British dramas. Could there be anything better? Well, actually, now that I think about it, there is one thing better than an hour-long British drama. A period drama, hour-long, British. Speaking as someone who has a rather dominate addiction to them, I can assure you, I am in the right. Think about it. Think of the breakneck paced dialogue – ridiculously smart and eloquent – spoken in varying styles of the Queen’s English. Grand historic locations. Inordinate castles built on hundreds of acres of vibrant green grass and towering elder trees. How about the infamous streets of ol’ London Town? Splendid and posh. Lavish balls and ostentatious dinner parties. Lords and ladies dressed in elegant vintage costumes adorned with hand-fastened crystal, buttons, and beads. Quite frankly, I challenge you to find a more romantic, sublimely beautiful, compelling work of fiction than a complex televised character play set in the early 1900’s. It’s the Brit’s forte!
And yet, Downton Abbey is so much more than that. For those who aren’t closely acquainted with this specific type of drama, it’ll be somewhat hard to understand. Downton isn’t your typical formulated performance. Though sharing several esteemed characteristics with its well-known predecessors, Downton‘s strength is its distinctive characters and unwavering ability to remain progressive without fear – skillfully stunning or shocking the audience into many fits of incredibility. I’ve watched many Masterpiece Classics in my day, and I can truly say, this one is different; a show definitely worth watching.
To the ever stoic Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville); to the misunderstood and reserved Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and her intended, the dashing Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens); to Downton’s leader and commander, the butler, Carson (Jim Carter). Each of Downton‘s unique personalities are intertwined by different relationships, those upstairs and those downstairs. There are characters you love to hate, couples who you’d wish would just get a clue and kiss already, and of course, there is the always magnificent Maggie Smith – who has the aptitude to steal every scene, make us laugh, and regale us with brilliant quotes in the process. “I am a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.”
Although life at Downton is dedicated to social standing and propriety, the residents frequently challenge their everyday standards. Yes, I’m talking to you, Lady Sybil. Torrid affairs. Heartbreak. Backstabbing and more. Yet, despite their differences they’re still a family; not employer and staff, but people who take care of each other. There is never a dull moment between morning breakfast and the chime of the dressing gong. Together they make Downton what it is. Together they fashion a series so impossibly irresistible you’ll just have to watch it.
Season 4 of Downton Abbey begins January 2014 on PBS
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Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? Addicted to it? If not, will you watch? Which character is your favorite? Are you a Mary, an Edith, or a Sybil? Have a favorite episode? A favorite quote? What other shows do you think are worth watching? Tell me in the comments!