A new year, a new beginning. And, you know what that means, right?
Today is Downton Abbey Friday, and we’re just two days away from the debut of Season Three!
Yes, America’s favorite Brit show returns this Sunday on PBS’ Masterpiece.
News flash: In Great Britain, it has already aired. Warning: If you are one of those who has already seen it, not a word! Please do not give anything away.
Downton Abbey has legions of fans across the world, including me, of course. Meditating Mummy, one of my blogger pals, is also a major fan and is joining me today in writing about it. (Be sure to check out her post, too!)
The series is set in the early part of the twentieth century, and has everything—love, betrayal, deceit, murder, budding romances, a miscarriage, a secret rendezvous or two, plot twists galore, and one dowager countess who is a hoot.
I can’t wait to discover what my favorite characters, the Crawley’s and their household staff, have been up to. When we last left off, the Great War had ended, Mr. Bates had been found guilty, and Lady Mary and Matthew had declared their undying love for one another in an engagement that was truly enchanting and magical in the beautiful glow of an evening’s gentle snowfall.
Though, I did wonder, couldn’t someone have given Mary an overcoat, for crying out loud? It was snowing for Pete’s sake, and there she was wearing nothing but a skimpy gown, albeit a gorgeous one. Very romantic, indeed, but come on! Let’s be practical, shall we?
Anyway, to me, Downton Abbey is a treasure of a show, wrapped in golden shimmery paper and brightly colored satin ribbons, with everything coming together rather nicely. I’m not just talking about the acting, the writing, the cinematography, the extraordinary costumes and the breathtaking castle that the Crawley family calls home. I’m also talking about the props. Even if the characters said nothing and simply stared at each other, I’d still enjoy it for the details. It’s fascinating to see how the other half—and the other half downstairs—lived. Cheeky stuff!
Of course, Downton Abbey is all about relationships. There’s Lady Mary and Matthew, and Lady Sybil and Branson, the chauffer. Also, Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, and his American heiress wife, Cora, played by Elizabeth McGovern (remember her in the film, Ragtime? She was amazing!) Then there’s Lady Edith, who can be persistently annoying and a tad too desperate.
Downstairs there’s Mr. Bates, an honorable man found guilty of killing his wife, and Anna who is so loyal to him I believe she’d do just about anything should he ask. My favorite downstairs couple aren’t a couple at all, but they’re viciously conniving and just bad eggs. I’m talking about Thomas and O’Brien who have been the cause of many a conundrum. However, I do enjoy the relationship between Mr. Carson, the butler, and Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper, as well as the rapport between Mrs. Patmore, the cook, and Daisy, the poor, downtrodden scullery maid.
I would be remiss not to mention my hands-down favorite character: The Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith, who is brilliantly witty and marvelous in this role. She has many memorable lines, but here but two that I liked so much, I had to write them down:
The Dowager, after learning that her granddaughter is upset over the death of a guest with whom she had a rendezvous: “Why? She doesn’t know him. One can’t go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We’d all be in a state of collapse every time we read the newspaper.”
The Dowager, after the estate has been converted into a hospital for the wounded during the Great War: “It’s like living in a second rate motel where the guests keep arriving and no one seems to leave.”
In honor of the series return–and the fact that it’s Downton Abbey Friday–I share with you a Q&A held last month with some of the cast during a visit to New York:
So watch, dear ones, if for no other reason than you never quite know what’s going to happen next and what the Dowager is going to say! Oh, and be sure to check out Meditating Mummy’s take on the series, too!