Sunday Night Fever
Have you caught it yet? I know I have. I’ve caught the fever for Downton Abbey that seems to be spreading among TV viewers these days. Since the first season aired last year, patrons have been telling us what a great show this was. I resisted watching it for a while, but I finally decided to see what the buzz was all about. The fans of Downton Abbey knew what they were talking about – this show is excellent.
A Masterpiece Theater production, Downton Abbey refers to the home of Lord Crawley, the Earl of Grantham. The show centers on Crawley, his American wife Cora, their three daughters, and a dozen or so faithful servants that help care for the family and the fabulous home in which they all live. With no sons, the Earl is in need of an heir to inherit Downton Abbey. Much of the first season deals with the necessity of finding an heir for the estate, and the troubled love life of Lady Mary, the eldest daughter. This is a truly fascinating period piece that takes place in the years preceding World War I, when social change and technology began to have a major impact on the lifestyle of the British aristocracy. The show is extremely well written and it won’t take you long to get caught up in the lives of the Crawley family and the loyal servants (and some not so loyal) who serve them.
In addition to a Golden Globe Award for best miniseries, Downton Abbey has won 7 Emmy awards including, writing, directing, costume design and a best supporting actress award for Maggie Smith as the matriarch of the family. Ms. Smith is wonderful in her role, but the entire cast is outstanding. The show deserves its awards because everything in this production is first rate.
The second season of Downton Abbey began on PBS last Sunday. The first episode was watched by twice as many viewers as a typical prime time show on PBS. The PBS web site contains all kinds of information about the show,including behind the scenes interviews and even some full length episodes. The show also has a companion book and a recent article in the NY Times indicated that publishers are rushing into print new books that cover the same period of history. If you’re already waiting for your turn to check out Downton Abbey, you may be interested in watching Upstairs, Downstairs or Gosford Park, also written by Julian Fellowes, head writer of Downton Abbey. You don’t have to be an Anglophile to enjoy Downton Abbey – join the growing club of people who simply enjoy a good story, well told.