Monday, December 19, 2011

Downton Abbey Is Back!

Have you been waiting, on the edge of your seat, for the return of "Downton Abbey," the lovely PBS Masterpiece series that shows fabulous Edwardian* costumes, a fabulous Edwardian* country home with a full array of fabulous Edwardian* aristocrats and their servants and hangers-on, and all kinds of fabulous Edwardian* intrigue involving an entailed estate, romance, class, wealth, sex and lots of lots of scheming?

It's been awhile since we last saw the Crawley family and their household. And it will be a little while till we get to see Season 2 begin on Sunday, January 8th. In the meantime, however, local PBS stations are rerunning the Season 1 episodes. Yay!!

Last night, WTVP and WILL both showed the first two episodes, where we meet the family and begin to learn about all their trials and tribulations, with the Right Honorable Robert, Earl of Grantham, (played by Hugh Bonneville), who has only daughters, seeing his (male) heirs die on the
Titanic. Before this, it's been a given that Robert's eldest daughter, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), would eventually marry that heir, to keep Downton Abbey, (which is entailed, meaning that only males can inherit), in the family. But now there is a new heir, a third-cousin-once-removed named Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), who is a lawyer, not landed gentry. Let's just say that Lady Mary isn't in the least impressed by Mr. Crawley. The Earl's American wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) and his imperious mother, the Right Honorable Violet, Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith), also cause him problems, as does his decision to install his old batsman, Bates (Brendan Coyle), as his valet.

A lot of ground was covered in Season 1, with pretty much everybody hiding some secret or another, and everybody trying to figure out his or her place in a rapidly changing world. War is on the horizon in Season 1, and a major plotline in Season 2, as you can see by the costumes in this promotional picture for Season 2.

Episodes from Season 1 will continue next week on local PBS stations. If you missed those first two broadcast last night, you will find them here, viewable from your computer. Yay!! You can also buy yourself the DVD version of "Downton Abbey" (Seasons 1 and 2!) as a Christmas present. Or the hardcover book called "The World of Downton Abbey." Or a combination of all of them.

I am really trying to hold myself back from buying Season 2 and bingeing on it. The lucky Brits have already seen all of it, so spoilers are out there. If you don't want to know what happens to the Crawleys during the war, you'll need to be careful. And not buy that DVD/DVD/book set.

Holding self back...

Since "Downtown Abbey" begins with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, it is outside the Edwardian era as marked by the reign of Edward VII, which ended in 1910. Others leave the Edwardian moniker in play till the end of World War I. That's where I'm sticking. So, yes, I know that Edward VII died in 1910. And the first season of "Downton Abbey" began in 1912 and finished in 1914, with the second season covering 1916 to 1918. As long as the clothes keep looking Edwardian, I'm calling it Edwardian.

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to finish the first season! Gah! I'm on hiatus at Milner beginning Wednesday and I should have a small break from my self-paced class around Christmastime.


    P.S. Yes, agree with the trickiness of defining the Edwardian period.