The last time we left the Dowtown Abbey Thomas the footman did everyone a favour and resigned, the Crawley parents discovered the miscarried baby was a boy therefore lost an heir, Anna and Bates became the new Harry and Ruth of British television, Edith nearly sold out her sister Mary over her tryst with the late Kamal Parmuk, while Mary being Mary listened to her stupid aunt to hold off marrying Matthew, and Matthew told her off about waffling on her decision to marry him.
The above paragraph does not do justice to what happens in season(‘series’ to the Brits) one of the popular show.
I realized the different between the serials my mom watches and the ones I watch, usually comes down to English country sides and people who look like people not what plastic surgeons want to create. Add Dame Maggie Smith and the whole thing transfigures into can’t miss television. Plus this comes from ITV showing the Beeb doesn’t have a monopoly on period drama.
People called the show derivative, while some have called Julian Followes (Gosford Park) an outright plagiarizer. I lean more towards the former. Let’s face it people adopt bits from this, that, and every other place. How many movies borrowed from Shakespeare? In fact how many movies borrowed from Austen’s work? (Two off the top of my head: Clueless and Bridget Jones’ Diary. ) I admit the scene in season 1 of Matthew proposing to Mary after rescuing her sister Sybill from a riot felt like a page torn from the John Thorton playbook. Those who watched Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s North and South know how well that went.
It doesn’t make it any less addictive to watch.
Do I agree with snobby elitism? Yearn to be a servant in a grant house? Want to wear Edwardian fashion? (I think Lady Mary wore a pair of shoes that look like my Clark Artisans.) Yes, the show is historically inaccurate in places regarding speech and manners. It’s.a.show. It’s a show not a documentary. If the series inspires people to go to the library and read about the period, Julian Fellowes has done something History teachers can only dream about–make a period come alive.