I've heard a lot about this series, all of it good, but it's taken me a while to jump on the Downton Abbey train. Last night I finally got around to watching the first series. Did it live up to all the hype? Absolutely.
There's much to like about this show. The characters are all very real, and I love the fact that the family of the manor are not portrayed as monsters or caricatures. Their dilemmas and problems are shown sympathetically, but they are not seen as more serious or important than those of the staff. The lives of those living upstairs and downstairs are giving equal weight, and we see life from both perspectives, which is very refreshing.
Setting the series just before the first world war was a stroke of genius. It was such a tumultous time with so many changes that it provides many opportunities for drama and humor. When the characters talk about this new fangled thing called electricity that is just being introduced into the houses of the rich it really drives home to you how much the world has changed in such a short time. Why on earth would anyone want electricity in the kitchen, of all places, they ask. It's hard to believe that people once thought electricity was just a passing fad that would quickly disappear. Given the effects of global warming that are becoming increasingly apparent, it might have been a good thing if it did!
The most amusing character in the series is undoubtedly the Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith who was born for this role. (So glad they didn't get Gillian Anderson to play her in a bad wig hehehehehe). The Countess of Grantham has many great lines. Here's a selection of some of her best.
If you haven't yet jumped on the train to Downton Abbey I suggest you do so as soon as possible. This is one series you don't want to miss.