Monday, April 30, 2012

The Brits Have Done it Again!

Last Friday, when my husband was gone on a scout camp, I finally gave "Downton Abbey" a look (knowing he wasn't interested, I had to find a time when I could watch it alone). Three long episodes later, at midnight, I had to force myself to stop watching and get some sleep. We were planning our Marvel Movie Marathon for the next day, beginning at 10:00 a.m., so I knew I had to get to sleep so I would have time to wake up and get going in time. It was very difficult to stop. It's truly that good.

I understand series 3 has not aired yet in the US-- correct me if you know otherwise, but series 1 and 2 are both available. Mostly. I watched 1 on Netflix, and finished it up today. I still find it fascinating how the Brits do TV. Instead of many short, commercial-filled episodes, they make fewer, longer episodes. It works. 

If you don't know, the show is a period drama (which I wouldn't have thought I would like), set in England. Series I begins in 1912, just as news of the Titanic tragedy has reached Downton, and ending with the beginning of WWI. It is a very well woven story of the aristocratic family (the Lord, his American wife and their 3 daughters) and their staff-- butler, maids, cooks, etc. It's a wonderful picture of how life was at that time for both groups of people. It is very well cast and written. Watch for Maggie Smith to steal every scene she is in-- she is superb, of course. 

The show kind of reminds me of a soap opera, but more real, more genuine, and impeccably written. There are characters you love and characters you love to hate. There is love and hate and people trying to destroy each other and help each other. There is the new "liberal" radicalism: rallying for women's rights. There is propriety and the installation of Downton's first telephone. The British are very good at this sort of thing, and they always manage to weave in a little comedy, even in the midst of drama. Humor is what makes drama entertaining.

I was surprised how quickly I got drawn in and had that addicted, don't-want-to-stop-watching feeling. 
I desperately wanted to continue on to season 2 (I'm American, I can't keep calling it series, try as I might), but Netflix isn't currently running it, and I don't want to pay iTunes for them. I can be patient. I've got other shows to catch up on in the meantime...

Sensitivity warning: In the first episode there is a gay kiss, firmly establishing one ongoing character's "orientation", I suppose. A couple of episodes later there is a scene with a man and woman in a bedroom, where sex is imminent, but not shown. You've been warned.


Steph @ Crafting in the Rain said...

I've only watched the season on Netflix too, but liked it! Have you seen the Downton Arbys spoof?

Steph said...

Yes, I looked it up on Youtube after you posted this-- it was funny. :) I always enjoy a good spoof.