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8 Reasons Everyone Is Watching ‘Poldark’

Not since 'Downton Abbey' has TV offered such a captivating, soapy period drama

spinner image Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza and Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark
Eleanor Tomlinson plays Demelza and Aidan Turner is Ross Poldark in the PBS hit show "Poldark."
Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE

PBS Masterpiece's Poldark features rich characters, gorgeous costumes, breathtaking scenery and enough upstairs-downstairs intrigue to keep things juicy. No wonder it drew an average 3.4 million viewers in 2016 — second only to Downton Abbey's final season — with more than half the audience over age 66!  “Poldark has had fans clamoring for more of Ross Poldark and his romantic, heroic adventures," says executive producer Rebecca Eaton. "Maybe because such qualities are in short supply these days?” 

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With Season 3 currently airing in the United States, it’s not too late to catch Poldark fever. The first two seasons can be found streaming on Amazon. Trust us, for reasons below, it's great binge-watching.

1. It's All About Ross
Charismatic Irish actor Aidan Turner steals the show as Capt. Ross Poldark, a dashing redcoat who returns from the battlefield to find his father dead, the family home in shambles and his beloved otherwise engaged. Women love Ross because he’s sexy, brooding and rebellious. Men like him because he’s a guy’s guy — and a loyal, devoted friend. 

2. Love Triangles
Ah, romance. One of Poldark’s main storylines revolves around Ross being torn between his first love, Elizabeth, and his true love, Demelza. Upper-class Elizabeth is beautiful, prim and proper — and idealized by Ross. Fiery Demelza is  of  a lower class, but more of a match to his wits and energy. You'll pick a side — Team Elizabeth or Team Demelza. We're with Demelza.

3. Family Jealousy 
Family issues? The show's got 'em. Sure, Francis Poldark wronged his cousin by stealing his childhood love while he was off at war — but he still lives in Ross' shadow. One should feel bad that Elizabeth still has eyes for Ross … yet somehow we don’t.

4. Biting Wit
When it comes to laying down insults, tarot-reading Aunt Agatha rivals Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess for most burns per minute. But don’t be fooled by the mumbling, hard-of-hearing act. Agatha is the sharpest tack at Trenwith, the family ancestral home.

spinner image Shown from left to right: Jack Farthing as George Warleggan, Heida Reed as Elizabeth, Aidan Turner as Ross Poldark, Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza, Luke Norris as Dr. Dwight Enys and Gabriella Wilde as Caroline Penvenan
From left: Jack Farthing, Heida Reed, Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Luke Norris and Gabriella Wilde.
Robert Viglasky/Mammoth Screen for BBC and MASTERPIECE

5. Silly Sidekicks
Jud and Prudie, the Poldark family’s longtime servants, provide welcome comic relief from all the emotional intensity. They grumble, drink (to excess) and cause all sorts of mischief, but in their own way are loyal to the bone.

6. Doctor Feelgood
Kind and dashing, Dr. Dwight Enys brings all the feels. He’s the town’s main caregiver, Ross’ closest friend and the one straight ace in town … until he’s not.

7. The Oh-So-Good Bad Guy 
Every saga worth its salt needs a villain, and George Warleggan fits the bill perfectly. George, the captain's arch enemy, is rich, powerful and conniving. Oh, and he's a dandy — a blond 18th century Snidely Whiplash  in expensive  silk breeches.

8. The Heiress 
Caroline Penvenen, who doesn't appear until Season 2, checks the box of bratty, rich kid — at least when she first arrives in Cornwall, where Poldark is set. Like Lady Mary of Downton Abbey, Caroline has no shortage of suitors despite the fact that she is imperious and self-centered. However, look out for a kind heart.

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