01 May 2012

Downton Abbey

I have fallen in love with a new British series.  PBS Materpiece Theater Downton Abbey.

It is a wonderful British drama set in the early 1920's about an aristocrat family right after the Titanic sank and before and during and after World War I.  

The show takes you between the classes, from the family that owns the house and their servants below stairs.  

The cast is rich and diverse and the focus isn't just on one or two people, but the struggle each family member and staff member goes through on a daily basis.

While I don't like Mary Crawly very much, she does grow on you a bit, but it is the way the family treats their servants and their people that make me love the show.  To the family, the servants aren't just there to do a job, but a part of them, and they recognize this fact throughout the entire series.

The first season has us seeing different things like trying to figure out how to live with an heir to the estate who isn't a son of the family and trying to marry him off to the eldest, only to have things change and attitudes.  You can see a love grow between the future Earl of Grantham-Matthew Crawly and Mary Crawly the daughter of the present Earl.

You see below stairs the same thing that has been going on since the beginning of time...people of the lower classes working hard to better themselves and elevate their positions in life by either stabbing others in the back on their climb up or working diligently to work honestly.

You also see something that delights me very much...Anna Smith, a maid for the ladies of the house and the new valet-Mr. Bates (played by my very favorite Brendan Coyle) begin a budding romance of sorts...he is an older man, but he is still very handsome, and Anna loves him very much as does he.

The second season takes us through World War I and makes you think of many things as the household staff has to adjust to the changes of the times and the young men going off to war.  It is a sad time as loss comes constantly to the family and the staff, but they all pull through and become involved, turning Downton into a hospital,

In this season, you see more substance from the younger two daughters of the family-Edith and Cybil!  The two start out struggling to find a way to be useful along with their mother, and in the course of time, they find it in the soldiers in different ways-Cybil becoming a nurse, and Edith just being there and doing odd bits and things for them.

In this season, changes to the Mary/Matthew relationship change even more as they become engaged to different people, but they still love one another and worry constantly about each other.  The only person in this is Mary's fiancee whom we instantly dislike, but Matthew's is one that even Mary cannot help but like and they become kindred spirits of sorts.  I loved that very much about this series! 

Dame Maggie Smith has always been one of my favorite actresses!!  She is beautiful and even now, I cannot help but hope that when I become and elder myself, I can only be as beautiful and refined as she is.  She plays the Dowager Duchess and she is very funny and lovable even in her cantakorous and classic ways.  You cannot help but love this character, even if she can be a pain in the bottom!

Hugh Bonneville plays the Earl of Grantham and I am so delighted with this since I adore him and the actress who plays his wife, Elizabeth McGovern.  They both make this so much more fun and interesting...especially since he finds himself the object of a slight crush from a maid in the second season...

What is fun about this series is that romance IS NOT limited to the younger set or the upper class.  It is centered around different couples and it is unique in each one!  I love that the older men do not get slighted in the least here!

I cannot wait for the PBS airing of the show beginning in September!  I am hoping that by then my finances with be smooth so that I can afford to get Cable television again and be able to watch the show rather than wait to buy the next season or borrow it from Netflix to see it.

I can honestly say that I am a huge fan of this show now!!

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