Everybody’s talking about Downton Abbey. The British critics can’t find anything good about it; we Americans can’t get enough of it. Besides its 6 Emmy Award wins, Wikipedia reports, “In September 2011, the show entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘most critically acclaimed television show’ for the year, becoming the first British show to win the award. It beat American shows Mad Men and Modern Family to the title.” Since we are probably the biggest consumers of television shows in the world, we know a thing or two about quality television (both good and bad). The British would do well to, as a DA character might say, “put a sock in it.” I guess that’s the equivalent of today’s STFU (Shut The F#$% Up).
Now, since I’ve been wanting to write a post about my TV multiple personality disorder and I’m a huge Downton Abbey fan, I guess this is as good a time as any.
What do I mean by a TV multiple personality disorder? The fact that I have watched and loved widely different tv shows during the same time period. Like the time I did a TV watching marathon of the first seasons of The Wire and Glee in one week. I would switch mindsets as easily as I would swap the DVD’s from each show. But, even when I haven’t watched different shows in marathon style, when it comes to television my tastes are eclectic: The West Wing, Desperate Housewives, Treme, Felicity, The Good Wife, The Office, 24, Lost, Boston Legal, Fringe, Parenthood, Gossip Girl (although the latest story lines and performances have been horrible). I could go on (and on), but I think you get the idea.
Now let me tell you the 10 reasons—besides the writing, the acting, the cinematography, and the clothes— why I love Downton Abbey (not in order of importance), and yes it contains spoilers:
#1. It has made PBS cool (after all these years).
#2. I’m rooting for a couple, Anna and Mr. Bates, that in the looks department are as far from the romantic leads that we’re used to watching as you can get.
#3. Women couldn’t vote back then, but they still kicked ass.
#4. “Bitch” (mentioned once) and “bastard” (twice) are considered the height of vulgarity and insult.
#5. We get a glimpse of a time when honor, loyalty, honesty, and discretion were the rule and not the exception.
#6. There’s plenty of sexual tension and, yet, not a boob out of place in sight.
#7. It has shown that older actresses in worthy roles can be downright brilliant: Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall to an entire generation of movie-goers) playing The Right Honourable Violet Crawley, Countess of Grantham .
#8. It has resolved the Mary/Matthew love story by the end of season two. How refreshing to see that the show creators chose not to insult our intelligence, by dragging out this story line further, in order to maintain the “will they or won’t they” hook.
#9. The theme music. Something about the music accompanied by the dog’s wagging tail just gets me in a good mood.
#10. It has restored my faith in humanity (alright, just in the American TV viewing public). We can’t be this bad if in a world of Kardashian TV so many millions of us can appreciate this diametrically opposite show.
So these are my reasons. What about yours?