Monday, June 18, 2012

Downton Addiction (My first try at a review)

  I'm a little behind on this craze, as season one of Masterpiece Classic's "Downton Abbey" premiered back in 2010. I heard of its popularity, but knew little about the show, and with no access to it took no effort in trying to learn. Just recently, upon getting Netflix, I was convinced by my mother to watch the show with her. And now after watching the entire first season in 3 days, my only regret in watching the show is that Netflix does not have season two.
  The show is honestly stunning. I could, and intend to, acclaim so many aspects that go into the show-- the acting is splendid, the music is gorgeous, and the cinematography holds to the standards of an artistic film. Beyond the aspects that go into making the show, the story itself is fantastic. As you watch it you become completely enraptured by it-- I know after watching it it was all I could think about for the next few days.
  The year is 1912, and in the first episode news of the Titanic sinking reaches Downton, with personal tragedy-- two relatives, a cousin and nephew, died in the sinking of the ship.While deaths can be mourned and lives can move on, this news causes far more of a problem for Downton, because the cousin and nephew who died were next in line to inherit the estate and title that comes with it. Robert Crawley, currently head of Downton, and his wife Corra, (though they are often just referred to as something along the lines of "Lordship" and "Ladyship") only have three daughters, who cannot inherit the estate because it's passed through male lineage. Thus the drama begins.
  I'll admit it, that paragraph was lengthy and inheritance isn't exactly exciting. I don't want you all to gain the impression that the show is strictly about the fight for who will inherit the estate, because honestly that's only a fraction of what goes on in the show. So stick with me here, and I promise there is more to excitement to come.
  So, while Corra teams up with her mother-in-law Violet (a sassy, very entertaining old woman played by Maggie Smith, most recognizably McGonagal in HP) to try to fight the inheritance law so that Mary (the oldest daughter) can inherit at least the money if not the estate, the show also takes us downstairs to the servants' side of Downton. There is an array of characters that work to uphold the Abbey for the lord and ladyships, and Mr.Bates in the first episode is newly hired to be Robert's valet. Mr.Bates (probably my favorite character) has a bad knee and walks with a limp, which the rest of the staff fear will slow him down and hamper the speed that is required to work at Downton. Footman Thomas and lady's maid O'Brian, friends in evil-doings if you ask me, set to it for the next few episodes to see that Mr.Bates is fired, all to no avail because well honestly he's just too awesome. Mr.Bates in the meantime befriends Anna, maid to the daughters, and they are just about the cutest thing I've ever seen ever.
You'd think it'd be easy to find an image of these two,  seeing as they're constantly together during the show, but sadly that is not the case. So you get this weird picture, of Bates walking while Anna looks at him.
  In the second episode Matthew Crawley, distant cousin of middle class who is now to inherit, along with his mother Isobel, are introduced to the story. Matthew's a looker, and he and Mary go through some Pride and Prejudice-esque times where they pretend to not be interested in each other out of stubbornness but can't help it. Isobel and Violet have their quarrels and entertaining rivalry as they both try to keep themselves busy with whatever it is older woman of the time liked doing. The youngest daughter, Sybil, (my other favorite besides Mr.Bates) discovers independence and politics, attending woman's suffrage rallies and helping house maid Gwen find a job as a secretary. Then there's middle daughter Edith, who struggles with being liked and has jealousy issues with Mary. 
The sisters left to right: Edith, Mary, Sybil
  There are a handful of characters I have yet to mention, but this summary is getting rather lengthy so I will refrain from doing so since I've gotten the main point.
  All in all, the story is vastly entertaining, and has a great balance between drama and humor, seriousness and lightheartedness. It is beautifully filmed, the cinematography reminding me of some of my favorite movies,  such as Pride and Prejudice and The King's Speech. The music score is gorgeous as well, rightfully capturing the mood of the show. The acting is stellar and the costumes are lovely (and I'm sure historically accurate). On top of that, the writing is phenomenal-- an enrapturing story with wonderfully witty dialogue and well placed themes for each episode leaves me more than happy with the show. All I can say is that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on season two, and then waiting on the edge of my seat for season three, coming out in January.  

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful review and I agree with most of your critique. I find most all of the characters fascinating in their own way...trying to figure out the motives of some can be quite thought provoking.