I'm going to be starting a new thing where I recommend products, shows, or movies based on my own personal experience with them. This will be the first of many, I am sure.
Today I'm giving "Two Thumbs and a loud YOU BETCHA to a PBS/BBC series called Downton Abbey. You may have already heard of it because it got some recent awards and I think that only helped catalyst its already apparent success. Please remember that if you purchase/view the series, get the British version because the one that is played for us yahoos in the U.S. is an edited version which doesn't include as many views of the lush landscape. Apparently. I have not watched any of the US versions, only UK, so I cannot verify this, but learned of it on another blog I follow (which strictly reviews films/shows).
There are ways to find the show online (besides Netflix, of which I do not subscribe to -- too cheap here), if you know what you are doing. That is all I will say on that. I know people. Who know how to do things. /incongnito mode
The show originally aired in Britain (what is the difference between Britain/U.K./England anyway? -- I will just call it Britain) in 2010 and is presently in its third season on the American PBS. However, you can find the entire third season online if you would like to get ahead of the game and not have to wait until Sunday night to view the next episode (episode 5 is the next one coming, if I have my A game on).
Three nights or so ago, I started watching Season 1 and was immediately drawn in to the characters. It's strange because I am not a history "person" and while certain things are interesting to me from our past, I don't typically read strictly history-type books, because normally it's the elements of suspense/mystery/romance that draw me in, not this. HOWEVER, this series has plenty of romance and scandal to pique the interest of even the most cynical person.
The show begins in 1912, when the family finds out that the only male heirs to the estate have died on the Titanic. Lord and Lady Grantham have only daughters, three of them, and they are obviously a big part of the story here. It becomes pretty clear early on that it's the goal of the Lord and Lady of the household to marry off their daughter, Mary, to a suitable man (preferrably sucessful and with money, as that's how it was back then -- it was a shame to marry between "classes") who would become the heir.
The daughters are all different personality-wise, and all of the servants/maids of the household have their own interesting stories. I found myself caring for all of them and loving the way each scene jumped around enough to keep the interest going, but not so much to where it was confusing. The camera work is fantastic and I love the way the castle (Downton) is romanticized in a way that I wish I could go there and live in those times and live amongst these interesting people.
There is some humor at times that caught me off guard and had me laughing. I completely adore the grandmother: she's intelligent, witty, and outspoken enough. Read: she's so old she doesn't give a Fuck what she says, and she will tell it like it is. At first I thought she was pretty cold, but you will soon see she does have a heart and she's a sweet little thing. She's probably my most favorite character, not because her life is one of the most interesting stories, because it really isn't compared to the others, but because I can't wait to hear what she says next. There's the story of sweet Anna, who serves as the maid to Lady Mary (the "main" and oldest daughter), and the man who becomes her love interest (no spoilers here) -- I totally called that one before it happened, but there is some definite foreshadowing with this show so you can sometimes predict what's going to happen. There's the "evil" servant, Thomas, who is always seeming to be jealous of his fellow servants who are above him -- you will become so angered with him, but every show has to have a villain. And then there's Matthew, the "stud" of the series, who has so many things happen to him throughout the shows, you almost think he's going to surpass Vincent (Young and the Restless? I am not sure as I don't watch soap operas, but I remember hearing that there was a character named Vincent who somehow always survived despite everything happening to him). There are many more characters I have not mentioned here, but every episode seems to have plenty of different stories for the viewer to enjoy. And there's always the shocker at the end of the show, leaving us in suspense.
I am up to season three, episode 2, and am hoping to get all caught up this weekend.
That about sums it up for now, but anyhow . . . this show gets Two Thumbs up and a You Betcha from me. Definitely check it out. Watch the first episode and I bet you will want to continue watching just to find out what happens.