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Videocrack: Downton Abbey

You guys. Honestly. I don't know what I did with my time until I discovered Downton Abbey. I mean, I'd heard about it here and there. And, yes, any mention of a British costume drama usually reels me in hook, line, and sinker. But nothing had really pushed me over to investigate until my good friend Holly mentioned that I would really like it. Like, really like it. She was in the middle of it herself at the time and somehow I could just tell from the earnest and excited look on her face that she was right. So I mentioned it casually to DH that evening and, when I got home the next night, he had it all queued up and ready to go.
So, for those not familiar with it yet, Downton Abbey is a British period drama series that was broadcast here in the U.S. early on this year as part of Masterpiece's 40th anniversary season. It stars a few favorites of mine: Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Brendan Coyle (enshrined in my heart for his spectacular portrayal of Nicholas Higgins in North & South), and even Elizabeth McGovern. Set in the couple of years leading up to World War I, it follows the Earl Grantham and his family as they struggle to deal with the death of the family heir and the arrival of the new heir--a third cousin who has the unfortunate and shocking nerve to be a lawyer. The horror. Drama (oh, what drama!) unfolds both upstairs and below stairs, as the Granthams and their servants engage in all manner of intrigue and shenanigans. The whole thing is delicious. And riveting. What with the scheming footmen, the hilarious dowager countess, and the swoon-worthy costumes, DH and I fell immediately under its spell. We dreaded the viewing of the final of the seven episodes and are resting our hopes and dreams on the reports that this supremely entertaining series has been renewed for a second season set to air this fall. If you're a fan of costume/period dramas, excellent casting, and love a good yarn, then I highly recommend you get a hold of it just as soon as possible.


  1. Love this series. Judging by the scheduling on Masterpiece, we probably won't get to see the second season until early 2012 (unfortunately). I didn't know what Downton Abbey was about at all, but it really does suck you right in!

  2. Yay! Netflix has this on instant play! I had never thought to try this series even though I too am obsessed with BBC period dramas. My mother, sisters, and I will most certainly be giving this a try! Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. Anonymous5:05 PM

    I guess I really need to get to watch this!
    sounds awesome and I've loved Maggie Smith since she was in The Secret Garden :D

  4. Agree, I streamed the whole thing on Netflix not too long ago and LOVED it. It took a few episodes before I was really hooked, but I ended up just loving the whole series. Can't wait for the new episodes to make their way across the pond.

  5. i liked it, too, except for how it didn't have an ending?!?!?! It just sort of... stopped. Also, I don't know why everyone was so concerned over the fate of the eldest daughter. Screw her.

  6. Loved it, and I, too, am a BIG fan of Brendan Coyle in this! Apparently there will be a Christmas special and a 2nd season over in the UK, and the 2nd season on Masterpiece is a sure thing. I personally am hoping that somehow we can get the Christmas special, too. Can you imagine? Christmas at Downton Abbey??!!

  7. P.S. Matthew had BETTER survive WWI...

  8. I adore period dramas. I've only seen the first episode of Downton Abbey so far but the spoof on youtube is quite funny: Uptown Downstairs Abbey.

  9. I watched this obsessively. (I'm a pretty big PBS/Masterpiece fan.) According to the pbs website Downton Abbey will return in 2012.

    Oh, to wait that long.

    Also, I loved Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Bennett in Lost in Austen. Have you seen that?

  10. I absolutely adore Downton Abbey!

  11. Loved, LOVED this series. Maggie Smith has some of the best lines ever. So glad you discovered it too!

  12. So glad you and Aaron took a chance on it and loved it. :D

  13. I wish the clothes would come into style again. I would rock those hats!

  14. [insert something deep about class in Edwardian England] but I LOVE the dresses. Aren't they amazing? I wanted to wear every single one, including Maggie Smith's.

    There is one is particular that's my favorite, worn by Edith, blue. She was wearing it when she was invited for a walk by Sir Anthony Strallen.

  15. I don't usually watch period dramas but I loved Downton Abbey. Looking forward to the second series starting in Sept (UK) :)

  16. I wish they would hurry up and show this here! No sign of it on the programming schedules yet.

  17. Ok wait, all I've been able to find are four 90 minute episodes and it gave me no closure and I was dying. You speak of seven. Where are the other 3??

    Freckles in April

  18. Kayla, I think in the US it was aired in four 90-minute eps. We must have caught the UK versions on Netflix, as they were shorter. And, yeah, no closure whatsoever, huh? Come on, 2nd season!

  19. Ooh! I know what I am going to watch once school is over. Looks fabulous. Have you ever seen The House of Eliot? Also very good.


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