En español | Art imitates reality, or is it the other way around? That doesn't seem to matter for the legions of television fans who, unable to get enough of popular programs, seek out the real-life locations where their favorite shows were filmed.
Here are five destinations where you can take individual or guided tours for an up close look at the places behind the programs.
1. Hampshire, England: Downton Abbey
Located about 60 miles west of London, Highclere Castle has been the impressive country seat of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon since it was completed in 1878. That's reality. But on television, it's the home of the aristocratic Crawley family and their unending personal dramas, as depicted in the smash PBS series Downton Abbey. Take a self-guided tour of the castle and its grounds, or from London hop aboard a luxury coach for a guided peek at the Crawleys' digs as well as at the charming Oxfordshire village of Bampton, which doubles as Downton Village in the show.
2. Albuquerque, N.M.: Breaking Bad
Albuquerque tourism has gotten a discernible boost from the critically acclaimed AMC show about meth-making high school chemistry teacher Walter White. You can visit popular Breaking Bad pilgrimage spots — including Walt's house and the industrial laundry housing his meth lab — on your own or via organized trolley or bike tours. For the range of options (plus info on local Breaking Bad merchandise of questionable taste, like "meth" candy), check the website of the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau.
3. Northern Ireland, United Kingdom: Game of Thrones
Though HBO's hit fantasy series about warring factions seeking the Iron Throne of the mythical land of Westeros was shot in such far-flung spots as Morocco, Croatia and Iceland, Northern Ireland has been the backdrop for most episodes. The real-life, 18th-century Castle Ward near the village of Strangford, for example, serves as the home of the fictional Stark clan of Winterfell. For a list of other Game of Thrones locations, check the blog of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.
4. Oahu, Hawaii: Lost
ABC's Emmy-winning series followed the sometimes surreal travails of the survivors of a commercial airliner that crash-landed on a mysterious island somewhere in the South Pacific. The real island where filming took place isn't so mysterious: Oahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian chain. Although the series ended in 2010, "Lost" fans still seek out its Oahu locations. Want to see the site of the plane crash? Head to gorgeous Mokule'ia Beach on the North Shore. An online post by Hawaii expert John Fischer clues you in to dozens of other locations.
5. New Orleans: Treme
As chronicled in David Simon and Eric Overmyer's HBO series about a struggling, post-Katrina New Orleans, the neighborhood known as Treme (pronounced truh-MAY) is a bubbling, cultural stew of African American and Creole traditions — especially as expressed in music. Plenty of tours offer a look at this truly exceptional district, including Treme film locations and, in the case of nighttime tours, animated bars and music clubs. But for an in-depth view, you can't go wrong with the guided walk sponsored by the New Orleans African American Museum.
Christopher Hall writes about travel, food and architecture.