Yesterday while I wasn’t feeling well I caught up on some episodes of Downton Abbey. Yes, I know it is a couple of years old, but I don’t have TV, so I watch things as the become available on Netflix, or via the computer. This TV program about a family estate in England starting at the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, is a British period piece typically labeled as a melodrama. There has been a lot of speculation as to why it has been successful. It has sexual intrigue, but not the graphic depictions of sex we are usually subjected to in American TV. There are the snippy characters, often described as those we ‘love to hate’, (I don’t know why – I don’t love to hate them – I just want them gone), and similarly to Coach Sue in Glee, they seem to evolve over the series. Footman Thomas may actually become tolerable.
Well, I might be wrong. I do enjoy The Right Honourable Violet Crawley, Countess of Grantham, played by Maggie Smith. Maggie Smith is always a joy to watch. This character though is surprising. She is a snob, and though her demeanor is nose in the air, she often steps away from cliche’, to support a new notion.
Everyone is so terribly polite, which is an incredible relief after decades of TV devolving into foul mouthed, disrespectful, pornography. Each of the characters has depth from the kitchen maid to Lord Grantham himself. The war, is not prettied up, though perhaps the hospital side of it is. War is worse than hell, and we are reminded of that.
I hope that TV executives take note, and we are treated to more thoughtful, intelligent programs like this. If you look to purchase older dramas that were popular before vulgarity became ‘edgy’ and ‘modern’, you’ll find that the prices, and so I am assuming the demand, has remained high. I’m still hoping to find second hand copies of “The Waltons” to enjoy.