590,589 Posts in 14,512 Topics by 2,542 Residents
Latest Member: dani5
BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
May 29, 2015, 03:53:07 am

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
*
Home Help Login Register
BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  The World Beyond BetterMost  |  The Culture Tent (Moderator: Sheriff Roland)  |  Topic: Have you been watching Downton Abbey? 0 Residents and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Have you been watching Downton Abbey?  (Read 40565 times)
Aloysius J. Gleek
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8,211





Ignore
« on: January 08, 2011, 03:12:43 pm »

Also posted April 08, 2011 in the Culture Tent thread:
Upstairs Downstairs, 165 Eaton Square....2011! (Well, 1936, but who's counting)
http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php/topic,48962.msg608363.html#msg608363



http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2010/oct/21/downton-abbey-tv-series?INTCMP=SRCH



Have you been watching …
Downton Abbey?

Ostensibly a drama about the inheritance of a house, all it's
really about is sex – and I haven't been this hooked for ages


by Viv Groskop
Thursday 21 October 2010 13.14 BST

guardian.co.uk


Downton Abbey: Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham


Downton Abbey  pitched itself hugely ambitiously from the start. There was a footman trying to have gay sex with any willing visiting aristocrat; a disinherited lady throwing herself at any man who would look at her (often the very men the footman was targeting); and a house guest who ravished that same lady only to expire, somewhat inconveniently, while performing the carnal act a little too vigorously, necessitating a midnight relocation of his corpse.

Blimey. I cannot remember a costume drama with storylines this juicy, as bonkers as they are strangely believable. Of course, we have Julian "Gosford Park" Fellowes to thank: he is the master of high camp amidst class tensions. And with Downton Abbey  he has achieved a slow boil that is truly delicious.

Although this is ostensibly a drama about the inheritance of a house, all it's really about is sex. Check out the new chauffeur – a socialist! – peering through the drawing room window to catch a glimpse of wannabe suffragette Lady Sybil wearing a daring pair of pantaloons! See how Bates, the valet with the dodgy leg, struggles with a tray romantically festooned with flowers for Anna the head housemaid! Marvel at the stiff upper lips of Carson, the butler, and Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper, both locked to Downton – and to each other — by destiny. Not that they yet know it.

The driving force of the plot is a will-they-won't-they dynamic designed to keep us guessing to the end of the series. We can already see Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) warming to Matthew (Dan Stevens), the commoner who has inherited her family's estate. But her sister Lady Edith is also gooey for him, taking him on a none-too-subtle tour of local churches. Bring on the posh sisters' bitch fight! My prediction is that Lady Mary and Matthew will get it on eventually and it will seem as if the estate has been saved… only for Lady Edith to poison one of them.

That's if Downton Abbey 's two brilliant baddies don't torch the place first: the wonderfully evil Thomas, second footman, and acidly depressed O'Brien, lady's maid, each more conniving than any Bond villain. The gigantic chips on Thomas's and O'Brien's shoulders pose a far larger threat to Downton than any inheritance shenanigans. I already suspect Thomas of putting about the (100% true) rumour about Lady Mary's lack of virtue, the rotten cad.

I have not been this glued to a series since Stephanie had her face chewed off by a crocodile in Return to Eden.  But is it all getting a bit too pantomime at the expense of quality drama? Will Dame Maggie Smith's eyes pop out of her head by the end of the series? And is there anywhere left to go after sex with a dead Turkish diplomat?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 11:33:11 pm by Meryl » Logged

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"
Aloysius J. Gleek
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8,211





Ignore
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 03:27:16 pm »



http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/nov/06/downton-abbey-itv-last-episode?INTCMP=SRCH




Downton Abbey fans brace
for farewell

Downton Abbey has been ITV's most successful costume drama
since Brideshead Revisited, and a second series is on the way


by Viv Groskop
Saturday 6 November 2010

guardian.co.uk


Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey


It is our last chance to swoon over the romance between Bates, the master's valet, and Anna, the head housemaid; to savour every last delicious glower from Dame Maggie Smith as the wild-eyed dowager countess. Tomorrow evening, a legion of fans will be perched on the edge of their sofas. Oh, Downton Abbey,  how we will miss you.

With viewing figures topping 11.6 million, this is ITV's most successful costume drama since Brideshead Revisited  launched the careers of Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. Over the past seven weeks, the nation has been gripped by the Upstairs Downstairs  carryings-on at the Crawley family seat. A critical and commercial triumph for ITV, the series has already been sold to the US, and eight more episodes have been commissioned for a second series, with filming due to start in March 2011.

Downton 's makers, Carnival Films – owned by the US media giant NBC Universal – are poised to make millions by selling the format overseas, having footed 25% of the cost of producing the series, with ITV paying the remainder. That is unusual: most commissions are paid for solely by the channel which first screens it, but NBC has deeper pockets than most. But as the ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier, hinted this week, Downton Abbey  also signals a new direction for ITV, away from "lowest common denominator" shows such as X Factor  towards more arts programming and quality drama. The series has been love-it-or-hate-it viewing at its best. But the Downton Abbey  sideshow has been almost as entertaining – and as quintessentially middle England.

Even those who profess to hate it seem to know every plot detail. One critic bleated to me last week: "Two years are supposed to have passed since episode one, and yet nothing has changed. It makes no sense."

Some have complained that there are too many advertising breaks, that the language is inaccurate ("They shouldn't use the word 'boyfriend' until 1933"), and that the subplots are ludicrous. There are even concerns that the family is not posh enough: they would never speak informally to the staff. Others think there are not enough staff for a house of that size. No matter. Almost everyone is watching.

The screenwriter, Julian Fellowes, has been forced to mount a defence against plagiarism, replying in an injured tone amusingly reminiscent of the dowager countess herself ("I am not conscious of lifting"). Online, eagle-eyed viewers have railed about television aerials being in shot, fleeting glimpses of double yellow lines and the presence of an anachronistic conservatory. In the Spectator,  a reader with knowledge of Turkish history points out "gently" that even Mr Pamuk, the visiting dignitary whose midnight dalliance with Lady Mary caused him to expire from excitement ("Poor Kemal!"), is wrongly labelled. ("He would be addressed as Kemal Bey.") The Downton Abbey  media machine has responded crossly that there are no yellow lines in the village of Bampton where the series is shot, and that the conservatory in question dates back to the Edwardian era. (They put their hands up about the TV aerial, which is visible for a millisecond.)

Fellowes bemoaned the "permanent negative nit-picking from the left". (Surely he meant the right?) "There are plenty of shows on television I don't like. But I don't go on about them." He added that his critics were "insecure socially". But all this carping misses the point. Simultaneously escapist and relevant, Downton Abbey  has captured the spirit of our own times: it portrays, in microcosm, a society on the brink of disaster. The national debate about its historical accuracy is a measure not of its failure but of its success. It is a sumptuous, accomplished piece of television which can be enjoyed on many levels.

This is because unlike so many other costume dramas, it is not based on a previously existing work of fiction. It is by a contemporary writer (Fellowes) for a contemporary audience. In real life, the dowager countess would have surely cut her granddaughter dead for her loss of virtue. And would the pantaloon-clad Lady Sybil be allowed near any feminist rallies? Probably not. But these things could have happened, they might have happened. And this is not a documentary. It's British drama at its finest. Long may the Crawleys reign.

• This article was amended on 8 November 2010. The original referred to the dowager duchess. This has been corrected.
Logged

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"
Aloysius J. Gleek
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8,211





Ignore
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2011, 03:41:10 pm »



http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2010/dec/29/period-drama-television?INTCMP=SRCH




Downton Abbey v
Upstairs Downstairs
– who won?

Downton Abbey, of course. What it did in a deliciously
melodramatic thespian whisper, Upstairs Downstairs did
with a cartoon sledgehammer


by Viv Groskop
29 December 2010 14.16 GMT

guardian.co.uk


Neil Jackson as chauffeur Harry Spargo in Upstairs Downstairs.


Champagne corks must have been popping in Julian Fellowes' house last night. After months of speculation and anticipation, finally it's official: Upstairs Downstairs  is nowhere near as good as Fellowes' baby, Downton Abbey.

Poor Upstairs Downstairs.  If only they had aired it six months ago, everyone would be saying how wonderful it is. Instead it has had to endure the curse of comparison. And next to Fellowes' glittering showpiece (with an audience of 10.8 million and one of the top 10 ratings winners of 2010), the BBC's revival of its 1970s classic looked as limp as the shammy leather wielded by Spargo, the spurned fascist chauffeur.

Here's the problem. Downton Abbey  completely changed the way we watch period drama. Fellowes brought all the tight, witty scripting of a Hollywood adaptation to an original story, topped off with a gigantic, knowingly camp wink that delighted jaded viewers.

As for Upstairs Downstairs,  not even mesmerising performances from Keeley Hawes as Lady Agnes and Dame Eileen Atkins as Lady Holland could save the day. What was the BBC thinking of, cramming enough material for several series into three hours?

Last night in the space of five minutes a baby was born (delivered by the butler in the bathroom), one sister ran away to join the Nazis and another sister, presumed dead, was discovered to have been living in a psychiatric clinic for the past 20 years. Oh yes, and the king abdicated.

Now, Downton Abbey  was hardly subtle. (Two words: Mister Pamuk.) But what it did in a deliciously melodramatic thespian whisper, Upstairs Downstairs  did with a cartoon sledgehammer borrowed from amateur dramatics.

In the first episode of Downton Abbey,  for example, there was a fleeting glimpse of the newspapers being pressed by one of the footmen. In Upstairs Downstairs  the housekeeper came clomping down the stairs shouting lingeringly: "Oh. The newspapers are LATE. There will be no time to IRON them." You expected her to add: "This we must do because it is the OLDEN DAYS." I had flashbacks of French and Saunders' House of Idiot.

Upstairs Downstairs  had sparks of Downton -esque genius. The confiscated Cecil Beaton photograph and the psychedelic pistachio bavarois. The pet monkey caressing Lady Agnes' cherry with his eyes at the breakfast table and rejecting the marmalade because he prefers thin-cut. And Dame Eileen Atkins' understatedly brilliant one-liners: "Bureaucrats relish an entertaining female." "Wallis Simpson is not chic. She is relentlessly well-dressed."

The off-the-record murmur from the BBC? This was a pilot for a new series which could go head-to-head with Fellowes' ratings giant. So could Upstairs Downstairs  work if the BBC gave it more room to breathe? Or should they cut their losses and face the truth – that this time ITV has beaten them at their own game? As ever, I'm with Mr Pamuk. (Forever in Downton Abbey  heaven.)
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 08:11:21 pm by Aloysius J. Gleek » Logged

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"
Aloysius J. Gleek
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8,211





Ignore
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2011, 03:56:25 pm »






http://www.slate.com/id/2280262/


Terms of Entailment
Elizabeth McGovern is delightful in the upstairs-downstairs drama Downton Abbey.

By June Thomas
Updated Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at 11:00 AM ET





The best way to determine the quality of a show in the PBS "Masterpiece Classics" series is to measure the skirts. If they're too short, it means we're in England's grim midcentury period, and I prefer my classics to be set long before the reign of the current queen. I'm pleased to report that the frocks of Downton Abbey  reach all the way to the ground, just as they should. Indeed, all the period costumer's occult arts are on display: corsetry, millinery, the starching of detachable collars. The show, which was a hit in Britain, is set in the world of immaculately turned-out servants who rise at dawn to light their masters' fires, iron their newspapers, and prepare their meals, while their own breakfasts are constantly interrupted by summoning bells from upstairs.

In the first episode, the papers bring devastating news—the sinking of the Titanic means that Lord Grantham (a likable Hugh Bonneville) has lost his heir and the spare. What's worse, one of the men was unofficially engaged to Mary (Michelle Dockery), the eldest of the earl's three daughters. Since the family estate is entailed and can pass in its entirety only to a male heir, the marriage would've solved Mary's problems. But her prospects went down with the great ship. Unless the entail can be smashed, all the land and property and her American mother's fortune will be passed to a third cousin once removed, a lawyer from Manchester.

Lord Grantham is a good egg. This is obvious from his very first piece of dialogue, when he evinces sympathy for the less fortunate and displays a sensitivity of feeling that in our own day can only be developed by spending many hours on a yoga mat. As a native Mancunian, I can tell you that it's his lordship's pronunciation of Manchester that best establishes him as a decent sort. Never has a TV toff uttered the name of that gritty Northern English city with so little contempt.

The entail is to Downton Abbey  what the taxation of trade routes was to The Phantom Menace:  a big, mostly boring Maguffin. It's a source of stress for Lord Grantham, who knows that the only way to save his loved ones from being usurped by a stranger is to undo the legal knot his father so carefully tied. The injustice of the entail also makes temporary allies of his wife, Cora, played with the perfect blend of good-natured patience and resigned disappointment by Elizabeth McGovern, and his mother, the crabby dowager countess—a scene-stealing, sour-faced Maggie Smith, who seems to have prepared for the role by lining her knickers with sandpaper.

Downton Abbey  manages to be reassuringly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh. If you've seen Gosford Park  (which earned Downton Abbey  creator Julian Fellowes an Oscar for best original screenplay), The Remains of the Day,  or a single episode of Upstairs, Downstairs —basically, if you know what a butler is—you'll feel right at home. The stiff upper lips, the stirrup cups, and the weekend house parties are all there, but in the middle of it all, you can see opportunities opening up, and modern Britain beginning to emerge. The servants are still grateful to have avoided the factory or the fields, but they're entertaining other options. The daughters of the landed gentry are still willing to put themselves on the block of the marriage market, but an adequate income isn't all they demand of a potential husband (and membership in a good family isn't enough for their suitors).

Change is coming, but it hasn't arrived yet, and there's no rushing history, especially below stairs. Housemaid Gwen (Rose Leslie) has ideas about leaving service, and her slow, nervous exploration of that path suggests she might find a way out. But Thomas (William Mason), the first footman, is burning with ambition, and nothing good can come of it. Thomas has his heart set on becoming Lord Grantham's valet, but the job goes instead to a mysterious stranger, leaving Thomas resentful and scheming.

Ambition, and the disruption it could unleash, is incompatible with happiness in the Downton Abbey  universe. Exquisite politeness and proper protocol may seem like stuffy signifiers of the status quo, but they exist to make people feel comfortable. When the new heir, Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), is summoned to the estate, he balks at its rules because he doesn't understand their purpose. He refuses to allow the butler to serve him, believing that fastening his own cufflinks or pouring his own tea is a sign of self-sufficiency. In fact, it is an act of selfishness that makes the butler doubt the worthiness of his profession. Knowing one's place is like knowing one's shoe size—life is infinitely more pleasant when you get it right.

Still, transformation makes for fabulous television, and although the changes to the lives of these country folk are gradual, the show itself is zippy, moving from dining room to drawing room to bedroom at a good clip. It will satisfy the commoner in all of us, and for the toffs, Downton Abbey  is as bracing as a good day's hunting.
Logged

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"
Aloysius J. Gleek
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8,211





Ignore
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 04:26:55 pm »





 


   


   


Logged

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"
Meryl
BetterMost Supporter
BetterMost Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 12,078


There's no reins on this one....




Ignore
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2011, 06:27:56 pm »

I somehow managed to miss any knowledge of this series!  Let's face it, I don't keep up with TV.  How many episodes have I missed?  Are they available online?  Tongue
Logged

Ich bin ein Brokie...
Meryl
BetterMost Supporter
BetterMost Moderator
The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 12,078


There's no reins on this one....




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2011, 12:26:15 am »

I watched "Downton Abbey" tonight, and I'm happy to say, after reading the above articles, that it seems I haven't missed any episodes.  This was the first.  Hurrah!

This is great stuff, just as Gosford Park was, and I'm excited to read that a second season of episodes is in the works.  Yay!  Cool
Logged

Ich bin ein Brokie...
milomorris
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 6,270


No crybabies




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2011, 02:47:43 am »

I watched "Downton Abbey" tonight, and I'm happy to say, after reading the above articles, that it seems I haven't missed any episodes.  This was the first.  Hurrah!

This is great stuff, just as Gosford Park was, and I'm excited to read that a second season of episodes is in the works.  Yay!  Cool

Yes!! David and I caught the first episode tonight on PBS. We're in!!

I'm a bit of an Anglophile. And David's grandparents, uncles, and aunts were Scottish/Welsh servant class. So we're looking forward to more of this.
Logged

  The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
delalluvia
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*******
Offline Offline

Gender: Female
Posts: 8,289


"Truth is an iron bride"




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2011, 07:58:54 pm »

I saw a preview and it looked awesome, but missed it when the first episode aired Sunday.  Sad
Logged

Aloysius J. Gleek
BetterMost Supporter!
BetterMost 5000+ Posts Club
*****
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 8,211





Ignore
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2011, 09:21:22 pm »



Episode 1 (1:23:04) can be found here:

http://video.pbs.org/video/1724131531/#


Logged

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Go Up Print 
BetterMost, Wyoming & Brokeback Mountain Forum  |  The World Beyond BetterMost  |  The Culture Tent (Moderator: Sheriff Roland)  |  Topic: Have you been watching Downton Abbey? « previous next »
Jump to:  

Listen to Brokeback Mountain Radio 1
Listen to Brokeback Mountain Radio 1



Help keep this site operating by donating.


 
Web bettermost.net
Image courtesy of 'AuroraLucis'


No more beans.  I'm sick of beans.

Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines