I stumbled upon Downton Abbey Season 1 on Netflix Instant Queue one evening last year when my husband was away on a business trip. I’m a fan of Anne of Green Gables, North and South, and anything involving Jane Austen so I thought this series looked promising.
I was floored.
I had finished the entire season within a day (6 episodes) and was salivating for more. Finally, Season 2 is now airing on PBS on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST
Why should you delve headfirst into the world of Downton Abbey? I’ll give you three reasons:
1. Dame Maggie Smith
Honestly, I shouldn’t even have to offer another reason to watch the show besides the fabulous Dame Maggie Smith. She plays Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Violet is the mother of Sir Robert, the Earl of Grantham played by Hugh Bonneville and frequently drops in on her son’s family to meddle and opine on the happenings at Downton – particularly with regards to her eldest granddaughter Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery).
Violet offers a charm and wit to many a dinner conversation and to viewers, she is an easy favorite since she has no issue speaking her mind.
“Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class.” –Violet, Season 2
2. The family/servant dynamic
It’s fascinating to see how the Crawley family interacts with the servants of the manor. Some are treated with reserve while others are confided in as family. The servants are especially interesting because of their respective aspirations – for some, a life of service at Downton is all they could ever hope or for, for others they long to be elsewhere. They bicker, meddle, scheme, and dream as they cook, clean, and wait on the Crawley’s – who are of course preoccupied with their own issues; issues that impact everyone. I often find myself liking a character one episode and despising them the next (ahem I’m talking about you O’brien).
3. It’s gorgeous
From the manor of Downton to the gardens, village, landscapes, horses, automobiles, right down to the dresses – this show transports you to another place and time. I often find myself sitting up straighter and sipping tea while I watch the show. It’s dazzinlingly beautiful.