Sunday, February 12, 2012


So, I'm up in The Berkshires and my older son shows me the opening set up scenes for DOWNTON ABBEY and when it hooks me he shows me how I can connect to his Netflix account on my laptop and watch the rest of the first episode of this British show critics and friends have been raving about for quite a while.

This was just after breakfast. I went up to my grandson's room where I'm sleeping and watched the entire first episode, and then being the obsessive person I am hit the link for the next episode and got so sucked in and compelled to see the story continue the next thing I know I've watched the entire first season and it's dark out and dinnertime.

But I have to admit, it was worth it. All the technical aspects of the show, from the cinematography and art direction, to the acting and writing and directing and editing, are superb. It's a delight to watch and savor. As you probably know, even if you haven't caught it yet or become addicted to it as I have, it's an upstairs downstairs lord and lady valet and maid sprawling saga set in a British great house at the beginning of the 20th Century.

The first season takes us up to the The First World War. Like GOSFORD PARK or the original UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS (the creators of which, I think, brought a suit against DOWNTOWN ABBEY) DOWNTOWN ABBEY is classic Brit class and status conscious sophisticated soap opera fare. But it is so well done, it's like a box of chocolates where every single one is perfectly delicious no matter how familiar or unique each one might be.

I'm too tired to look up all the actors who do such a great job or the creator's name right now, but I know Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith who are two of the best things about it, though everyone in the cast shines. And maybe the fact that my Irish immigrant grandparents started in this country as a scullery maid and a footman in an American version of a great house and so I can sympathize with and imagine them in these roles and what I know of their characters and personalities that adds an extra dollop of pleasure to the whole endeavour.

Whatever the reasons, my friends and the critics were right. DOWNTON ABBEY is an addictive delight.


Elisabeth said...

Now here's something I can really identify with, Michael, your appreciation of the wonderful Downton Abbey. And it gets better.

Anonymous said...

We lead parallel son also showed me how to use his netflix account, and I watched DOWNTON ABBEY in one fell swoop.

By the way the other night I watched MALCOLM X directed by Spike Lee. I was blown away. I had never seen it before.


Lally said...

I'm looking forward to catching up on the second season Elisabeth.

AlamedaTom said...

I watched the first season a while ago on my Netflix account too. Loved it. I'm gonna wait until the second season comes on Netflix for streaming rather than try to watch or record it. Like you, I enjoy the ability to view multiple episodes on a whim. I've turned quite a few people on to the series and in every case it had to be one of those "trust me" recommendations because it is almost impossible to explain what makes the series so much more than the average period piece. Character development is simply top notch. And,there are literally dozens of gems to be found in each episode. One that sticks in my mind is the ladies trying to cart the dead guy's body out of the bedroom in the middle of night.

~ Willy

Lally said...

I hear you Tom. (and Suzanne though I don't know where your comment disappeared to!) I'm already into the second season on my laptop through PBS now that I'm back home in Jersey.

JIm said...
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JIm said...
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