Studio: Masterpiece Classic
Originally Released: Jan. 2011
Synopsis: The Downton Abbey estate stands a splendid example of confidence and mettle, its family enduring for generations and its staff a well-oiled machine of propriety. But change is afoot at Downton — change far surpassing the new electric lights and telephone. A crisis of inheritance threatens to displace the resident Crawley family, in spite of the best efforts of the noble and compassionate Earl, Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville); his American heiress wife, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern); his comically implacable, opinionated mother, Violet (Maggie Smith); and his beautiful, eldest daughter, Mary, intent on charting her own course. Reluctantly, the family is forced to welcome its heir apparent, the self-made and proudly modern Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), himself none too happy about the new arrangements. As Matthew's bristly relationship with Mary begins to crackle with electricity, hope for the future of Downton's dynasty takes shape. But when petty jealousies and ambitions grow among the family and the staff, scheming and secrets — both delicious and dangerous — threaten to derail the scramble to preserve Downton Abbey. Created and written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park), Downton Abbey offers a spot-on portrait of a vanishing way of life.
My Take: Ok, I know, I know, this has nothing to do with books but I don't care. I also think I am a little late to the Downton Abbey party so to speak but I've joined the bandwagon know and I want to make sure you all do too! Have you all been watching this series? It is freaking awesome! I had to talk about it with someone. Originally airing in the UK and then on PBS here, I had been reading about it everywhere so I had to see what the fuss was all about. I love a historical fiction/drama so this seemed like something I would enjoy. Lo and behold it was streaming on my Netflix so I could watch it whenever I wanted and the series was genius!
In easily manageable one-hour episodes, we meet both the Crawley's who own a huge estate in England, the aforementioned Downton Abbey, as well as their myriad of staff, or the downstairs crew in Edwardian England. It is fascinating and surprisingly humorous. It starts with the sinking of the Titanic and its effects on everyone through what might happen if Robert Crawley, the current heir, can't find a suitable heir for their estate since he has only had daughters.
My favorite character in all of this is the eldest Crawley, Violet, played by Maggie Smith. She is hysterical! The costumes are beautiful, the estate is beautiful and it takes you back to a time when, well I don't necessarily wish I could live back then but I do wish I could at least play dress up for awhile. Its all so lush and fabulous.
So I have to know, have you been watching? There are only eight episodes out now but they will be returning for a second season in winter of 2012. Thank goodness!