On Downton Abbey
**Warning: If you aren’t caught up on Season Three of Downton Abbey, you might want to skip this post!**
I am always a fan of period pieces, and this latest story from PBS’ Masterpiece had me hooked from the very beginning of Season One. I mean, the first few episodes were a bit slow and stodgy, but after that guy died in Mary’s bed and she and her lady’s maid dragged him back to his room, with a little help from Lady Grantham, well, how could you look away? And so it’s continued for two more seasons, with word of a fourth season in the works.
Downton Abbey is such an interesting phenomenon of pop culture, I think, and so different from the usual PBS offerings. While the setting is classic and British, the show really examines more modern-day issues, and more closely resembles a daytime soap opera than the usual book-based stories featured on Masterpiece. This is no Jane Austen drama, and the plot often feels quite thin to me, as if the writers were crafting each episode right before filming, a la David Milch on NYPD Blue. Still, it’s like a very long, drawn out train wreck, and I am completely hooked.
Since Downton Abbey airs in the United Kingdom first, it’s impossible not to catch wind of spoilers. The show was originally scheduled for three seasons only, but its popularity has forced a fourth upon its actors, so it’s really no surprise that some of the characters are dropping like flies. The death of poor, sweet Sybil was very sad and touching, but didn’t we see it coming? I know I did. And she had such a small part in this season anyway, always standing in the background while her revolutionary husband took the spotlight and earned the family’s distaste. It’s such a shame that the episode of her death gave her the most screen time, but hopefully we haven’t seen the last of Jessica Brown Findlay.
This video, released by Masterpiece as a tribute to the love between Sybil and Tom, is incredibly beautiful. I find it much more romantic than the actual portrayal of their relationship in the series. The use of “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds is such a lovely touch, and really shows how powerful the series is now in 2013.
And, of course, I am forever inspired by this stunning video, first seen on Sandra’s lovely blog, and I watch it all the time. It makes me want to create something beautiful, and since I’m not very crafty, I go and write a blog post.
Downton Abbey is such a guilty pleasure of mine, and I’m continuously amazed by its powerful hold on viewers across two continents. I know we’ll be talking about it for years to come.