Did you catch Downton Abbey when it aired last year on PBS? If not, you missed out on quite a gem, but don’t despair. The first season will be re-airing on most PBS stations beginning in December. Check your local listings…. It is not to be missed!
The phenomenon of Downton Abbey was unexpected, but very welcome. It has been a smash hit in Britain, America, and Australia. The miniseries, set in a splendid country manner house in Edwardian England is smart, beautifully filmed, and full of engaging characters. The storylines are equally split between the aristocracy who live upstairs, and the servants who work to keep the vast country estate operating. None of the characters are all good or all bad (with the possible exception of a particularly loathsome butler…..as nasty as he is good-looking.)
Some of the appeal of the miniseries is its glimpse into a way of life that is no more. The ball gowns, the servants, the weekend hunting parties full of aristocrats and diplomats…..but for me the appeal was in the beautifully drawn characters. Beneath the façade of privilege and gentility these are real people who struggle with heart-breaking choices. There is joy, beauty, and despair, all wrapped up in a beautifully filmed package. Set your DVDs. Clear your calendars. Do whatever you must, but don’t miss Downton Abbey
Here is a sneak peek of the first season: