Downton Abbey--Upstairs/Downstairs, Stiff Upper Lips, and Tea!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Matryeshka, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    Anyone else watching this? It's got everything a great PBS British Masterpiece Theatre production needs--great clothes, horsies, big houses, Maggie Smith, tea, and..errr...hooyay.

    It starts out with the sinking of the Titanic, and the sinking of the heirs to Downton Abbey, which basically means the oldedst daughter must marry the new heir or someone equally rich, else the family could be turned out. It's a great picture of the changing nature (and what hasn't changed) of British society pre-WWI. It covers everything from the working to the upper classes, those having a career v. the landed gentry "gentlemen", to women's rights, to sex (same and hetero). For a PBS period drama, it's got some :eek: turns in it to, like
    when the hot Turk turned up dead

    Anyway, the pacing's excellent, and they give great recaps at the beginning for anyone wanting to catch up. It's on tonight 9/8c.

    I'm LOVING this series so far, and even better, they're making a sequel to it later this year! :cheer2:
     
  2. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    this show is awesome, i have nothing constructive to add but :cheer: to pbs
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2011
  3. Icetalavista

    Icetalavista Active Member

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    I'm a Downtoniac. LOVE those upstairs/downstairs soapy dramas. (Loved every cheesy minute of Titanic, too, for the record). I will be very interested to see if they reveal a bit more about the disabled main footman (is that his current job? I'm a bit confused) and the nasty piece of work housekeeper. Is she related to the gay footman or just in league with him?

    I don't want the 'poor relation' inheritor to end up with the snippy eldest sister but it looks like he has a thing for her.

    I don't do well with names as you can see.

    As an RN I was interested to note Edwardian-era cardiac surgery techniques. Will have to chat with the cardiologists at work about those. :lol:
     
  4. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    well, the homely and snippy middle sister also seems to have the hots for him
     
  5. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    I'm dying to watch this, but only have Part 2 recorded. Can anyone give me the schedule? I tried to set up a series recording but I guess I didn't do it right.
     
  6. znachki

    znachki Active Member

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    Bates - who is the Earl's valet, has to fill in occasionally as footman.

    I don't think that O'Brien - Lady Grantham's ladies maid, and Thomas, the footman are related. But I'm not certain. They certainly are troublemakers though.

    One of my favorite lines so far was Maggie Smith's - What is a week end? I think she may have uttered a similar line about that vulgarism in Gosford Park!
     
  7. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    I missed the first episode, so I can't answer all of your questions, but the "nasty piece of work" is not the housekeeper (who is rather nice), but is lady's maid to the countess (Elizabeth McGovern) and Bates, the man servant with a limp, is Lord Grantham's valet, a promotion that Thomas, the scheming footman, wanted.
     
  8. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you can do a series recording with it in most areas. We tried to do it too--I think it's because how PBS does its scheduling--every station has a potentially different schedule, so there's no way for your DVR to download a schedule from a central hub. I've had issues DVRing other PBS shows.

    It should be online somewhere though--it ran on BBC last year so you can catch up.
     
  9. sk8sue

    sk8sue SHERLOCKED

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    If you're in the US, you ought to be able to see the episodes aired so far here until February 22.

    I saw the first one and loved it, recorded the second, but haven't been able to watch it yet, and have a conflict tonight between recording it or the Canadian Championships. The Buffalo PBS station repeats Downton Abbey late on Saturday nights, though, so I'll have another opportunity, all being well.
     
  10. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, but a dissenting opinion here; I have watched the first two episodes, but I am not sure why, since it is ghastly, to say the least. The costumes and some of the performances are the only good things about this. The storyline is ludicrous and over-the-top - a complete misfire as far as I'm concerned. I am not recommending this to anyone. Most people I know who viewed the first episode turned it off after 20 minutes and didn't even bother with the second. I give this a D-, I'm afraid.
     
    Jodi and (deleted member) like this.
  11. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

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    I stumbled upon it yesterday and got sucked into the episode that was airing (visit from the Turkish diplomat :sekret: ). I immediately signed up for the rest of the season.

    I love all of the conniving characters, and Maggie Smith does not disappoint.
     
  12. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I'm watching and loving every minute. On my PBS station, I get Lark Rise followed by Downton Abbey, so I'm in heaven on Sunday nights.
     
  13. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Anyone who's on Twitter, there's a Downton party every week, using the hashtag #DowntonPBS. It's been a lot of fun so far!

    I can't say it's my favorite BBC miniseries of all time -- far from it -- but the story's entertaining enough, in a soapy way, and Maggie Smith is sublime. Nice to see Elizabeth McGovern again, too. I don't think I've seen her in anything since that absolutely hideous Scarlet Pimpernel series a few years ago.
     
  14. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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    Bates was His Lordship’s batman (an officer’s personal servant) during the Boer Wars. I believe the injury is combat related which is why Grantham installed him as his valet, a position that Thomas, the scheming footman wanted. And Thomas has his own secret.
     
  15. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Bates is a sweetie. I've noticed a lot of #TeamBates being used at the Twitter events. :)
     
  16. pollyanna

    pollyanna playing the Glad Game

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    Either that, or she has the hots for being married to any male with money and/or a title. I got the idea that being homely (and snide), she would make do with anyone who would ask her.

    I adore this series - I love Maggie Smith in anything, I love Hugh Bonneville, and it's nice to see Elizabeth McGovern in such a great role, she is as lovely as ever.

    I find this period in English history fascinating (very well depicted in Gosford Park as well) - the English country manor house with its abundance of live-in servants and the strict division between classes is fading and nearly dies out completely during and after WWI. It's interesting to see a couple of the younger women like Gwen and Lady Sybil aspire to something different than what society has locked them into in years past. The dynamic between Violet and Cora is almost hilarious - Violet looks down on Cora the American, yet it was Cora's money that saved Downton Abbey for which Violet is somewhat grateful, and it's Cora that Violet decides to align herself with in the quest to protect Lady Mary.

    Sounds like the series is very popular in the UK as I think I read that more episodes have been ordered. :cheer2:
     
  17. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Terribly convenient that the Earl fell in love with his wife after pursuing her for her money, isn't it? :) It would be really cool to see a prequel about their courtship.
     
  18. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Well, I've ordered this on Netflix so I don't have to wait for a whole week to find out what happens next. :p
     
  19. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    Oh, I'm so glad there are other fans! I fell into this the first night it was on and now it's appointment TV. Personally, I'm rooting for a Bates-Anna romance, she's a bit young for him but they're the good guys. Along with the earl himself who is giving Brit aristocrats a good name.

    Never let a hot Middle-Eastern guy into your room. ;)
     
  20. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    I'm sorry to hear this. Downton was THE TV hit of 2010 here in the UK and by the end of the series was drawing in excess of 11 million viewers per episode - HUGE figures for us. It is worth persevering with if only for Maggie Smith's eternally wonderful put downs. This series cost £7 million to produce and thankfully the viewing figures have guaranteed a second series. I hope it runs and runs. This is the kind of thing that Britain does so well and frankly is a welcome respite from the endlessly mind numbing hours of reality TV that TV execs seem to think we want!! :blah:

    Are you guys also getting, or going to get the new series of Upstairs Downstairs? They made a 3 part special for the BBC at christmas set in 1936 - different family but Jean Marsh as Rose returns. Loved it. Rumours are that this is to be commisioned for further development this year also.
     
  21. Matryeshka

    Matryeshka Well-Known Member

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    I would think that would not be uncommon in the later Victorian Era. Marrying for money was still numero uno, but it was becoming increasingly common for people to marry for love as well, at least among the burgeoning middle class. Changing notions of family, the increased visibility of women in society, etc. I think would promote husbands to look more fondly on their wives in general.

    England was one of the first countries to short of eschew the idea that man's downfall was because of Eve and embrace the idea that women should be protected, cossetted, and valued--the idea of separate spheres, with each sphere being equally important to the healthy functioning of society for the present and future generations.

    If not full on luuuuurve as we would think in the US, but I think it was the ideal in the latter 19th century for men to feel great affection for their wives and children (within proper bounds, of course :p ).
     
  22. pollyanna

    pollyanna playing the Glad Game

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    Bless you for asking this - I looked it up and it appears that PBS will be airing this in 2011!

    PBS Orders New 'Upstairs Downstairs' and Sherlock Holmes series for 2011

    (A few of the new Sherlock Holmes episodes have aired here already and I really liked them. Also, Rufus Sewell = :swoon:)
     
  23. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we are getting Upstairs Downstairs later in the season, but I will confess that I did not like the original at all and have no plans to watch the sequel.

    As far as Downton Abbey, I think I would have less of a problem with it if it weren't on Masterpiece Classic. It's neither a Masterpiece nor Classic; it's an over-the-top soap and nothing more and should have been marketed as such. There are so many things about it that just set my teeth on edge. The villains are way too one-dimensional, Ditsy Daisy the kitchen maid is the most annoying character to debut on TV in the last year, etc, etc. I could go on, but I'll just go away and leave this thread for the fans.
     
  24. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    That could be said of pretty much any movie or series in which Maggie Smith appears. :) I LOVE her.

    Totally with you there. At least once an episode I want to brain her with a frying pan -- except I don't think she has any brains.

    It's so obvious that she's an audience stand-in, and just there for the other characters to (more or less patiently) explain things to, so that we'll understand better what's going on. But the number of things she doesn't know about her own society beggars belief! The incessant info-dumping is one of the most annoying aspects of the whole series; I do wish they could have found a better way to convey some of this stuff.
     
  25. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Each to their own. :) Downton follows a similar theme to UpDown in that it closely ties in with historical and political events, so no wonder you didn't like either. ;) The new UpDown focuses on the abdication crisis of 1936. Rumours are that a new series would take it through to the end of WW2 and that would be the end of that.

    Pollyanna - I'm glad you're getting to see the new UpDown. Hope you enjoy it, and Sherlock was wonderful - so fast paced and intricate. As much as I love Rufus Sewell, I wouldn't bother with Zen. I tried and failed. It's had pretty awful reviews over here. :(
     
  26. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Please, give me some credit; the historical and political events have nothing to do with why I don't like either series. It's been so long since I've seen U/D that I honestly can't remember why I didn't like it - I think it might have had something to do with the wooden performances of some of the leads.

    Downton Abbey just comes across as phony and unbelievable to me. Where is Trollope when you need him?
     
  27. Tinami Amori

    Tinami Amori Well-Known Member

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    I am watching Downton Abbey, and very much enjoying every second of it.

    Looking forward to the new Upstairs/Downstairs, BBC has not made a bad remake yet, as far as I am concerned, and I hate remakes..

    Even the “modern remake” of Sherlock Holmes is very interesting.
     
  28. pollyanna

    pollyanna playing the Glad Game

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    :( Must re-watch Cold Comfort Farm instead.
     
  29. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    So the dressmaker always makes the same frock. I didn't know Vera Wang was around in those days. :saint:
     
  30. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    why is the gay brunette employee mean to the blond guy and why does the blond guy care?