PBS is hungry to find the next British series that can compete with the ratings and popularity of Downton Abbey, and they have their fingers crossed that it’s Victoria. Both series came through ITV, and are giving Americans a glimpse inside a life and a time that tells the story of the royals. And PBS is also hoping that their timing is just right, because the series The Crown on Netflix has created so much interest, but won’t be delivering a new season until November, 2017.
PBS is hoping that like The Crown on Netflix, which tells the story of a young Queen Elizabeth, the ITV series Victoria will give Queen Victoria, who most picture as a stout old woman, the same treatment (and the same top ratings) says the Inquisitr. The series Victoria on PBS will start with Princess Victoria as a teenager at the time that her reign as queen begins. But unlike Elizabeth, who was already married when she became the Queen of England, the series Victoria on PBS will see a young unmarried queen.
— Chrissy Dean (@ladydiskette) January 16, 2017
Like Downton Abbey, Victoria will be a feast for the eyes, says Forbes. And if the ratings in the U.K. on ITV are any indication, Victoria on PBS will be a hit, but not on the level of Downton Abbey. PBS even gave Victoria the old Downton Abbey night and time slot, beginning this week, which will make it easy for fans of a British costume drama to slide back into their old seat.
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PBS is hoping to get even 80 percent of the viewers from Downton Abbey, and that will be considered a home run. But it seems that there is something working against Victoria on PBS that was not an issue for its run on ITV. Victoria aired on ITV in the U.K. from August until October, before The Crown premiered on Netflix. For American audiences, Victoria will seem a bit dull by comparison, with a much lower budget.
The Crown costs more than $4.9 million, whereas Victoria is estimated at $1.5 million. The Crown looks lush by all costume dramas, and is the most expensive Netflix series to date. Downton Abbey had the advantage over both series to only have to lean on a historical timeline, but it didn’t have to be true to a book, or to an actual storyline from history.
— Masterpiece PBS (@masterpiecepbs) January 16, 2017
The Los Angeles Times says that Victoria is good, but not as entertaining as The Crown on Netflix. Victoria is a seven-part series that has already been renewed for a second season on ITV. Victoria will begin with a teenager who everyone is trying to manipulate, and over her reign, she turns into one of the most famous leaders, and female leaders in particular, in British history.
But when you compare Victoria to Downton Abbey, something is missing that made the latter a success, which is an Upstairs Downstairs kind of relationship. Downton Abbey not only told the story of the Crawley family, but of the people who lived downstairs. The only similar story that Victoria has is the relationship between Victoria’s dresser, Miss Skerrett, and her cook, Charles Elmé Francatelli. Though these people were real, there is no historical basis for the relationship.
— Tangela Ekhoff (@tangelaekhoff) January 16, 2017
Critics are suggesting that some injection of the historical timeline would help. Sharing what is happening with the abolitionist movement and steam power might help the narrative, and put the story in context.
Will you watch the PBS series Victoria?
[Featured Image by PBS]