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

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

  1. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Of course actors aren't slaves, which is why no one would force them to sign a contract to begin with. If, say, an anchor man signs for five years at the news, and then some smashing opportunity rises, he'll simply give it up, because buying out of his contract is going to be more expansive than his career could afford. I don't think agreeing to a project makes anyone a slave, but surely it reflects on the project outcome.
  2. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

    I think the fact the actors aren't all signed for 5 years like a lot of actors are in US tv shows just really proves that they didn't think it would go for more than 1 season. It was the unexpected runaway hit of the year, and everything since has felt like an afterthought. I watched season 1 again recently with a friend, and watching season straight after was a huge disappointment :(

    The writing was consistently week.
    It was all 'oh no! A huge catastrophe! Oh don't worry, it's miraculously resolved itself. Now let's throw in the grim reaper to take that saccharine edge off". Lovely. Sybille was my favourite character. I was already bitter about the way she was written out, although her death did somehow redeem Tom's character and make him more like his season 1 self, but killing Matthew? There are so many other ways they could have written him out, rather than rushing to a Christmas special with a lost plot.

    I'm going to bet the baby will be named Matthew and then, as the new heir, it'll be the circle of life. We can skip ahead 20 years to him being killed in WWII, or else confined to a wheelchair and miraculously healed in time to incestuously marry first cousin Sybil. I can forgive the totally out of place language (no one said "whatever" back then), but I'll just stick with watching Revenge for my dose of mindless soap from now. They do it much better ;)

    Sorry, I'm just bitter!
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2012
  3. Latte

    Latte Well-Known Member

    Sure I liked this person on the show, but, I will enjoy the show even without him. There are so many characters that are great to watch on the show that I will still love it for as many years as they want to make it.
    It's the best thing that has been on tv for many years.
  4. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

    Whatever happened to simply replacing the character with a new actor? They did it on "Bewitched" :) And Roseanne, and just about every soap opera ever made.
  5. Lorac

    Lorac Well-Known Member

    Mainly because this isn't classed as a soap!!! And even then it rarely happens in UK soaps - that it isn't unheard of!! Mind you my Mom is already campaigning for a Dallas type dream sequence for next years Christmas Special ;):D
  6. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    My best friend and my cousin have both just gotten into the show, and they're both all chipper and excited for series 3 (being completely unspoiled), and all I can think is, "Oh, you poor things."
  7. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure all I'm about to say needs spoilers but I'll put it there just in case.

    I've only watched the end of the episode because my mother's cable was acting up... I wasn't fond of the way they ridded of Matthew, I wonder if it was that unfeasible to make him an unseen character... It probably wouldn't have been so upsetting if the author hadn't parted with Sybill in a similar fashion, couldn't he just have kept her in Ireland?
    As far as next season is concerned I'm curious about what he will do with Thomas and Jimmy, I frankly don't think Fellowes has the skills to keep them in a realistic friendship...
  8. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    Oh, it's everyone's doubt.

    I believe they couldn't just keep Sybill in Ireland, as they needed her husband and son for the show. Dying like flies, they need all the characters they can get.

    As for Thomas and Jimmy, I think they might even forget about the story line at once. After all, as someone noticed, it was picked up again months and months after it started, as if no time at was passed.
  9. 4rkidz

    4rkidz plotting, planning and travelling

    I'm totally excited for season 3 but now am alarmed by your comment? We just watched both seasons and the xmas special over the xmas break and we totally loved it! I must find out if we get the channel it is on starting on Sunday.. if not is it easy to find it online after it has aired?? The house I grew up in England.. had maid quarters with bells in the lower floor (a 21 room house).. my parents used to rent out the 'downstairs'.. didn't look anything like Downton of course.. I guess would be considered 'middle class'.. LOL..
  10. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    Arrgh, sorry. :duh: Sometimes I don't use spoiler tags for vague things, and then I realize I should've.

    Let's just say there are a lot of ups and downs during the season.
  11. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    double post
  12. MarieM

    MarieM Grumpy Cynical Ice Dance Lover

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

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

    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:
  14. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    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....
  15. kittyjake5

    kittyjake5 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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

    skatingfan5 Past Prancer's Corridor

    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:
  18. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    "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.
  19. ChelleC

    ChelleC Well-Known Member

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

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    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.
  21. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

    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.
  22. loulou

    loulou Let It Snow

    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?
  23. 4rkidz

    4rkidz plotting, planning and travelling

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

    Marilou Well-Known Member


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

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    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"?
  26. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

    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.
  27. moojja

    moojja Active Member

    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.
  28. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    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."
  30. Carmen Ovsiannikov

    Carmen Ovsiannikov Well-Known Member

    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.