Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Do You Have DAWS?

by Maggie Sefton

Downton Abbey has captured the imagination of the nation. Written by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes the show has become the benchmark for quality drama, and a commentary on all things British. Downton Abbey portrays a world of elegance and decadence, a world of duty and obedience and a world of romance and rivalry: this companion book, full of rich historical detail, takes fans deeper into that period than ever before. ---description from PBS website

Okay, I admit it. I have DAWS. "Downton Abbey Withdrawl Syndrone." Yes, I am a devout fan of the absolutely marvelous PBS Masterpiece Classic new series. Well, it was new last spring when we were all first introduced to this fascinating cast of characters set in Edwardian England right before the start of World War I. The first four episodes (hour and half each) captivated us with the events in the lives of both the noble family who resided at the beautiful manor home, Lord and Lady Grantham and their three daughters, and their many servants who attended them and made Downton Abbey a "home."

I still remember an earlier British Masterpiece Classic, "Upstairs, Downstairs" and as wonderful as that was, I can honestly say this series is even better! The depth of characterization and the intricate plot details are riveting. So much so, that when the first four episodes finished, devoted viewers reacted with horror: How could PBS leave the story when SO much was going on? Believe me, it was hard to wait, but we did and Season II was well worth the wait. It started in early January and finished last week. And all those unbelievable, fascinating, and addictive plot lines woven throughout the series have gotten even MORE complex! How will we ever wait until next summer or fall when Season III starts.

Season II started off with a bang--literally. World War I had started, and we find some of our favorite characters are in danger either on the battlefield or back at home. Downton Abbey has heroes, heroines, and villains. . .even quasi-villains. And plenty of "natural" humor springing out of the characters themselves---always the best way to introduce humor.

Downton Abbey is a sure winner. So much so, I wouldn't be surprised if this past Sunday's evening repeat of last week's final Season II episode actually drew a larger TV audience than the "same old, same old" Oscar broadcast. I read what was scheduled to be televised, movies highlighted. Big yawn. Sorry, Oscar. :( But a LOT of us voted for "Downton Abbey."

Oh, and the delightful British actress Maggie Smith is beyond wonderful playing the Dowager Countess of Grantham, the Earl's mother. She's hilarious. No one can deliver a line like Maggie Smith. She injects her dry sense of humor at the best moments. And you are laughing out loud. Truly. :)

These photos are of other manor houses in England. I tried copying a photo from the PBS site, but it didn't work. But the brief blurb is theirs You can also go to their website and find out all you want about the series---and watch episodes. Enjoy!