If you watch the show and aren’t caught up, don’t worry I won’t get into spoilers.
If you haven’t seen Downton Abbey, I would highly recommend you watch it. If you are opposed – I know what you are thinking. “That looks boring.” I also know, that you are so wrong. My best friend introduced the show to me and after the first one I sat in her apartment all day watching the entire first season. My parents were hesitant to watch the show. My dad especially was not interested in watching, but after an episode or two – I had them hooked. Before I knew it, my Dad was buying the seasons and asking me when the next one would be out. If that doesn’t persuade you I turn to another example.
Exhibit A: I pushed and pushed for Anthony to watch this show. He would put it off and he dragged his feet about it for months. Finally, after a visit to Newport, Rhode Island where we toured through some of the most luxurious and enormous mansions I decided it would be a great segway into watching the series. Just like Raffiki in the Lion King I knew, “It is time.” He was ready to get baptized into the Downton world. I told him that if he was impressed with these houses he had to watch Downton and that was that. When we got home from our weekend trip, I finally sat him down to watch a full episode. Did he like it? Yes. Did he get hooked? Yup. Was I right? But of course.
Downton is majestic. It draws you in with it’s elegance and grandeur. The show is a British Drama produced by BBC and will start its 5th season in January 2015. Seasons are fairly short, but each episode is about an hour long.
The story revolves around the Grantham family that reside in Yorkshire County, England. The Earl and Countess of Grantham run an extremely large estate: the castle (Downton Abbey), the village, and the surrounding farms. They have a multitude of servants that they depend on to drive, cook, clean, and dress them. These servants also advise, keep their secrets, and guide Downton’s future. The story is split between the upstairs and downstairs cast. The upstairs family is living the life of luxury and the downstairs cast are blue collar hard workers. Though their worlds could not be any different, they all live in the same house and their lives and paths cross and intersect in many ways.
The show is charming and addicting because the characters are so strong. You get to know each character’s personality and their strengths and weaknesses. You root for all the players on the Downton home team with the exception of a couple sleezy, pot-stirrers. The Grantham family confide and trust in their staff sometimes more than they trust their own family. There are staff members that are fiercely loyal to the house and the family and others that are there to climb the social ladder and push buttons.
Downton Abbey is also beautiful to watch. They film the show at Highclere Caste in Hampshire, England. This is a 5,000 acre estate and is occasionally inhabited and owned by the Earl of Carnarvon. You can’t help be in awe of the alluring and magnificent castle and all of its grand rooms that are used in the show. The costumes are extremely detailed and reflect the era the show is placed in where corsets, black tailcoats, and the slowly invading style of the 1920’s edges in.
The antiquated way of communicating was so much more intelligent and pleasant on the ears. Watching the show made me write letters again and I know that it has inspired others to do the same. I get enthralled with the language used in the show. Everything is stated in such a smart and elegant manner. The Dowager Countess of Grantham (mother of the Earl played by the amazing Maggie Smith) shows wit and sarcasm in the most eloquent ways. She has you laughing at the way she scoffs at middle-class practices or modern changes.
Manners truly prevailed in this era. Traditions, jobs, and families were so important in that time because it is all they had. The show is never boring as there are so many characters with current day problems that can be easily related to. The show isn’t as stuffy as you might imagine because the relationships are so enjoyable. The plot twists in unexpected and fun ways and the story line coincides with a lot of iconic historical events like World War I, the sinking of the Titanic, the Spanish Influenza, telephones being put into houses, and the styles of the 1920 flappers.
There is a great love story, there are deaths, there are struggles, but most of all there are lots of strong characters and entertaining relationships. Though the series has taken a turn after Season 3, I still enjoy watching it and can’t wait till it comes back in January.