’s War on Netflix.
This is the original Downton Abbey. The lives of both the upper class and the serving class during Edwardian England play out over 67 episodes.
A huge hit during its original run from 1971 to 1975, this BBC series was estimated to have an audience of a billion viewers. It was my first exposure to British drama, as my parents faithfully tuned in every Sunday night to watch the American rebroadcast on Masterpiece Theater.
Co-creator and star of the program, Jean Marsh, relaunched the show in 2010, but it only lasted for five episodes. I think Julian Fellowes should pay her some sweet Downton royalties.
Upstairs, Downstairs is available through Netflix via streaming or disc and through Amazon Instant Video for FREE if you are a Prime member.
Follow the story of the three Moss sisters in 1920 Liverpool as they deal with family problems and social change after The Great War. Less Upstairs, more Downstairs.
Lilies was broadcast by the BBC in 2007. The creator of the series claimed some of the events are taken from her grandmother’s real life post-war.
Keep an eye out for Steven Moyer of True Blood in the role of one sister’s employer. His pants come off in this one too.
Lilies is available for rental through Netflix on disc, or for purchase through Amazon Instant Video.
The House of Eliott
Another creation by Jean Marsh, I loved this series when it was first broadcast in the early 90s on Masterpiece Theater. Enjoy a top costume drama as the Eliott sisters start a fashion house in 1920s England.
Older, wiser sister Bea, and younger, flighty sister Evie, must make their way in the world after their father dies and their inheritance is kept from them. I enjoyed the Eliott sisters’ rise from dress shop owners to international couturiers.
The clothes in this series are sumptuous. Of course a show about haute couture in the 20s will have gorgeous costumes.
The House of Eliott ran for three seasons and saw the Eliott sisters through huge life changes. Be warned that because the show was cancelled unexpectedly, it ends without a clear resolution to some plot conflicts.
The show is available on disc through Netflix or you can purchase the complete series from Amazon.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
I am in love with this show from Australia my friend Susan Williams told me about. Based on a series of mystery novels, Miss Phryne Fisher rises from the wrong side of the tracks to inherit a fortune and take 1920s Melbourne by storm.
Each episode cost a million dollars to film, and you can see every cent of it in the vintage automobiles, beautiful interior sets, and in Miss Fisher’s opulent wardrobe.
The supporting cast is as good as the lead, played by Essie Davis. The ensemble cast joins in the fun and danger of solving the crime of the week while making progress on the secret from the past that shadows Miss Fisher.
You can watch this series on Netflix through streaming or disc or the dvds are available through Amazon.
If you still harbor a secret and forbidden longing for some sweet early-twentieth-century costume drama, I recommend Brideshead Revisited (the 80s miniseries, not the recent film) or The Forsyte Saga (a marvelous turn from Damien Lewis from the series Homeland).
If you’d prefer some frightfully dry wit of the same era, Jeeves and Wooster, starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie is one of the best programs ever.
Enjoy your weekend, whatever that is!
If you like this post, please Pin, Tweet, or share on Facebook! You may also like our suggestions of what to watch on Netflix if you like The Crown and quirky tv shows on Netflix for Weirdos.
Anna the mutton years
Sunday 28th of December 2014
Great list. Also The Onedin Line if you got that in the US. It was on in Britain in the 70s and about a shipping line in Georgian times. Also how about the civil war show North & South I think.
Saturday 26th of July 2014
This couldn't be more timely -- I just broke my toe and have to stay off my feet for a week. Just binge watched The Paradise Season One and needed DVD recommendations. Thanks!
Dr. Margaret Rutherford
Saturday 5th of July 2014
Loved this list! How much fun. I watched Upstairs Downstairs for years and adored it. Will bookmark this for sure. Thanks Anne. Gosh, my own Roger Ebert, but for streaming...
Thursday 3rd of July 2014
I think I'm the only person who hasn't watched Downton Abbey, and I know I would love it. Thanks for reminding me to put it on my netflix!
Monday 13th of January 2014
I love this post! I loved Upstairs, Downstairs and I will be watching the rest of your suggestions. Also liked The Forsyte Saga.
No spoiler alerts on Downton! I watched Episode 3, Season 4 through the link Lois provided, but I didn't want to step ahead. I did it because I wanted to watch the Golden Globes.
BTW, I just came across a movie coming out soon with Dan Stevens. Hugh Bonneville is in "The Monuments Men" and Sybil is in a upcoming movie with Colin Farrell. (All these "L's" I hope I got them right!)
Monday 20th of January 2014
I saw a commercial for The Monument Men and noticed Hugh. He looked so young, compared to how he looks on DA.