Will Lady Mary and Matthew realize they are meant for one another? Or will Matthew marry the mysterious Lavinia? And what about O’Brien, Lady Cora’s scheming maid, and her co-conspirator, Thomas the footman? Will they get the comeuppance they deserve? What is Moseley hiding? Will Sybil forsake her family for Branson?
If you know what I’m talking about, then you must be a fan of the ITV mini-series Downton Abbey that takes place in 1912 during the reign of King George V.
The search for an heir. Scheming servants. A dead body. Dark secrets and unrequited love. Social order and keeping up appearances. These elements are expertly woven into a mesmerizing story, which profiles the family of the Earl of Grantham and his servants, all residents of the Downton Abbey estate.
I’m a huge fan of period dramas. Wives and Daughters, North and South, The Buccaneers, The Way We Lived Now, The Lost Prince, The Forsyte Saga, The Cazalets…I could go on and on.
Afraid I’d be suckered in and lose focus on my writing, I purposely ignored the initial Downton hype and the FB and Twitter posts during the first season. But after I finished my mind-numbing synopsis, I rewarded myself by watching the entire first season in one sitting.
I haven’t been hooked on a period drama since I watched Colin Firth in the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice on PBS several years ago. As the credits rolled on the episode leading up to Mr. Darcy’s proposal to Elizabeth Bennet, I bolted downstairs to the garage and hopped in my car. I couldn’t wait another week to find out what happened in the next episode.
Upon arrival at the video store, I scanned the “P” shelf. The woman standing next to me shot me an apologetic look and asked, “Are you looking for this?” She held up the only copy of the next episode.
We chatted for a few minutes about the episode that had just aired and exchanged recommendations on period dramas. The next day, I learned that my best friend had also raced to the video store in hopes of retrieving the same episode. She came up empty too. To satisfy her need to know what happened next, she found a copy of P&P in husband’s library and stayed up all night reading.
I think Jane Austen would find our antics highly amusing.
Unfortunately with Downton Abbey, I can’t read ahead and find out what’s going to happen next because the series is based on a screenplay. The good news is that Julian Fellowes, the series creator, is penning a third season for ITV.
Downton Abbey has received tons of media attention. It won a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series. It’s inspired Downton Abbey viewing parties where rabid fans serve pots of tea and finger sandwiches.
There’s also a reading list to satisfy your Downton fix.
If you’re wondering what all the hype is about, you can watch the first season on the PBS site or on Netflix. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/downtonabbey/
Are you a Downton Abbey fan? What are some of your favorite period dramas?