Thursday, June 23, 2011

Downton Abbey

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!


  1. I just got the first disc from Netflix, and I cannot wait to dig in. I'm so glad to hear you're loving it!

  2. Loved this series, it's absolutely fantastic. I cannot wait until the second series and I think it's fantastic the amount of people who have fallen for it.

    Although, I hear that the PBS did cut a few scenes but I'm sure the uproar that caused in the UK was exaggerated as to how much was cut. It does bother me though that you guys might miss a few minutes or the original though!

    You can get the unedited version on DVD...

    I loved Violet too - she was hilarious but then Maggie Smith is always wonderful, she can't help it. I loved it all though - the whole story and the characters. It kept you gripped from the beginning to end, not a slow, boring or questionably dull part.

    I also loved the youngest Crawley daughter, I have forgotten her name now and her growing friendship with the chauffeur.

    The second series is very interesting. It won't be just more of the same stuff because it'll be set in the first world war which will change how the house worked so much. The big houses in England were taken over by the Amry usually and used to house officers mostly because of the large spaces they provided - rooms, grounds etc.

    After the second world war things really started to change in the 'big houses' they became too expensive, people preferred to live in towns. Lords of the manor drifted away.

    Often, I think when you look at the history of these houses... after the second world war when th amry moved in again I think that way of life just kind of faded out maybe they didn't move back - things were more difficult in England, they couldn't afford grandness.

    Have you seen Gosford Park? When I heard Fellowes was writing a TV series about a big house like that I almost jumped out of my seat. Love Gosford Park and watched it so many times over and over again.

    By the way, if you like Downton Abbey then perhaps you should check out Lilies

    which is a bbc series about 3 catholic young women in Liverpool during the 20's. It's a lot different obviously as they're working class and it isn't about a big house (although one of them does work as a house maid and their is a rich bloke - the actor guy who plays that bloke in True Blood)

    But very well written, very well acted and the same kinda way that just draws you in and keeps you wanting to watch these characters and learn about their lives. Not really quite as cosy and sitting down with a cup of tea drama that Downton was - but it is so fantastic and it feels real, like you're there, you know? But different.

  3. Since it's streaming on Netflix I'll have to check it out.

  4. It's absolutely ridiculous how much my daughter and I love this series. I think we've both watched it three times already.One of the upsides to how fast this year is going by is we're all that much closer to new Downton Abbey.

  5. I am really glad to find another person who loves this show. I am addicted to it and can't wait for the second season. I love Matthew Crawley!

  6. Glad you enjoyed it as much as my daughter and I did.

  7. i will be watching it on netflix now....thanks for the tip as it sounds great!

  8. Yay more to come :D
    I liked...oh now it was so long ago since I watched it. the guy who was limping.

  9. I love this show! I only watched it myself about a month ago, so you're not far behind. :) I pretty much loved everything about it and accidentally watched it too quickly. Can't wait for another season!

  10. I've been hearing about this series, but haven't had a chance to watch it. Now that I know it's streaming on Netflix, I'll check it out. Thanks.

  11. Oh my gosh I am so glad there are so many other fans out there! Go Downton Abbey!

  12. I watched when it was first on PBS. A few months later my daughter watched via netflix and she loved it too. Can't wait for 2012!

  13. I love it and can't wait for the second season!

  14. Can't wait for the second season! My one complaint is that I don't understand why two of the sisters are such unforgivable assholes. The labor-rights girl is lovely, but the other two are so, so mean. Why are they so damn mean? I want them to repent and become nice people in the second series.

  15. Jenny - I kinda love the mean sisters and the two mean servants. Not as people but because of the drama they cause!

  16. Hey - you might be interested. Comic Relief made a spoof...

    Part 1


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