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Whilst I was searching for bits of news last month, I came across a bunch of short reports concerning television shows and upcoming movies centered around the 19th century.

A bit late, but if you had not already heard, Downton Abbey has been renewed for its 6th, and supposedly final, season. Julian Fellowes went on record a few years ago, saying he would not continue the saga into World War II. It would end before then. –As a side note, I commented to a co-worker who is also a Downton fan, “It’s like Downton takes place from 1912 to the early 1940s. Then World War II happens. Then Call the Midwife comes about!”

The Gilded Age! Julian Fellowes mentioned years ago he was going to write The Gilded Age, a sort of American version of Downton complete with visits from the Vanderbilts and the Carnegies. Later, he said he wanted to give his heart and soul to Downton without distraction and would only pick up Gilded once Downton was completed. Gaaah, you’re killing me here, Mr. Fellowes! I so want to see Gilded Age happen! I would hope Shirley MacLaine makes an appearance. More importantly, I hope they stay in the Victorian and Edwardian times for more than one season. Granted, it would be interesting how Mr. Fellowes would address the American Civil War’s influence on the upper class Yankees.

Have you seen the previews for A Little Chaos? It predates the Victorians, but honestly, I cannot resist a costume drama. Besides Kate Winslet will be back in a corset for this and playing opposite of Alan Rickman. Costumers and history lovers everywhere unite! The film is about “A female landscape-gardener is awarded the esteemed assignment to construct the grand gardens at Versailles, a gilt-edged position which thrusts her to the very center of the court of King Louis XIV.” It comes out in April.

Of all the movies on the list, Far from the Madding Crowd is the one I am most eagerly looking forward to! “In Victorian England, the independent and headstrong Bathsheba Everdene attracts three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer; Frank Troy, a reckless Sergeant; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and mature bachelor.” The previews look excellent! Carey Mulligan who last played the female lead in another little literature adaption called The Great Gatsby, plays Bathsheba Everdene. This Everdene character created by Thomas Hardy, inspired another author, Susan Collins, to pen The Hunger Games and share the same last name, if different spelling. After I see this movie we shall compare and contrast the two Everdene/Everdeen. Yes, this will be on the test. Madding Crowd will be released in May.

Hugh Jackman with a shaved head playing Blackbeard, Roony Mara as Tiger Lily, Amanda Seyfried as Mary and even supermodel Cara Delevinge has a part in Pan! Based on the beloved book by J.M. Barrie. “The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.” The trailer looks fascinating. Slated to arrive in theaters in July.

Carey Mulligan continues her journey through the 19th century with another cinematic feature, Suffragette. “A drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.” Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Romola Garai round out the cast. Given Meryl’s involvement, I am shocked we have not heard more about this film. I hope it is not a limited release. Scheduled for September.

If one former Potter star wasn’t enough, Daniel Radcliffe is slipping into the role of Igor for the cinematic feature Victor Frankenstein, another Victorian literature adaptation of the writings of the young Mary Shelley. “Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.” James McAvoy plays the titular character. The gothic horror film opens up in October. Naturally.

“Based on the 1820 event, a whaling ship is preyed upon by a sperm whale, stranding its crew at sea for 90 days, thousands of miles from home,” In the Heart of the Sea has been rewritten from the non-fiction book of the same name about the whaling ship, Essex. The author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville is also aboard the vessel for this harrowing adventure. There is talk about Chris Hemsworth playing the main character and how this role could help him branch out from the brawn of Thor (despite the fact Hemsworth was in quite a few productions prior to landing the comic character, but I digress.) It comes out in December.

There has been much talk about the upcoming live action remake of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, “An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.” The cast is truly star-studded which can always go either way. Billy Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, and Christopher Walken as King Louie (that should be interesting!). At the moment the release date is set for April of 2016, so next year.