Weekend Living: Miss Downton Abbey? Try 1 of these 5 Great Shows on Netflix

Since the (ugh...so tragic!) end of the third season of Downton Abbey, I've found myself craving something equally delicious to watch on television.

After a bit of searching I came across a few fantastic miniseries (all currently available for viewing on Netflix), which are just as good and wonderfully satisfying as Downton Abbey.

I figured I might not be the only one looking for some great new shows to watch, so I figured I'd share. Check out my picks and let me know if you've seen any of these, or have others to recommend!


1. Call the Midwife
Based on the memoir of the same name by Jennifer Worth, this fantastic BBC drama follows Jenny Lee, a newly qualified midwife who goes to work at a nursing convent in 1950s East London.

The series tells the heartbreaking--and heartwarming--stories of working as a midwife in the rough neighborhood, as well as following along with the personal stories of love and friendship among the women. The show is clever and sweet, and beautifully shot (also...fabulous 50s fashion!).

The girls ride around town on bicycles, sneak cigarettes while hanging out the convent window, and spend their evenings listening to records in their pretty retro slips. Jessica Raine, who plays Jenny, is absolutely gorgeous; she looks like a glamorous old Hollywood star and is such a delight to watch.

I gobbled up all 6 episodes of the first season on Netflix, and am excited to start watching Season 2, which starts airing tonight (March 31st) on PBS in the US.

2. Land Girls
Another wonderful BBC drama! Reminiscent of A League of Their Own, this one is based on the lives and times of the women in the British Women's Land Army during World War II. The WLA was an organization created during the war that recruited women to fill agricultural jobs left vacant by the men who went off to fight.

Land Girls focuses on a group of 4 girls working on the Hoxley Estate, all of whom joined (or were drafted) for different reasons.

From beautiful and wealthy Nancy Morell, who was drafted to join against her will and soon enters into an illicit romance--to sisters Bea and Adele, who volunteered for the service in order to escape their abusive father, the characters and storylines are fantastic. I do, however, admit that what I most love about this one is the 40s clothing--such gorgeous fashion!

The first season is available on Netflix, with two others after that I'm going to try and hunt down online.

3. Bomb Girls 
My new favorite!! 

This series is Canadian, and tells the story of the women working in a Canadian munitions factory during World War II. It centers primarily on the story of Gladys, a recently-engaged wealthy socialite who goes to work in the factory despite her parent's objections.  She has to prove that she's more than a spoiled rich girl to her coworkers at the factory, and ends up learning a thing or two about herself in the process.

My friend Ilana was in town for a few days and as we both weren't feeling well, we spent most of the day on Friday cuddled up on the couch eating chocolate, and watching the first 6 episodes of the series. It was a Good Friday indeed! 

Season 2 just started airing on the Reelz channel in the US this past week, so I'm going to have to catch up on it and add that to my weekly watching schedule. Another great show featuring gorgeous 40s fashion and music--definitely one to watch if you (like me!) love the era.

4. The Grand
This British series is a few years older--from the late-90s, and takes place in a Manchester hotel just after World War I. This show features much of that same upstairs/downstairs theme as Downton Abbey, which is one of my favorite things about it. The story opens with the suicide of the hotel accountant, who leaves behind a note revealing that the hotel is in terrible debt.

The owner's wayward brother steps in to repay the debts and take over as an equal partner, but his motives are a bit questionable and it's soon revealed that his money may be coming from some shady dealings. Intrigues (and romance!) ensue.

The entire series (18 episodes) is available for streaming.

5. The Palace
This is definitely the most guilty-pleasure of the group, but I love it! Unlike the others, this series takes place in modern-day England after the death of the fictional king. It's basically what would happen if Gossip Girl had an affair with Prince Harry and gave birth to a soap opera.

The handsome eldest son (seen above with his Brad Pitt-like jawbones), who up until his father's death was known for little more than drinking and sleeping around, is crowned king and now has to prove to England--and himself--that he is up to the task.

Add in an awful scheming sister who is pissed that she wasn't made queen, a younger Prince Harry-meets-Chuck Bass-like brother, a Jane Seymour-esque mother who drowns her sorrows in gin & tonics, and palace full of bumbling, gossiping servants, and you've got one deliciously addictive show!

Eugene actually watched a few episodes of this one with me and admitted that "it's all right," which for him is basically a ringing endorsement.

This entire 8-episode series is available on Netflix.

Have you seen any of these shows? Have any other favorites you think I might like? Let me know in the comments! 

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