Must-See Cult TV Shows

Whether you’re a fan of ebullient musical numbers or
sleek period dramas, there’s never been a better time to love television.

Nick Briggs / ITV for Masterpiece
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Downton Abbey

Plot Summary: Set in the 1910s, this BBC blockbuster
follows the inhabitants of Downton Abbey, a grand estate belonging to the Earl
and Duchess of Grantham. The series is a true ensemble piece, weaving together
complex plotlines involving over 20 characters (nobility and servants alike),
as they navigate the social upheaval of World War I; unrequited love stories,
malicious plots and class tension abound.

Appeals To: People who love witty banter, meticulously
produced period dramas, British repression or Maggie Smith.

Proof of Rabid Fans: “Downton Mania,” as it’s called,
has become so widespread that the New
York Times
recently ran a piece on fans who hosted Abbey-themed viewing parties,
complete with costumes, period-appropriate food and a formal Downton Abbey drinking game.

Where to Watch: The second season is airing Sunday
nights at 9 p.m. EST on PBS. Past
episodes can be streamed online at pbs.org and on Netflix.