Happy Easter!!!!  So excited that a new show starts today that is from the creators of Downton Abbey.  It looks will need the new channel Epix.  I added it to my AppleTv subscription (there is a free trial) and the first episode is already available to view.

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“Belgravia,” a six-episode British period drama from “Downton Abbey” creator Julian Fellowes (adapted from his 2016 novel), is everything you want it to be, but not one bit more: a pedigreed, crunchy-gravel story with all the trimmings and light melodramas, set in London’s most affluent neighborhood in 1841, where an old family secret is just dying to get out.

The viewers are in on this secret almost from the beginning, which turns the series into a protracted exercise of hurry-up-and-wait, to see if things turn out all right. The real tension in “Belgravia” (premiering Easter Sunday on premium cable channel Epix) is attuned to class and status, as it usually is in Fellowes’ work.

Here, a successful building developer, James Trenchard (Philip Glenister), and his instinctively circumspect wife, Anne (Tamsin Greig), have risen to a comfortable rung on the ladder during a time of progress in the early years of the Victorian age.

The Trenchards carry a potentially ruinous secret, however, dating back to Brussels in 1815, where, on the eve of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, their lovely but socially ambitious daughter, Sophia (Emily Reid), fell in love with Lord Edmund Bellasis (Jeremy Neumark Jones), the sole heir of the Earl and Countess of Brockenhurst (Tom Wilkinson and Harriet Walter, respectively).

This flashback prologue (and its tragic outcome) occurs in short order in the first episode, so it’s not a huge spoiler to simply note the unplanned birth of a baby boy, who is spirited away by the Trenchards to an adoptive family.

Decades later, in more mutual social orbits, Anne feels compelled to tell the Countess about the grandson she never knew she had. Rather than keep a lid on it, the Countess sees an opportunity. As in “Downton Abbey,” the focus is on the old rules of rightful vs. presumed inheritance, hidden paternity and the measures people will take to retain what they think they are owed – including the servants, who can be coerced to spy on their employers.

John Bellasis (Adam James), the Countess’s greedy nephew (and “Belgravia’s” designated villain), can’t wait to get his hands on the family fortune. But, in another “Downton”-esque move, the true heir begins to emerge: a solid, hard-working, middle-class gentleman, Charles Pope (Jack Bardoe), that secret baby, all grown up and puzzled as to why half of Belgravia is suddenly desperate to make his acquaintance.

“Belgravia” is often more basic than captivating, even with all its 19th-century grandeur and two shipshape performances from Walter and Greig, whose characters ally themselves to stage-manage a standard-issue conclusion. It’s the sort of ending any viewer will have already heard coming from several clip-clops away.




Holy Catfight… I love Real Housewives of New York City

Tonight was the season premiere of the Real Housewives of New York City on Bravo. Thanks Grimsley for getting me hooked on this show, it really is entertaining. I don’t know who I like to watch more, Lu Ann “it’s like Mrs. De Lesseps” or snarky Bethenny Frankel. I saw Bethenny in some magazine 2 years ago and spent the whole day trying to figure out who she was, even thinking I had met her in person before I realized that she was the runner up in the Martha Stewart Apprentice. Hilarious. She was so funny on that show and was so mad she lost.

Anyway, this show is pure joyful delight and I highly recommend it. You will be horrified by Ramona and so creeped out by Alex and Simon, yuck. Jill is fun and the new one Kelly looks promising. I actually have seen her in person at Calypso in East Hampton. She is stunning in person and has two adorable little girls. I hope the original housewives don’t claw her eyes out! Stay tuned on Tuesdays.

Love Love Love True Beauty

My new favorite show this year is True Beauty on ABC, Tuesday nights at 10 pm. Vanessa Minello, Cheryl Tiegs and Nole Ryan are the judges and the game is to find the most beautiful person in the house. But the hilarious secret is that there are hidden cameras everywhere recording all the chatter. The two with the lowest score each week go to the Hall of Beauty and plead their case. The loser says goodbye but not before Vanessa shows them the BAD videos of their behavior. It is so funny. I have been thoroughly entertained. I am pulling for the beauty queen. Stay tuned!