Downton Abbey: 2 Thumbs Up

4 Oct

First things first, I openly admit that I enjoy period dramas or, as my dad and brother used to call them, “talking movies.” In other words, car chases or massive explosions need not apply here.  In said “talking movies,” one is forced to wait for a witty jab or a subtle slam to advance the plot. Don’t get me wrong, I love thrillers. But with my love for reading rooted in Jane Austen and the Bronte’s,  I have a soft place in my heart for entertainment that transports me to a time so unlike my own. So sue me.

And with this (rambling) full disclosure you can choose whether or not to add a grain of salt to my rave review of Downton Abbey. But just so you know, I’m not alone in my adulation. This year, Guinness World Records awarded the show “Highest critical review ratings for a TV show.” In other words, if you haven’t watched it yet, you’re missing out.  Case closed.

 

The Time

Ok, I also love period pieces for the clothes.

At a basic level, Downton Abbey is an early 1900s costume drama. At its core, the show is about people and their quickly changing world. Any Mad Men fans out there? Well, I’d say Downton captures the essence of the 1910s like Mad Men captures the ‘60s. The plot subtlety weaves in major events of the era from the sinking of the Titanic to women’s suffrage. The major difference between the two? Downton characters aren’t completely morally bereft.  Sorry, Mad Men, that was low. I still love you.

The People

The show centers around both the Crawley family who (you guessed it) own Downton Abbey and the men and women who serve in their household. Each episode brings further revelations into characters that initially seemed snobbish, boorish or cold. And for that I love it. I also get a kick out of Maggie Smith. She plays the Dowager Countess with a perfect blend of egotism and heart. As for the rest of the talented ensemble cast, I find it extremely difficult to pick my favorite character. That must be a sign of a good show, right?

The Place

The setting itself is a refined character, a grand ghost of how life used to be lived. The house is breath taking; the countryside, gorgeous. If you like pretty things (or if you have eyes), you’ll probably like this.

The Netflix

Finally, the first season is on Netflix streaming. So what are you waiting for? Really, what?

And with that, I leave you for today. I’ll be back soon.

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