1. Upstairs, Downstairs
Before Downton, there was Upstairs, Downstairs. Originally on the air from 1971 to 1975, it was the first series to explore the class distinctions between the wealthy family “upstairs” and their servants “downstairs.” The original series followed the Bellamy family who lived in a posh London townhouse and their servants. Like Downton, events like the First World War, the sinking of the Titanic, and early 20th century politics were explored. The series got a reboot in 2010, with a new family moving into the townhouse in 1936—you might notice The Crown’s Claire Foy and ER’s Alex Kingston in the cast. While it’s tough to find a place to stream the original series, you can watch both seasons of the reboot on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Watch on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
2. Grand Hotel
To change things up (and get outside of dramas set in the United Kingdom), try the Spanish-language drama Grand Hotel on Netflix. Set in—what else—a luxurious hotel, the show follows a young man who poses as a footman to investigate his sister’s disappearance.
Stream on Netflix.
3. The Crown
Follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.
Watch on Netflix
4. Young Victoria
The story of how an unassuming little girl rose to be the most powerful woman in the world.
Stream on Amazon Prime.
Based on the novels by Winston Graham (and a remake of the 1975 series), this BBC show follows the main character Ross Poldark who returns to Cornwall, England, after fighting in the Revolutionary War. He finds that much has changed—the girl he loves is engaged to his cousin, his father is dead, and his ancestral home is in shambles. Like Downton, you’ll find tenuous family dynamics, love triangles, and class struggles in all three seasons of the show (a fourth one is in the works).
Watch on Amazon Prime.