Monday, March 5, 2012

Why aren’t you watching Downton Abbey?

My grandmother was the first person to tell me I needed to watch Downton Abbey. I saw one preview for it and though that is the last show I wanted to consume precious DVR space: a stuffy British drama on PBS non-the-less. Then I remembered watching the Emmys and Golden Globes were it swept all the awards. My curiosity peeked. Finally the first season was available on Netflix streaming and when I clicked on the first episode and the music started I feel in love…

It’s a drama, which starts in 1912, with the sinking of the Titanic. It takes place in England on the fictional estate called Downton Abbey. The ‘house’ has 50 rooms and is the perfect setting. This drama explores the Crawley family and their staff. It also starts with the heir of the estate going down with the Titanic. Now a stranger must come and meet the Crawley family to prepare to take over Downton Abbey. This doesn’t sit well with the Crawley family and even the staff is thrown off by the change.

There are love stories, stories that make you cry, stories that capture your heart, all while exploring the wonderful complicated dynamics of 33 characters. The main love story upstairs is between the new heir of Downton, Mr. Matthew Crawley and the eldest daughter Lady Mary Josephine Crawley. The downstairs love affair is between Mr. John Bates, the new crippled Valet, and Anna Smith the main house maid.

This story shows the transition between the old world and the new world, all while making us care for these interesting and multi-dimensional characters. Anyone who loves good drama should be watching this show.  It explores the effect of war, love across the class divide, and the Spanish Flu. Every episode has you laughing, crying, cheering and cursing. 
Maggie Smith plays The Right Honourable Violet Crawley, Countess of Grantham. She is worth the price of admission. Her quick-witted one liners make you laugh and rewind to hear them again. “What is a weekend?” is one of my favorites. Watch and see for yourself!

Give this show a try. The beautiful settings, clothes, cast and music will keep you coming back for more. The first season is available on Netflix streaming. The first and second seasons are available on DVD. The third season will include the veteran American actress Shirley MacLaine and is now filming. 

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