EPL's Favorite TV Dads

June 14, 2016

tv dads
TV dads Robert Crawley, Homer Simpson, Ned Stark, and Dre Johnson (l to r).

Father’s Day is less than one week away, and that party you’re planning for your dad is really coming together.  You’ve already gift wrapped a fashionable necktie, ordered brats for the cookout, and scoured StubHub for tickets to see the Cubs beat those dastardly Pirates.  Well, here on Off the Shelf we’re also planning a special Father’s Day celebration, and we need your help.  You see, this Sunday we’re saluting our favorite TV dads, and between now and then, we’d like to invite you to share yours.  Please let us know at EPL’s Favorite TV Dads where you can choose from candidates like Ned Stark, Homer Simpson, and the Earl of Grantham or write in your own.  Then, check back with Off the Shelf on Father’s Day when we highlight all of EPL’s picks.  Stay tuned.

A Post-'Downton Abbey' Survival Kit

March 9, 2016

downton 4

The final episode of Downton Abbey aired this past Sunday evening, and now that we’ve reached Day 3 in this strange, post-Downton world, it’s likely that even casual fans have started suffering symptoms of withdrawal.  Do not panic, dear Downton lovers.  You see, we’ve assembled a Post-Downton Abbey Survival Kit featuring Downton-related documentaries, BBC shows, books, cast updates, humor, and much more.  It is the next best thing to a seventh season and specially designed to ease you through this difficult time.  So please try to keep calm, friends, and carry on knowing that Off the Shelf is here for you.

Downton-Like DVDs

If you’ve already binged Upstairs Downstairs and worn out your copy of Gosford Park, don’t hesitate to give these series a try:

the pallisersThe Pallisers

Set in the palatial country houses and grand Mayfair salons of mid-Victorian England, this captivating BBC saga of wealth, passion, and power follows an aristocratic family through three generations and begins when Lady Glencora is forced to marry a rising politician named Palliser.  Based the celebrated novels of Anthony Trollope.


paradiseThe Paradise

Instead of an estate, this Victorian romance from the BBC is set in Britain’s first department store.  Telling the rags-to-riches story of shop girl Denise, the series is filled with great characters, intrigue, affairs, and a realistic look at Britain’s class system.



secrets of highclere castleSecrets of Highclere Castle

Famous today as the setting of Downton, England’s 1,300-year-old Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell.  This riveting documentary shows how both the aristocrats and the army of servants lived when the castle was the social epicenter of Edwardian England.  Also see how the current owners – Lord and Lady Carnarvon – live today.


Also try these DVDs…


Continue reading “A Post-'Downton Abbey' Survival Kit”

Remedies for Downton Abbey Withdrawal

February 21, 2012

Worried about how to cope now that the second season of Downton Abbey is over? You can always play with dolls. There’s actually a set of printable paper dolls based on the show, posted by New York Magazine’s Vulture blog.  Dolls include Maggie Smith’s character dowager countess Violet Crawley with a bustled dress and multiple facial expressions, youngest daughter Sybil Crawley wearing a NOW t-shirt,  footman Thomas Barrow with an “evil” mask and cape, and of course Matthew and Mary. Along with books (check out the reading list here), YouTube parodies, even needlepoint pillows, you’ll be able to make it through until season three begins. Read more about the paper dolls in this NYT article.


Happy 150th Birthday, Edith Wharton

January 24, 2012

January 24 is the 150th anniversary of Edith Wharton’s birth. A native New Yorker, her birthday is being celebrated throughout the city. Some of her most well-known work includes The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and The Age of Innocence. Yesterday’s New York Times has a wonderful article about her and her connection to the popular BBC series Downton Abbey. And check out the accompanying slide show, as well – it’s somewhat sobering to know that Wharton’s childhood home at West 23rd Street is now home to Starbucks.


Downton Abbey Addicts Rejoice

September 12, 2011

For anyone who loved the recent Masterpiece production of Downton Abbey and want to know more about its creator, check out this “behind the scenes” article in today’s New York Times.  Julian Fellowes is the quintessential “Renaissance man” – accomplished actor, author, and screenwriter, winning an Academy Award for his first produced screenplay of Gosford Park. And now we can look forward to the second season of Downton Abbey (beginning January 8).


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