Monday, December 19, 2011

Downton Abbey

I've been busy tidying up after the weekend tonight.  Didn't get a chance to do it last night, because my mom called at 7:59 p.m. to tell me Masterpiece Theatre on PBS was re-broadcasting the first episode of "Downton Abbey", starting at 8 o'clock.  She'd seen it when it was first shown and had told me about it, although I didn't remember the telling. But I turned on my TV and was hooked immediately by the opening scenes as the servants get this enormous mansion ready for the day before the Lord and Lady and their daughters wake up. 

It's one of those period pieces, like "Upstairs, Downstairs".  Written by the same person who wrote "Gosford Park".  A fascinating look at life from both the upper and lower classes' perspective.  Several familiar faces from various English movies, the most famous of which is Dame Maggie Smith.  She looks a bit odd without the pointed witch's hat we've seen her wearing in all the Harry Potter movies most recently but the Edwardian costumes are quite lovely and Dame Maggie gets to wear several other very impressive hats. 

The first scenes take place on April 12, 1912.  In case you don't recognize the date, that's the day of the Titanic sinking.  I won't tell you any of the plot points such as why that event is life-changing for all at the Abbey but like I said, I was immediately hooked.  (Although I couldn't stay up until 11:30 to watch both of the episodes they were showing, as I had to work today, but luckily I was able to use my VCR to record the last hour or so.)  The next episode is being broadcast on Christmas night.  Season 2 starts in mid-January, and I am eager to watch the next few installments so I'll be ready for the start of the new season, when the characters lives are forever changed by World War I.  I shall be sure to tune in for that!

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