We need to talk about Downton Abbey. I may be late on this whole trend, but that won’t silence me from confessing my unmasked adoration for the
British ITV Network television program. Downton Abbey follows the lives of various
residents of a respectable mansion, ranging from the aristocratic family who own it
and their servants.
For those who know me, it is no secret that I am rarely captivated by television. I
will watch a few episodes of any given program without feeling the need to watch an
entire season or become a devout follower (exceptions being Arrested Development
and Portlandia). Again, for those of you that know me, it is also no secret that I adore
period ?lms, speci?cally ones concerning emotionally driven European aristocratic
families (e.g. Sense and Sensibility, Dangerous Liaisons, Marie Antoinette). So when my
Tumblr dashboard (typical) was steaming with Downton Abbey gifs, spoilers, and rants
from fan-girls. So this past winter break, with too much time on my hands and some
encouraging from my mom (she loved the ?rst season which aired in September 2010),
I decided to give Downton Abbey a go.
Lucky for me, the entire ?rst season of the show was, and still is, on Net?ix.
After I watched the ?rst episode, I had doubts. Yes, the costumes and set were
beautifully ornate and the cast performances were impressive (Maggie Smith is
phenomenal), but there seemed something lacking. The show very much resembled
the 2001 ?lm Gosford Park but in television form. There were too many characters.
The episode was too long. The storyline was confusing. But with determination and a
rainy Georgia day, I found myself watching the second episode. The second episode
lead to the third which lead to the fourth, and I soon found that I was sickly
emotionally invested in the intricately multiple story lines. I came to love and loathe all
of the characters. At times found myself audibly screaming from joy or shock,
something that doesn’t often happen to me when I watch television. I ?nished ?rst
season ravenous, longing for more episodes. I was able to ?nd the second season
online and ?nished it a matter of hours.
I highly recommend this series to those who appreciate history, romance, war,
brilliant acting, impeccable screenwriting, and an all around enjoyable audience
experience. The third season is set to air in September of this year and American
dynamite, Shirley MacLaine, will be joining the cast!
Go forth and enrich your TV-Watching palate. The ?rst season is available on Netflix and the second season is available on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater website.