Saturday, 18 July 2015

031.Reasons why I love Downton Abbey

Ever since my older sister told me about this period drama, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to watch all the episodes on TV as I wasn't able to catch it! However,  when she visited home, she brought with her the DVD sets of Seasons 1 and 2 (Later on,  through my older sister, we acquired a boxed set of all four series)! 

Downton Abbey, as some of you may already know, is a drama set in the fictionalized village of Downton in Yorkshire, England. It chronicles the lives of the inhabitants of the estate with the same name. But for the benefit of those who don't (which is nearly impossible, but anyway), here's a few details that may help.

Of all Mary's dresses, this one's my personal favourite!
The head of the household is Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (played by Hugh Bonneville, whose acting credits include Mansfield Park, and Notting Hill), who is married to the former Cora Levinson (Elizabeth McGovern, Ragtime, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding).  They have three daughters, the Ladies Mary (Michelle Dockery, Pygmalion, The Turn of the Screw), Edith (Laura Carmichael), and Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay).  

The drama covers the periods between the post-Edwardian period, the First World War (or the Great War as it was called then), and the Roaring Twenties. The first season opens with the sinking of the Titanic, where Robert's heirs--James and Patrick Crawley are among the casualties. Which is now the source of a problem: who will inherit? An heir, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens, The Turn of the Screw, The Line of Beauty), who is Robert's third cousin is located, and subsequently arrives to Downton village with his widowed mother Isobel (Penelope Wilton, Dr. Who, Pride and Prejudice) . He is just as unhappy about the situation as Lady Mary is. Eventually, they get along (and get married, too!). Also another problem was the entail--Mary cannot inherit, which displeased Violet, the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith, Sister Act, Harry Potter, The Secret Garden) and Cora, whose fortune saved Downton.

Charles Carson (Jim Carter, Midsomer Murders, Top Secret) and Elsie Hughes (Phyllis Logan, Inspector Lynley Mysteries, The Real Jane Austen) rule the roost downstairs. Among the many servants under their control are Thomas (Rob James-Collier, Coronation Street), Anna (Joanne Froggatt, Coronation Street, All About My Mother), William (Thomas Howes, The History Boys, The Winslow Boy, A Perfect Murder),  Gwen (Rose Leslie, Game of Thrones), Daisy (Sophie McShera, Waterloo Road, Cinderella), and Mrs. Patmore, the cook (Lesley Nicol, Hotel Babylon, The Courtroom).

Five series have been concluded in this period drama, and I'm looking forward to the sixth and final one. Many characters have died, moved away, and new characters have come in as well. This is only one of the few television series I've invested emotionally on (haha), and for me, the characters seemed to be like real people! So, here are the reasons why I love this period drama:

  •  There many different sides to every character in the story--which makes them all the more realistic. Sometimes, you just love to hate them, sometimes you just want to give them a hug. They're not entirely good, and yet, not wholly bad.
  • Another great part of the show is the location. Lovely, picturesque villages, wide, sprawling moors--all of them a sight to see!
  •  The story itself is simple and complicated at the same time! Probably because of the characters--watching every episode makes me feel as if I'm one of the guests or of the servants!
  • I also appreciate how they do their best to be historically accurate--and Alistair Bruce does a perfectly good job at it! Everything--from the proper way of addressing people, table arrangements and even posture!  Here's one video that can give you an idea. This is for the second series.

  • The costumes. Enough said.
  • In a roundabout way, every episode teaches the viewers something. The show also teaches about love, forgiveness, loyalty, friendship, familial love, and redemption!
  • Downton Abbey has actually made me examine each and every angle of the story, the nuance of the dialogues! Now, to apply it to the law textbooks I read! 

Image source: screencaps captured by yours truly.

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