Is ABC’s Gilded Lilys An Attempt to Copy Downton Abbey Success
Set in 1895 New York Gilded Lilys is the ABC’s upcoming big budget period drama, S.E. Smith over at Global Comment is not sure whether this spin on the sumptuous Downton Abbey style of drama is one that the American network can pull off.
We all know what happens when US networks attempt to remake UK shows; it’s usually an utter mess, to the point that one longs to put a paper bag over the head of the network to spare it the embarrassment of being seen in public alongside its creation. This is possibly one step worse, an attempt to capitalise on a meme that the network doesn’t fully understand, and can’t, because the US and the UK are two very different places with different audiences, histories, and creative approaches.
The story revolves around the lives of the Lilys, New York aristocracy with considerable wealth and power brought low by a family scandal that changed their fortunes. They open New York’s first luxury hotel, and the show is off to the races as the characters tangle with secrets, rivalries, and class collisions. Given that Shonda Rhimes is behind it, it’s safe to bet on extreme sudsiness, but that’s part of the fun; audiences do so love to see the rich behaving badly.
When a season is 13 or 23 episodes long, creators tend to start wandering, and that’s where Gilded Lilys may trip and fall. On cable, where seasons are shorter and there’s more demand to tighten up, it could be an unexpected hit, like Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, both of which have taken a uniquely US approach to the costume drama that celebrates the nation’s history and culture rather than trying to suppress it. On a network, it seems highly likely that it won’t have the drive, or the pull, to make it through a single season.
Source: Global Comment