Downton Abbey

via Vanity Fair

I know, I know, I’m like a million years late to the party on this, but whoa. I am hooked! I finally get what all the fuss is about. Given that I like pretty much all Masterpiece Classics, I’d tried watching the first episode of Downton Abbey a few months ago but, shockingly, wasn’t sufficiently grabbed (I happened to try while we were entrenched in a marathon of The Wire, so I’m chalking my lackluster reaction to it up to the fact that no one got shot or sold crack or was yelled “Omar comin’!”). Monday night I decided to try again, because why not, and I ended up watching 3 hours that night, and 4 hours last night, finishing the entire first season in 2 days. Boyfriend left for a short business trip this morning, so I foresee myself blazing through the second season before the end of the week.

I don’t have to go into detail as to what the show is about, right? Giant English estate in the early 20th century, Upstairs/Downstairs elements, love stories, British aristocracy and the (now) arcane servant class, WWI. The characters! The drama! The wildly fantastic house and decor! Maggie Smith! For those of you who’ve watched and loved this show already (hello, the entire world) I needn’t (needn’t! I’ve been watching too much of it, clearly) remind you of how brilliant and subtly hilarious she is throughout the show, posh and old-fashioned to the point of being unbearable, save for her scathing wit and withering stares. For the rest of you, and anyone else who just wants to revel in her genius:

Have you seen it? Season 3 starts early next year and I don’t know how I’ll cope with having to wait a week between each episode. Someone fetch me the smelling salts and lead me to a fainting couch!

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November 28, 2012 / read / watch / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

22 comments

  • Better late than never, duckie! :D

    Gotta love The Dame – she gets the very best lines.
    “What is a weekend?” Ha! Priceless.

    Wait till Shirley MacLaine turns up ……….
    I’ll say no more for I’ve probably said too much! ;) xo

    • Shirley McLaine! I love her! I had no idea she makes an appearance. Is that in season 2? Ooh, now I’m all intrigued. I love the dynamic between Violet and Isobel, they absolutely crack me up. I love British tv. xoxo

  • I have never heard about Downtown Abbey before today. What rock do I live under? ;) It’s so funny Santa did a Downtown Abbey post today as well. You should check it out. Whenever I see Maggie Smith I think Professor Minerva McGonagall. Guess I watched Harry Potter too often…

    • That’s so funny that Santa and I both had he same genius idea! It’s such a good show, you have to catch up on it. It’s on Netflix and Amazon Prime for streaming. I see Maggie as McGonagall all the time, too! I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd, remember? :) AND the father in Downton Abbey was Professor Slughorn in the Half Blood Prince! There’s apparently a small pool of British actors, and most of them have been in Harry Potter. Go watch it! Post haste!

  • what? how have you not seen downton abbey thus far? it is i who require the smelling salts as this information is too much to bear.

    i love downton abbey, if i could force myself through my flat screen tv to live in downton tv land, i probably would. but you know i watched the first episode and wasn’t that into it either and there was a long space between the first and second for me. but after that second episode i was hooked. and maggie smith . . . there are no words.

    • Hahaha, I know, I doth liveth under a rock! :)

      Glad to hear it wasn’t just me that took a while to warm up to it, but I’m also happy I stuck with it! I’m in love. I want to live there, too. If you find a way to beam yourself to Downton, take me with you, okay? I want to hang out with Cora and Violet. xo

  • We are officially in sync Erin! Is it not the best ever? I love the whole upstairs/downstairs story dynamic as well. AND, btw, that’s another one that I watch while Downton Abbey is on hiatus: Upstairs Downstairs. Three cheers for Masterpiece Theater!

    • Great minds think alike, Santa! Add it to the list of things we have in common :) I’ll have to watch Upstairs Downstairs next, I love Masterpiece Theater. I watched so much of it with my dad growing up. I still have the intro music lodged in my brain somewhere, haha.

  • Oh, it’s brilliant, isn’t it? And there is a shocker in the 3rd season but I will say no more. I am waiting for the Christmas special now.

    And BTW The Wire, the best TV show ever, the Shakespearian drama, the characters, the story of one city, the humour, a work of genius. I watched the whole 5 season in two months. An absolute obsession.

    • Oooh, you tease! The third season feels so far away from now! I have to finish the 2nd season first, or make it more than an episode in. I think my plan for this weekend is to park myself in front of the tv and watch the whole thing :)

      YES about The Wire. It’s easily one of the best shows ever made, for all the reasons you said and then some. The characters were just incredible. I found the entire series for cheap on eBay and we sped through the seasons like wildfire. We couldn’t stop! When I found out Stringer was actually British in real life, my brain exploded.

  • Well I’m very glad you’re finally with the programme! excuse pun. Just to warn you that series two is pah and series three is just atrocious. I’ve stopped watching it. They’ve turned it into a soap opera! There’s no tension or story unfolding over more than one hour. The Bates storyline is dull, dull, dull. Ugh. Sorry, the first series was brilliant but it’s just bloody awful now. Watch Parade’s End, it’s the thinking person’s Downton!

    BUT Maggie Smith is just awesome. ‘You can normally find an Italian who isn’t too picky’. brilliant!

    • Boooo you’re such a Debby Downer! Or Downton Downer. Admittedly I’m not too deep into season 2 yet but I can’t imagine it goes downhill all that much! Don’t give anything away about Bates! He’s just left with his bitch wife Vera so far. I’ll have to look into Parade’s End. We don’t get a ton of British tv here (and if we do it’s months, if not years, behind) so I might have to do some sleuthing.

      No debate: Maggie Smith is da bomb. Her scene in the swivel chair in Matthew’s office? I died.

  • Barbara bought me seasons 1 and 2 for my birthday and I still haven’t watched them.

    • You are retired, what the hell else do you have to do? Watch them already!

  • I really like this show but it’s taking me awhile to get into it – there are so many other things that I need to watch and then I end up getting caught up in something else. I’m really glad you like it though. The Anglophile in me loves it

    • You definitely need an uninterrupted stretch of time to really sink your teeth into it. But once you get on a roll it’s hard to stop watching. I stayed up waaay past my bed time (shockingly til 11:30!) just to find out how season 1 ended!

  • Guess what! Add me to the list! Haven’t watched it yet (I am always hopelessly behind on everything.), but after our visit to the Breakers, I told Neel it was time to jump on the bandwagon. And besides, who doesn’t love Maggie Smith?

    • Seriously, jump on! It’s a good show for the winter. It’s subdued and you can watch it all in long stretches on the sofa :) And yeah, after seeing the Breakers you’ll LOVE Downton. Gah, now I want to go watch some more. That’ frowned upon at work, right? ;)

  • I’ve heard so many great things about this show. I really need to get on board. Now that’s what I could of been doing with all my time laid up in bed, sick and feverish. Instead, I whittled it away on Gossip Girl. Ok, not a total waste, as you know. [wink]

    • Oh, there are far worse ways to spend a sick day than in the company of Blair and Serena, don’t beat yourself up over that :) I hope you’re feeling better, though! And whenever you can, definitely catch up on Downton Abbey! It’s so, so good. It’s not as shocking or dramatic as Gossip Girl, but then again, what is? Haha xo

  • Welcome to the world of Downton. We’ve got the Christmas special show coming up… at Christmas :-) I for one, cannot wait.

    I have to say though that in my opinion the first series of anything is always the best. The 2nd was a bit boring, but should not stop you from enjoying the English eccentricities and culture. The 3rd series got into its stride but ended a little weak. And I still want to punch Lady Mary, ooops did I just say that!

    x

    • Should’ve joined you all a long time ago, it’s absolutely amazing so far. A Christmas special! Ooh, I want to know, but I want to be surprised! The show is pretty addictive. All I want to do is go home and watch it, curled up on the sofa, pretending Fitz is my footman, haha.

      Hahaha, Lady Mary. She’s a bit of a pistol. I’m sure I’ll still enjoy the series as it continues. I’m a pretty forgiving viewer :)