Friday, March 15, 2013

PBS and Hooked On Downton Abbey

I have been a big fan of PBS for a long time, starting with Sesame Street and the Electric Company as a child. Hell, I remember my mother being hooked on I Claudius way back in the day.  As an adult, Masterpiece Theater has had some great ones: Inspector Morse and Robert Louis Stevenson's, Kidnapped, really did it for me. Recently, I got hooked on Call the Midwife, but oh man, once I starting watching Downton Abbey, it was like a crack addiction. It is the kind of show that makes network TV and even cable  shows, look ridiculous ( or even more ridiculous than I already thought they were) 

Pictured above is the main villain, Thomas (superbly cast and played by Robert James-Collier). This guy is a weasel's weasel. What has drawn me to this show?

1. The high quality of the production.

2. Almost the entire cast was unknown to me
3. Superb acting and story line
4. Does not rely on all of the old standbys of network pretentious music for every scene, over- used / over-paid actors, product placement, and placing style over story.
* There is liberal use of  "someone always overhearing private conversations, or walking into a room at just the right time". This is the trademark of soap operas, but it works very well in this case.
5. I don't feel like my intelligence is being insulted, and actually feel like I am learning something about history / society along the way.
6. The cliff-hanger factor is huge. I want to know "what happens next".
7. My wife and I watch it together and we talk about it! Did the same with Call the Midwife as well.

I was late to the game on this show. We started watching season 1 on Netflix ( via my kids Wii system) about a month ago. I immediately, purchased season 2 at Walmart for $30.00, and then season 3 ( UK version) at Barnes and Noble for $40.00. We burned through these in record time, and loved every single minute of it.  Now, as we have told friends and family who had not watched it, the seasons 2 and 3 DVD's are on a wait list, after they got hooked after watching season 1.

If anyone has seen Downton Abbey, would love to know your thoughts, as I would love talk about it. 

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