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

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

  1. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    double post
  2. MarieM

    MarieM Well-Known Member

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    Lots of downs actually. Hate this season and I think the show is dead to me, for now.
  3. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    You know, maybe if you're prepared for extreme disappointment you might not hate it as much as most people did :shuffle:

    Let's just say they dropped the ball and the writing leaves a little to be desired :shuffle:
  4. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    My guess is they were PLANNING to get rid of Sybil, but were broadsided by Dan Stephens wanting to leave and had to come up with a way to get rid of Matthew at the last minute. Killing Sybil off, okay, there aren't a lot of places left to go with her that were dramatic unless they wanted to touch the political third rail of the "Irish issue." That's STILL a touchy subject for a lot of people. They already skated a little close to Branson losing sympathy with his going from naive ("Oh, they won't kill the Tsar, his wife, and his children") to "Well, sometimes people have to die for politics", which didn't work out well with the new UD, as I'm sure they noticed (where they rescued the character of the chauffeur, but the political rich girl, well...) This solution keeps Branson and little Lady Sybil around and adds drama without the awkward issue of his being involved in a movement a lot of people still consider terrorism, or having him in prison at risk of hanging. Especially since they've already had a plot where someone's at risk of the noose. Matthew, on the other hand, feels like they found out "Oh, crap, we are not getting the actor back, we didn't really leave any openings for the character to run off or walk away that would make any sense, he doesn't want to do guest shots...crumbs."

    I just rewatched Julian Fellowes's "Titanic." I have to say...um...well, weirdly, if you shotgun all four episodes at once it makes more sense, but I cannot figure out WHY he did it that way. As it stands, you get repeated conversations, you get things like "Oh hi Jack Thayer whom we haven't seen in four episodes, why do I care again besides I know you're a real person?" And for all he talked about being more accurate than Cameron, he....yeah, not so much. I mean, for a guy who name-drops Fifth Office Lowe as much in one episode of Downton Abbey as the guy gets in every other Titanic movie combined, he puts him in the wrong lifeboat when that's a pretty easy one to get right? Has the post-sinking actions of the boats completely wrong? I really think splitting his time between the two shows didn't help either one....
  5. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

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    The general consensus of those who have watched seems pretty grim. Did anyone like it? My local newspaper reviewed season 3 (with a spoiler alert)
    and it was not a good review at all. Compliments went to the photography and costumes and not to the writing, the critic was quite harsh on the acting too.
    I am still going to watch on PBS on Sunday.
  6. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    I liked bits of it. As a whole though, I thought it was pretty weak.
  7. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    Well, it would seem as though David Bianculli, whose review I heard last night on NPR's Fresh Air, is a lone critic who liked it -- he thought that season 3 was the best of the three. :shuffle: I've avoided reading this thread or most things online related to Downton Abbey because I didn't want to risk being spoiled. I'm looking forward to watching the first episode on Sunday -- my reactions are often not in agreement with those of others anyway, so who know, I might actually enjoy it. :lol:
  8. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    "My guess is they were PLANNING to get rid of Sybil, but were broadsided by Dan Stephens wanting to leave and had to come up with a way to get rid of Matthew at the last minute."

    No, they knew before the start of series 3 that DS was leaving.
  9. ChelleC

    ChelleC Well-Known Member

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    I've read spoilers for season three. Question for those who have watched, is season three weaker than season two?
  10. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I would concede that all things considered, Season Three was perhaps weaker, but I still enjoyed it. It was eventful enough to hold my interest, but even more importantly, I've grown so very fond of the characters, which kept me engaged.

    That said, the resolution of several key story-lines could make Season 4 a challenge. I can see several directions that next season could focus on, but the producers and writers must take care if they want Season 4 to be a success.
  11. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    Yes. Much.

    Parts of it are enjoyable but I think the attachment to the characters are 3 series is the only thing that kept it going. The early part of the season is nice - I love the interaction between the two grandmothers. But as a whole, the season is pretty weak IMO, especially if you see reruns of season 1 and remember how it used to be.
  12. loulou

    loulou Well-Known Member

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    I think so. As Japanfan above though, I still enjoyed it too. The only really boring part (I opened games and fixed my daily planner while watching) was the Christmas Special.


    I admit I don't usually get to read much news of the sort, but didn't someone mention something about the actress portraying Sybil wanting out? Something about tshirts not quite selling?
  13. 4rkidz

    4rkidz GPF Barcelona here I come

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    oh I'm totally intrigued now :) I'm excited for Sunday..
  14. Marilou

    Marilou New Member

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    I liked it a lot :shuffle: :shuffle: :shuffle:
  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Even "lesser" Downton is better than most US television.

    Like others here, I don't think that Fellowes expected the series to become the "sensation" it has.
    With success like that, expectations become "elevated".
    Could anything he wrote live up to the "hype"?
  16. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

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    I enjoy Downton for its soapy aspects, but I disagree that it's better than US TV. IMO, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and Sons of Anarchy are all superior and far more creative shows.
  17. moojja

    moojja Active Member

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    Maybe it's because I always thought of Downton Abbey as a soap opera, but I thought season 3 was fine. Season 1 had a man drop dead on top of Mary. Season 2 had Matthew learning to walk again. The plot line in season 3 falls right inline with the tone of the show.
  18. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Notice I said "most" US TV.
    The only one of those shows I have consistent access to is "Mad Men",
  19. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    And "superior" is highly relative...it kind of depends on what sort of shows you want to watch. I pretty much don't watch "fiction" any more except when I can get a decent costume drama on DVD from the pay channels (haven't seen "Game of Thrones" yet, not sure I want to as I'm getting a bit fed up with the books-not how long he's taking to write them, how little the plot advances). Once in a while I'll watch "Castle", I watch NCIS (but don't worry too much about missing it as I get the DVDs eventually) but there's nothing else fiction-wise I'll go out of my way to watch.

    And I tend to prefer shows with mostly- or all-British casts. Even when I recognize an actor, I'm rarely sitting there thinking first and foremost "Oh, it's That Guy." Where with American shows I can rarely get past the actors as actors.

    And it's tonight! Season 3 begins on Masterpiece. My PBS is running a special before it, "The Secret History of Highclere Castle."
  20. Carmen Ovsiannikov

    Carmen Ovsiannikov New Member

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    About halfway through the first episode of season three. It's too soon for me to tell if I like season three better than season two (I did read the spoilers already) but the thing that keeps jumping out at me is that I want someone to put a muzzle on Branson. I get that he has strong opinions but I think that he could meet Sybil halfway; at least keep some of his comments to himself for her sake. He can rant all he wants at his own home.
  21. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen Homeland and am looking forward to checking it out, but did enjoy Season 1 of Game of Thrones as well as Pillars of the Earth Series last fall - I don't know how well known the latter is outside of Canada?

    This past year I've also watched Rome, I Claudius, and The Borgias.

    Downton Abbey is my favourite of all of these because of its attention to detail and slow pace. I enjoyed it almost as Poldark, which is perhaps my favourite Masterpiece Theater series of all time.

    Its the attention to detail that makes the difference. HBO had it in Rome, whereas Pillars of the Earth seemed rushed. I haven't yet made up my mind about The Borgias and Game of Thrones, both of which I'm enjoying. It's hard to pronounce an evaluation of a series before it is finished.

    I think Fellows may be challenged to bring Downton to a graceful close, but will say no more at the moment to avoid spoilers.
  22. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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    I, Claudius. Now THAT was a series worth watching.
  23. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. Shame is was decades ago. It was brilliant.
  24. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I loved Poldark, also.

    Downton may be nothing more than high-class "soap opera"; but, there's nothing wrong with that!
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  25. Latte

    Latte Well-Known Member

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    I watched it last night and enjoyed it just as much as the last two seasons.
    But, early days yet.
  26. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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    That was where I first saw wonderful actors like John Hurt, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sian Phillips and Brian Blessed.
  27. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    Except when it is misleadingly presented to one as high-class Masterpiece drama.
  28. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. I thought it was interesting when Bates showed his temper to his cellmate.
  29. Scrufflet

    Scrufflet Active Member

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    And Patrick Stewart, with hair!
  30. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    :confused: Is that how it's been presented by media in your area? It's part of the Masterpiece "Classic" programming, which basically are "period dramas" (in contrast to the Masterpiece "Mystery" programs which run in the other half of the year), but none of the promotions I've seen here make any pretense at it being anything more than a highly popular costume soap opera. After all, with DA actors appearing on Letterman and Leno and features on the PBS website like the "Which Downton Abbey Job is Right for You?" quiz, they don't seem to be mistaking themselves for Shakespeare -- or even Dickens. ;)
  31. 4rkidz

    4rkidz GPF Barcelona here I come

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    well I loved the opening of season 3.. in reading the none spoiled comments my expectations were low.. however I quite enjoyed it.. but then again I've been exposed to north american crap TV for the past few decades so I have likely lost some brain cells ;)
  32. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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  33. Reuven

    Reuven Official FSU Alte Kacher

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    That’s right, the wonderfully vile and overly ambitious Sejanus, who gets his comeuppance.
  34. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    If you have the Rome DVDs, the commentary on one of the Season 2 episodes includes that episode's director and writer begging the BBC and HBO to remake "I, Claudius" with the same kind of care and expense spent on Rome (they both clearly love it, but also rightly point out the cardboard BBC sets and the "same potted plants in ever room.") In fact they finish up the episode with "And write HBO, tell them to make 'I, Claudius!'")

    Japanfan--have you also seen 'The Tudors'?

    Regarding last night, anyone else have that one moment where you're torn between this being "Prison changes a man" and "Um...he IS innocent, right?" Which is wonderful on the actor's part.
  35. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    My faith in Bates never wavered -- that is, my faith in his being innocent didn't. I was/am a bit afraid that he might get into deeper trouble from some prison fight, though. :shuffle: Brendan Coyle is a marvelous as Bates, in my (easily pleased) opinion.
  36. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Shakespeare's work. which we now regard as "high-class drama" was viewed as the "soap-opera" of its' day.
    "Masterpiece"/"Masterpiece Theatre" was seen as "important" when it arrived on the scene, (IMO) for two primary reasons: they chose historical dramas, and it was amongst the first programming "imported" from the UK.
  37. victoriajh

    victoriajh Well-Known Member

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    tudors- one of the best series EVER- i could watch season 2 (aka the anne bolyen season) over and over- Rhys meyers and natalie dormer have some serious chemistry! is on netflix (in the usa) and cbc archived it all on the website- go loose a few hours!!!!
  38. Artistic Skaters

    Artistic Skaters Drawing Figures

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    I love that little Daisy. They ran her ragged the last two seasons - you go right ahead & stand up for your rights girl!
  39. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    I got the complete series DVD set for Christmas...have GORGED on "The Tudors." I think my favorite is series 3-Sarah Bolger is great as Mary and I enjoy watching Cromwell slide towards his appointment with the headsman (though it's a testament to James Frain's acting while I can't stand the character I still feel bad for him). And the costumes! I love costume dramas, though Downton moving into the twenties means it's in a period where I'm not really enamored of the clothes.
  40. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    I LOVED Pillars of the Earth and its sequel, World Without End. :swoon: It made me sad that no one on the internet seemed to know it existed so I could chat about it! Both had some pretty big stars, too - Matthew Mcfayden, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell in PotE, and Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin in WWE.