Friday Frivolity - The Downton Effect

What is it about Downton Abby, the wildly successful BBC Miniseries currently in its second season on Masterpiece Classic?  Laurel Ann of the blog Austen Prose describes the show's allure in this wonderful piece.  This modern mother knows she just can't get enough. 

At its core the series is about the house and what this generation of Cawleys will do to preserve it.  And honestly, given the beauty of the place, can one blame them?  Set in Edwardian England prior to and during WWI the story has it all.  Upstairs, downstairs, intrigue, romance, soldiers, communists, dreamers, heiresses, nurses and, possibly best of all, Maggie Smith as the determined Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Acknowledging the show's win for best Miniseries at the Golden Globes and the 4.2 million US viewers (more than Mad Men!) who tuned in live for the PBS premier of Season II in January - what's going on here?  Ben East takes a stab at explaining this phenomenon here.  He is right of course, it is a wonderful story, with a ending yet unknown.  Julian Fellowes, the creator of the show as well as the fab movie Gosford Park is at the height of his art form.  But why now?  And why in America?  It can't be just the 1% watching, now can it?

We have a theory, of course.  After years of "reality" TV, Americans are ready for a bit of decorum.  The viewing public (this probably does not include you, dear reader - being a bit more highbrow than the average viewer)  has discovered that a story can be compelling when the characters are elegantly dresses, and totally lacking in tatoos.  There is something very heartening (we believe) in watching characters struggle to contain emotion in the face of adversity rather than throwing a tantrum.

So whatever draws you to Downton Abby we hope you have as much fun with it as we're having.

Happy Weekend.

Pictures from Google Images


kayce hughes said...

I am 100% addicted!

Kate said...

I'm afraid I didn't watch it when it first came on, so I am not watching it now until I stream the 1st season on netflix. Unfortunately I am one of those well documented "netflix binge watchers", so I plan on catching up when I am holed up at our family cabin over spring break. Knowing me, it won't take long.

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