Monday, February 20, 2012

Downton Abbey: Masterpiece At Its Best

Carson, Mrs. Hughes, Ethel, Mrs. Patmore, Dasiy, William, Anna, Bates, O'Brien, Thomas, Matthew, Violet, Richard, Cora, Mary, Edith, Sybil, and Isobel

When my mom was in Britain in October, she mentioned watching this really cool TV show one night in Scotland.  She and her friend Teresa were worn out from a day exploring Edinburgh and were turned in for the night at one seriously posh hotel.  Teresa told Mom a show called Downton Abbey was about to come on and that they should watch it.  The episode they saw happened to be the Season 2 finale, and Mom thought Downton Abbey was super awesome. 

Fast forward about 2 months.  Mom sees previews for Season 2 of Downton Abbey on PBS and starts to realize that the newest wave of the British Invasion has arrived to America's shores.  Then, moms at school start telling me that I just must watch this fabulous show called Downton Abbey.  Yes, I love period shows/movies more than most.  Like, seriously addicted, watch them numerous times, and swoon incessantly over them.  Jane Austen might not have a bigger fan, and anyone brave enough to try to recreate Victorian and Edwardian England in visual format is a hero in my book.  However, if you know me, you also know I can't stand TV, we canceled our cable about 7 months ago, and I watch maybe 2 shows a week.  BUT, PBS is non-cable friendly, and Downton Abbey just barely squeaks past my approval rating for Christian friendly viewing.

When Isaac's grandpa first was doing poorly, my plan was to catch up on Season 1 of Downton via Netflix streaming.  The Friday I was home alone, I think I watched 3 episodes before finally succumbing to sleeping.  I was HOOKED.  Thankfully, Netflix travels well so all of those hours I spent in bed in Michigan with the stomach bug were easily passed lost in the world of the Crawleys and their household.  I must admit that with the antics Mrs. Patmore and Lady Violet, being sick wasn't nearly so miserable. 

Unlike so many TV shows, Downton's characters are incredible well formed.  They are just a bit predictable, as most of us are, but they have their flaws, just like we do.  The creepy crawly characters that are so despicable grow as such, but just as I really want to be incredibly disgusted with O'Brien for the rest of her born days, she does something small to show she does have a bit of a heart.  Darn.  And right when I think dear Sybil is just the best thing since chocolate, she shows a wild streak that makes me cringe.  But isn't that how all of humanity is?  We have our niches and our morays, but we can still be influenced by outside forces.  I very much enjoy TV that reflects this. 

Julian Fellowes has written a script that piques my history sensor.  I'm terribly intrigued with the immense culture shift that occurred worldwide between 1890 and 1940, and Julian has appealed to that in every way.  And, just because he can, he's romanticized the story lines just enough to draw me in and make me melt.  Just the way I like it!  Yet, even the romantic side of Downton is far from perfect.  Lady Mary may have her Prince Charming, but her past still haunts her.  Anna and Bates may have true love, but false accusations stand in their way.  Beautiful.  Dramatic. Perfect.

If the story line isn't enough, watching in awe as Maggie Smith delivers each line perfectly will draw in most stragglers.  I have adored Maggie as an actress nearly all my 27 years.  She is one talented lady.  The whole cast in phenomenal in their respective roles.

Shirley McLain will join Season 3 of Downton Abbey.  Filming in England begins soon, and I'm sure the new season will air early this Fall in the UK. We'll probably have to wait til after Christmas again, but it's so incredibly worth the wait.  Until then, Jane will keep my company.

Maybe I can find a teaching gig for the Fall semester across the Pond?  :)

1 comment:

Christi said...

i saw comments here and there, through twitter I think, and kept wondering what show people were talking about. I assumed it was some primetime show. When I saw your post I thought, okay..it must be a good show! I just put the two littles down for a nap and found Downtown Abbey in Netflix...it's playing in the other tab right now.... haha

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