Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Ups and Downs at Downton Abbey

Garden Party dresses 1914
I'm not really a period drama dork. Rather I appreciate stories that has some sort of historical background to them. I know Martha would refute this just because I happen to like E.Gaskell's North and South or L. M. Alcott's Little Women or HBO's Boardwalk Empire and very recently J. Fellowes' Downton Abbey. Oh, maybe I am a period drama dork afterall.

Anyway, one can't help but be hooked in this British TV series which premiered in 2010. Its third season is scheduled to start in September this year (I can't wait!). Set in the fictional Downton Abbey estate located in England, the story revolves around the Earl of Grantham, Lord Robert Crawley with his family and household staff (servants as they call it then). It has achieved success on ratings and over-all approval from the critics. In 2011, Guinness Book of World Record recognized it as the 'most critically acclaimed television show'.

Season 1
In the first season, the Crawley's lives were turned upside down when the heir to the Earl of Grantham drowned in the 1912 RMS Titanic sinking. Father to three girls, His Lordship must find a new heir (male) to his fortune, title, and estate. Members of the family struggled to cope and accept their latest predicament. Meanwhile, the servants, lead by Mr. Carson the Butler, tried to keep things running smoothly in Downton. Of course the story is not without budding romances and evil plotting servants. ;)

'We all have different parts to play, Matthew. And we must all be allowed to play them.' -Lord Grantham

Season 2
The second season started with Matthew (new heir) fighting in WWI Battle of Somme. Downton Abbey was turned into a convalescent home for the wounded officers. The family must deal with a couple of scandals they just can't shake. A few characters became casualties of war and the Spanish flu. The season ended with a Christmas Day Special episode.

The superb cast is lead by Dame Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, and Dan Stevens. I can't get enough of the show's beautiful costumes, detailed set designs, wittily written dialogues, and intriguing plot lines.

With that M'lords and M'ladies, I welcome you to Downton Abbey!


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