I am a huge fan of period dramas; be it a movie or a TV series. The idea of having a glimpse of life in the past has always been alluring to my taste. I often feel that I belonged to that world someplace sometime. Although not crazy about it, I do believe in reincarnation and that some of our memories still retain those which came from our past life. Not to be biased or anything, I have a feeling my past self lived in the 1920's.
Currently, I have been feasting my eyes on this lavish English drama series, Downton Abbey, which was set on the post-Edwardian era. I bumped into this series after watching Anna Karenina, a period film set in Russia starring my favorite Brit actress Keira Knightley. I just couldn't get enough dose of petticoats, fabulous hairstyles and scenic sets so I Googled the net in the hope of finding a similar critically acclaimed production. It wasn't difficult to find Downton as it was on every link that came up with my search. I've heard of it before but never watched it. Well, better late than never.
This show is considered a mini-series with only eight episodes every season running for 50-60 min each. Please, believe me when I say 60 min of watching Downton passes like a blink. You'll never notice how long and how unproductive you are seating in front of your screen breaking every one-last-episode promise, and before you know it, you're done with the season.
This is no ordinary drama, I tell you. It has been highly acclaimed winning numerous awards from the Emmys, Golden Globes and other award-giving bodies in Britain. The story revolves around the lives of the people who live in the country estate named Downton Abbey. This has the classic plot where a rich Lord needs to find an heir by marrying his eldest daughter to a deserving candidate. But that's just not it. The classic tale is made more intriguing in the presence of a century-old entail contained in the estate's will, that only allows a male heir to acquire the family's wealth. It is interesting to note that Lord Grantham is blessed with three daughters, and is now faced with the potential loss of the estate to a distant unknown relative, not because he deserves it, but because he was born a male. The eldest daughter, Lady Mary now struggles to fight the pressure of being forced in a marriage not meant to make her happy, but to keep the family's wealth within their bloodline.
The main meat of the story that keeps the viewers entertained does not lie on the story and the plot alone. Here are some of the other reasons why you should watch it :
- The great attention the producers had for the finest details portraying the lifestyle during that time with great precision and accuracy and that includes the fashion as well which was on the spot and fabulous. Corsets are out, loose and empire waist dresses are in. You'll also notice that people use matching hats not only for functionality but because it's part of the proper wardrobe, moreover, proper dressing wasn't a task for the women alone but also for the men.
|Who doesn't like beautifully adorned wide-brimmed hats?|
- The links to historical events are accurately weaved along with the plot as the season opens with the sinking of Titanic in 1912 and gradually finds its way to the dawn of the first world war in 1918. You'll find that these events realistically affect the lives of the great Lords and how most of their major decisions are influenced by their lowly servants. You'll be surprised to find that the maids and footmen have more stories to tell than their masters, and their involvement in major events are indispensable.
|So every ship is "unsinkable" until it sinks.- Lord Grantham|
- It depicts the now forgotten values, ideal of a gentlemen such as chivalry and fine manners. Seeing these values portrayed in character is quite rare in modern-day productions, so one can never help but wish that men with such attributes would come right around the corner once again.
|Oh Matthew! How I wish you exist!.. T.T|
- Maggie Smith, who used to play Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter movies, spices up the story with her character as the Dowager Countess, adding humor, witty idioms, and fun as she brings the characters to countless awkward circumstances. Her character in Downton will make you forget the fact that she used to be a witch teaching transfiguration in Hogwarts.
|Don't mess with the Dowager! haha|
- Who wouldn't love to hear the sensuality, taste, and feel of the old British accent. In the first few episodes you'll probably need the help of subtitles but eventually you'll find yourself communicating with the characters in the same way.
|I just can't resist the accent!|
- As a lady, it is typical for me to be on the lookout for hot chaps in sophisticated clothing. You'll definitely find a lot of them in Downton, from the foreign guests, to the Admirals, and even the footmen and chauffeurs. This series will surely offer a visual buffet to the rest of ladies out there.
|Even with dirt, he still looks hot! hihi|
The list could go on, but the main point is, Downton Abbey is rich story-telling at its best. Kudos to Julian Fellows for conceptualizing this, and to the amazing team who brought it to life. If you're a fan of the show like me, I bet you know exactly what I mean. But for those who hasn't catch a glimpse of a single episode yet, I'm encouraging you to give episode 1 a try, continuing to watch the rest of the show will solely be based on your discretion. But one thing is for sure, this series must not be missed in anyone's watch-list. By the way, season 3 has just ended. They just started shooting for season 4. So now, it's time for you to do some catching up. I hope you'll like it as much as I do.