Downton Abbey – PBS

Has anyone been watching this fabulous series on PBS? It’s a Masterpiece Classic, BBC Production. Downton Abbey is in its second season. I’d been reading about the show and the reviews have been very good, so I was curious. Of course, I love period programs and all things English…the perfect formula for me.

I wanted to see Season 1 before Season 2 started on January 8th, so I zipped over to our library to check out Season 1. And to my great, huge, gigantic (sniff sniff waaahh) disappointment, a ton of other people had also heard good things about Downton Abbey. There was a long hold list for the DVD. Did I say that I was quite disappointed that I had to wait? Well, I was. Then the first week in March I finally received notice that the DVD was available. Yippee!! The next morning I did not pass go, I did not collect $200, I went straight to the library to get my copy. I’ve watched all of Season 1 and I love it. I’m hooked. You gotta watch it, too.

The tv show is set in the early 1900’s, pre World War I, at the country estate called Downton Abbey in Yorkshire, England. The story is about the Earl and Countess Grantham (wealthy American heiress), the aristocratic Crawley family and the servants who also reside at the estate.

Just some teases about the show. Dowager Countess Grantham, aka Granny for you and me, is witty and spunky. The writing for her character is great and she has the best one liners and zingers. She’s a stitch. Cousin Isobel is crafty and gives Granny a run for her money. It’s so funny to see two old ladies go at it, sort of respectfully. There are three daughters and the eldest Mary, must marry for money. Who cares about the other two? Not really, but Mary needs to marry for cash to help the family. Mary loves Matthew. Matthew will inherit a lot. Matthew may not inherit a lot. Mary does not love Matthew. Matthew loves Mary. Mary does love Matthew or does she? To be determined in Season 2, which I haven’t seen yet and I wouldn’t tell you anyway.

Then there’s the staff. Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes are proper English servants, who manage the staff. Ms. O’Brien, Lady Cora’s maid, is manipulative and mean. Mr. Thomas the footman is just plain nasty and in cahoots with Ms. O’Brien. Mr. Bates, Lord Grantham’s valet is troubled and likable and I find myself rooting for him to succeed. Succeed at what? You’ll have to watch.

The story telling and characters are terrific. I love that we get to peek at what an English estate may have been like at the turn of the 20th century. The story touches on the social and economic pressures which existed for the aristocrats and also for the staff. Everyone wants a better life and it’s interesting to see how each works to get there. I love this show. And because it’s PBS, there aren’t any commercials – bonus! If you haven’t guessed, I’d recommend you grab your bowl of popcorn and tune in too. I can’t wait to watch Season 2 to see what happens.



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