- Letters to Editor
BY: KENNA TRENT
Two kinds of people exist in the world: those who watch Downton Abbey and those who have been meaning to watch it because they’ve heard it’s good. If you happen to be in the second group, now is the time to get started because you heard the news. Downton Abbey isn’t just good; this show is fantastic. With the explosive third season just coming to an end, now is the perfect time to catch up on what everyone has been buzzing about.
Downton Abbey is the home of the Crawley’s, a family that comes from old money and high-class rules. Robert and Cora Crawley (Hugh Bonnevile and Elizabeth McGovern), the Earl and Countess of Grantham and their three daughters, Ladies Mary (Michelle Dockery), Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), are the residents of the huge estate along with their downstairs counterparts—the help. Add a crotchety old-school grandmother (Maggie Smith) and a bevy of visitors, family and suitors and you have the recipe for drama.
If the humongous and star-studded cast is what draws you in, the story is what will keep you coming back for more. The show begins April 15, 1912, which is the day the Titanic sank. As it turns out, one of the Crawley’s cousins—and the only male heir thought eligible to receive their fortune—was on the ship. Now, Robert’s three daughters have a choice: find a husband or watch their money go to an unknown heir.
It’s starting to sound less like an uptight snooze-fest and more like a primetime soap opera, isn’t it? Though, very few can resist Downton.
The interaction of the two different worlds of upstairs and downstairs social classes never leaves a dull moment. In fact, you may find yourself loving the servants more than the Crawley’s. The help seem to have more at stake than their employer, and they have the added threat of underperforming or simply not being liked, which both could be reason for trouble.
Upstairs, though, Maggie Smith’s quick-wit and biting sarcasm never lets the audience down, but when Maggie Smith may not necessarily be the brightest star in the cast, you know you have a great show. Downton is the kind of series where you instantly bond with the characters and start choosing sides. Are you a Mary or an Edith? A Thomas or a Bates?
It’s also great in the way it doesn’t take a few episodes to catch on; shock and scandal start from episode one and don’t stop. Also, there aren’t tediously short amounts of time between episodes. Days, months or even years can pass between episodes and seasons. This keeps us from getting bored and prevents the story from getting stagnant. The seasons are short as well; they usually run about eight episodes per season. Really, there is no excuse not to get going right away.
So, get to know the critically-acclaimed and award-winning British invasion now taking over the United States through the most unusual means: PBS. This isn’t Reading Rainbow; this is the show you need to be watching right now. You can find the first two seasons of Downton Abbey on Netflix and the third through iTunes or another OnDemand service.