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The Boston Globe

Television

Television Review

‘The Paradise’ takes on class and commerce

Every British period import these days, it seems, is destined to be compared to “Downton Abbey.” Can [fill in the blank] match “Downton” when it comes to inspiring international gossip about lords, ladies, butlers, and maids? Can it make primogeniture go prime time?

So here’s the answer. Like “Call the Midwife” and “Mr. Selfridge,” PBS’s two most recent British series imports, “The Paradise” is not the new “Downton Abbey.” I definitely can’t see the seven-part installment of “Masterpiece Classic” becoming an Emmy-winning phenomenon that will inspire trips to its filming locations and outrage when characters leave the show, I mean die. But it’s an elegant mid-weight melodrama that toggles between the haves and the have-nots, and that looks at the close alliance between romance and unattainability. It will engage — though not obsess — those of us who enjoy parsing out the morals and manners of another time and place.

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