Rahul is a TV addict who can't get enough of twisted, gasp-inducing shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" and "Black Mirror".
What TV Shows Are Like Downton Abbey?
The aristocratic Crawley family lives comfortably in the fictional estate of Downton Abbey. The house has been divided into two distinct social classes - the high-born, and their loyal servants. If there is someone who knows all your secrets, it’s definitely the people who do all your work as they’re required to keep track of everything you do. And it looks like the Crawley household has a lot to hide as they’re constantly having family meetings behind closed doors.
The show starts with the sinking of the Titanic, where Lord Grantham’s only remaining male heir dies, leaving him to search for a new successor. Other great historical events depicted in the show include the First World War, the Spanish influenza pandemic, the Irish war of independence, and many other major world events. Downton Abbey doesn’t have central lead characters like most shows. Almost everyone in the cast has an intriguing background and a storyline of their own, making for a captivating mashup of disapparate storylines.
This British drama series ended in 2016 after six seasons, all masterpieces. To fill the gaping hole this series left, here’s a couple of shows like Downton Abbey to keep you hooked for a while.
Series Like Downton Abbey
- Peaky Blinders
- The Crown
- Game of Thrones
1. Peaky Blinders
If we’re listing great British TV shows, there’s no way Peaky Blinders could be left behind. Based in Birmingham, England, The Peaky Blinders were actual urban street gangs that operated until the end of the First World War. This British series dramatizes historical events to some extent, but doesn’t stray too far from the course.
The series revolves around Thomas Shelby, the war hero, who leads one of the most notorious gangs along with other members of his family, as a result of the economic chaos. He understands the concept of “survival of the fittest”, and will take any risk necessary to ensure his family’s survival amidst all the mayhem. It’s a pretty common premise if you look closely, but Peaky Blinders stands out with its great writing and brilliant performances.
Other than Cillian Murphy who plays the lead character, Tom Hardy and Adrian Brody steal the show in every scene they’re in. For the first 3 seasons, this sly series remained more or less obscure. The fourth season, however, has brought some good fortune along with some captivating drama, making the series mainstream. Everyone is binge-watching his series all of a sudden, wondering how they missed out on one of the best series like Downtown Abbey in the first place.
Everything from the costumes to the background score is perfect, taking you back to the past and sucking you in its grandiose world. Our charming protagonist sure isn’t a hero as we’re clearly shown multiple times, but we can’t help but root for him. Family is the most important thing at the end of the day, and when we see Thomas fight for them, something inside us can understand his decisions, however cruel they may seem.
If you don’t want to miss out on an epic TV gem, go watch Peaky Blinders.
The 1997 movie about the greatest oceanic tragedy might have told the timeless romantic story of Jack and Rose, but what about others on-board this presumably “unsinkable ship”. Titanic is a 2012 mini-series following the lives of people inside the ship. The show comes from the writer and creator of Downton Abbey, so its credentials are great. Everybody knows by now how this dreadful story ends, but sometimes the journey is just as important, if not more than the ending.
We know enough about the ship already, so now it’s time to learn about the people who didn’t know they were going on a one-way trip. A lot of people had to say goodbye to their loved ones since there were not enough lifeboats for everybody. People who boarded the ship were looking forward to the greatest adventure of their lives, but who could’ve foreshadowed such a tragedy.
Watch it, even if you know the outcome as it’s about much more than the iceberg getting the better of the ship. The storyline focuses on individuals associated with one of history’s most catastrophic events. Since it’s a miniseries, it only has one season containing four episodes, which will not take much of your time.
3. The Crown
Inspired by true events, The Crown follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II before and after she started her reign. Making a biography about someone is hard enough, but if it’s about the Queen who is still alive, it makes the task even more challenging due to controversies that may follow. The Crown shows you the personal life of the longest-running monarch as she deals with her newly earned power. However, with great power comes great responsibility, and the young queen has to make tough decisions, keeping the citizen’s well-being in mind. Being a queen is not as glamorous as presented in various cartoons or movies, and this show clearly shows that.
A ruler has to put the country’s needs before their own and sacrifice their dreams for the greater good. And since it’s a monarchy, her decisions are final, so she has to live with them no matter the consequences, further raising the stakes. Eventually, the Crown is merely a symbol; real supremacy is being able to separate personal life from duty. This Netflix special has only come out with two seasons with a third one on the way, so watch the adventures of Queen Elizabeth II as she becomes one of UK’s most influential rulers.
This new version of the 1975 TV series follows Captain Ross Poldark, a soldier returning home after the American Revolutionary War. Upon arrival, he finds out that his father is dead and his romantic partner is about to marry someone else. First-hand war experience changes people, and Poldark is not the same man anymore. Looking at death really up close and barely making it out alive himself has messed him up. The things he once held close to him don’t matter as much anymore. Poldark may still be at war with himself.
At a time like this, a man needs a sense of home to comfort him. When familiar faces start turning their backs on him, he is forced to deal with incoming situations in a more hostile way.
This British drama series combines action, romance, and adventure, making for a stunning cinematic experience. Those looking for a series like Downton Abbey will love Poldark's slow-burn storylines.
Vikings may just be History channel’s greatest on-screen production to the date. It follows the adventures of Ragnar Lothbrok, a man who desperately wishes to travel to new lands and discover its mysteries. Ragnar isn’t just ambitious, he’s extremely curious too; he wants to learn about everything that interests him, no matter the cost. Travis Fimmel, the actor who plays Ragnar might be one of the best casting choices in recent TV history.
Like every person looking to find meaning in this unpredictable world, the Vikings pray to Norse gods such as Odin and Thor. In fact, religion is one of the major storylines present in the show. As these vicious raiders visit different places, they discover other deities, which forces some of them to reevaluate the reality of their own divine beings.
The show is also praised for having one of the best battle sequences shown on TV. The viewers clearly know that the people they’re cheering for are actually the bad guys, but we can’t help it. Their devotion to god in addition to exceptional fighting skills makes them appear unbeatable, which may very well be the case. The characters have unique storylines and go through many changes over the course of five seasons.
There is enough material for many more seasons, so the fans need not worry just yet. If you haven’t watched the show already, you’re really missing out on one of the best TV shows available. It may not depict historical events accurately, but who cares when the brilliant writing and amazing performances from the cast glue you to your seats. If you're looking for a classic show like Downton Abbey, Vikings should be right up your alley.
6. Game of Thrones
Do I even need to write about this show? There are only a select few who haven’t heard about Game of Thrones. This HBO production follows people living in the fictional world of Westeros. Unlike other shows on the list that are rooted in the real world, Game of Thrones has dragons and ice zombies aka white walkers. When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die; there is no middle ground. So get ready to watch people plot and plan their way to the infamous iron throne.
This massive world comes from the genius mind of George R.R. Martin’s best-selling books. It doesn’t follow the life of a single character like most shows. Just like Downton Abbey, everyone has a unique story arc of their own. There is no such thing as the good or bad guy in GOT. Only decisions they make at the moment define who they are.
Who will you root for when both sides are fighting for something they believe in? Decide for yourself when you set foot in the treacherous world of Westeros.
Did I miss out on any series like Downton Abbey? Let me know in the comments section.
Rahul Pandey (author) from Delhi, India on January 12, 2020:
I'm yet to catch up on The Crown. Poldark is uncannily consistent.
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on January 04, 2020:
The Crown and Poldark are the only shows I've seen from this list. I really enjoyed both.