Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Downton Abbey Craze
Have you gotten caught up in the Masterpiece Classics series on PBS, Downton Abbey? According to NBC Nightly News, it's biggest thing to come out of Britain since the Beatles! I must admit that I was a little late to the party, only finding out about the series around Christmastime, when I was watching Christmas at Belmont on PBS and saw a commercial for the upcoming premier of the second season of Downton Abbey and it piqued my interest. And the buzz on Facebook got me even more intrigued, so I decided to find out for myself what all the talk was about. I watched the first season online and got hooked immediately.
If you are like me and this is new to you (and might even have not read the title correctly and thought the show was shot in some downtown setting), it would be easier if you just go to PBS.org and read up on the series. Or you can watch the first season on Netflix. Or buy the DVDs (and you can get me a set while you're at it).
I can't decide what it is that has drawn me in the most about this show: the characters, the storyline or the setting. Maybe some of all three. I love the characters, both the family that lives in the estate (Downton Abbey) and the servants who work for them. Of course, there are some characters that you love to hate (Thomas, O'Brien, Edith), but there are many that quickly make their way into your heart (Mary, Matthew, Lord Grantham, Lady Grantham, Mr. Bates, Anna--yes, I realize that these are not real people).
The storyline grabbed me, too, since I love history and haven't watched a lot of things that are set during the first World War. It's also interesting to me to have it told from the British perspective. I think it's kind of fun to have the cobwebs of my brain blown away a little bit by historical and political references from that time period that I studied way back in high school and college.
I also appreciate that except for a couple of instances, the writers didn't choose to make immorality and language the emphasis in order to boost ratings (as is the case in TV shows and movies). In fact, while some of the story lines have been about bad choices that the characters made, there was a refreshing scene in the second episode of season two that made me like the character involved even more (don't worry, I won't give it away).
And the setting of the show and the cinematography (if you can call it that when you're watching on a TVset from the 1990s) is outstanding. Makes me want to jump on the next plane to London and go spend a month touring England!
So, if you haven't already gotten caught up in the Downton Abbey craze, come join the party! At the very least, you'd then be able to know what everyone is talking about around the proverbial water cooler on Monday morning! And you'll understand when all of us Downton Abbey crazies are crying on February 19 after the last episode of season two airs. Good news, though: I heard that they've started production of season three, so there's hope that this show will continue on for a little while longer!