Photo: Courtesy of PBS

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Downton Abbey (PBS, 2011–2016)
Premise
In waning days of British aristocracy (show is set between 1912 and 1926), Crawley family clings to rigid rules upstairs as loyal staff toils downstairs.

Why It's Delicious
Tradition informs life's every facet, so any transgression— sex, interclass marriage, incorrect fork usage—elicits tingly thrills. Also: gorgeous costumes, opulent sets. Sure, soap opera–level dialogue, but no matter; could watch on mute and still be delighted. <

Cultural Touchstone
Maggie Smith—dowager countess, barb slinger, torchbearer of dying world view—steals every scene. Best quote: "What is a wheekend?"

One to Watch
Season 2 Christmas special, when longed-for romance finally materializes: "You've lived your life, and I've lived mine. And now it's time we lived them together." Saucy!