When “Downton Abbey” ended its award-winning six-year run on PBS in January, fans wondered what was next for the cast and creator Julian Fellowes. The prolific Fellowes – who counts an Oscar and Emmys among his accomplishments – didn’t take long. His new project, which just premiered, is an adaptation of an 1835 novel from one of his favorite writers, Anthony Trollope, who he holds in high regard next to the likes of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.
Title: “Julian Fellowes Presents Doctor Thorne”
Year it began: 2016
Where it can be seen: Amazon Prime
Who’s in it: Tom Hollander, Stefani Martini, Ian McShane
Typical episode length: 40 minutes
Number of episodes: 4
Brief plot description: A young couple has their romance thwarted by family greed and dark secrets.
Why it’s worth watching: This is for anyone who can’t get enough Jane Austen, English period dramas or suffers from “Downton” withdrawal. It’s got everything from the favorite archetypes (a smart young heroine, an insufferable wealthy suitor, a domineering mother, a rich American visitor) to familiar circumstances (having to marry into money to keep the family estate, battles over class lines, even murder) and multiple gorgeous estates. Each episode is bookended with the jovial Fellowes chatting up the show from a red velvet chair in front of a fireplace – and conjuring images of Alastair Cook. Though the directing and some acting is a bit self-conscious, even silly at times, the series has gold in star Tom Hollander (“The Night Manager”) as the quiet and steady Dr. Thorne who unselfishly spent his life caring for his “niece” and helping others.