Bring home ‘The Gilded Age’ season one with plenty of bonus features

Category: Blu-ray's and DVD's

The hit period drama The Gilded Age captured the hearts and attention of HBO viewers. The entire first season is now available on a 3-disc DVD set. The bonus features take fans into the story and the history, making this set even more interesting and enjoyable.

There are featurettes going inside each of the nine episodes, which is a great way to learn about the storylines as they progress. For a synopsis of the entire season, these featurettes round out the whole of the stories, but don’t stop there. First watch the episodes and then the bonus features summing them up.

The series takes place in the early 1880s in New York, just after the Civil War. Two groups of people are “slugging it out,” as creator Julian Fellows explains. At the heart of the show is the fight between old money and new money. The old established families in NYC must now deal with the newcomers who have made their fortunes following the war. As America rebuilt there were plenty of businesses that shot up and these new millionaires were eager to join the ranks of the upper echelon in NYC.

Cynthia Nixon explains about her “spinster” character Ada that she is eager for change whereas her sister Agnes is afraid of it. Christine Baranski who plays Agnes says her character cannot stand the new ostentatious people. Agnes is a strong woman who comes off as hard, yet deep down she has good intentions. Taissa Farmiga plays Gladys who according to the actor, “has a rebellious nature” and craves independence yet is mired in the society of the time.

Morgan Spector plays George and describes him as a fist in a velvet glove.” Blake Ritson (Oscar) jokes that the most challenging part for him was keeping his mustache the same for the entire season. His character has a hunger for the high life. And Thomas Cocquerel (Tom) says his character comes from no money and must find a way to fit into this high society.

The scenes are like paintings. The attention to detail is amazing. There is a set tour of the Russell mansion by Carrie Coon (Bertha) who shows and explains just how grand the era was. The great mansions in Newport, Rhode Island inspired the houses. Most of the furniture and designs on the sets are reupholstered antiques and historical reproductions. A lot of research went into the details of the sets and it shows.

Another interesting feature looks at the black elite of the time. This is an eye-opening look at the history around the time just after the war.

As with all historical dramas, the costumes play a big part in the series, and the actors were just as awed by them as the viewers. As they say, the “costumes are a character”. They are exquisite. Another interesting feature looks at how they created the sets and built a street in NYC. By combining pieces of actual New York with a back lot and plenty of CG, it all comes together seamlessly in this ornate and lavish period drama.

The show is all about the confluence of old money and new money and Baranski says it is “an education into a certain period of American history.”

Fans of this well-loved series can now own the entire first season along with all these amazing and enlightening bonus features. Season two is on the horizon.

The Gilded Age is rated TV-MA, for mature audiences for strong language and uncomfortable topics.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA. Follow her on Twitter.