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Friday, January 16, 2015

What Downton Abbey do to people .

-"What Downton Abbey it's about?"

This was not the first time I heard someone ask: What is it about Downton Abbey that makes people like it so much? This post it's not only for people who has never watched the show before but also for fans. Maybe you agree with me or maybe you would like to add more things.

So let me try to explain it for you:

1. What Downton Abbey it's about?

Basically, Downton Abbey it's a period television series or an historical TV series. This means that the story is set in an earlier time period in history. For Example: Downton Abbey's first season is set from 1912 to 1914, second season 1916 to1919, third season 1920, fourth season 1922 and fifth season 1924.

The show itself is about the aristocratic Crawley family and their lives during some historical events and how the changes affected the society, the family and their world. The story of this family is intertwined with the lives of the servitude working in Downton Abbey, the home of the Crawleys. 

"An average of 10.1-million total viewers tuned in to the season premiere on Sunday on PBS. "Downton," created by writer-producer Julian Fellowes, is the biggest hit series in the 44-year history of PBS." -LATimes

2. Why Downton Abbey it's so popular ?

There are viewers who degrade themselves by saying that DA will be a "hard”, “complicated" and too "posh" series to watch. But even though the Crawley family it's an aristocrat family, it is not hard to empathize with them, as people and above all the show it's very interesting for many reasons.

In addition to meeting one of its objectives, entertain viewers, there are many valuable features about this show that makes it stand out from other dramas on TV:

- The show is classy, witty, fun, tasteful and ...did I mention classy?

In a world where it became normal to watch trashy house wives, people fighting, sex, nudity, dating reality shows, people getting drunk and pucking in front of a camera, it is a breath of fresh air to have Downton Abbey on TV. 

The way it is presented is completely opposite to others prime time shows (For example in U.S TV ). This show is classy, fun, entertaining and it teaches people things about the society and the world during the 1900's that nowadays, people wouldn’t even know because we don’t pick up history books anymore. It actually made viewers re-think their moral codes, their manners and most important of all... people are asking themselves as viewers: " What the hell I was watching before Downton Abbey?!” These new questions creates new standards in viewers.

-Downton Abbey is a different way to learn about:

  • Irish History
  • The life of women in the early 1900s
  • Racial Issues
  • Second class citizens
  • Social etiquette
  • 1990s household traditions
  • The birth of the modern industrial age name a few.

-Downton Abbey introduce us to a world that doesn't exist anymore

Obviously we live in a world where we no longer wear dresses and men do not wear hats around the clock but there are things that, in modern society, we have lost and are still important, they make sense and should return to be adapted to today's world.

  1. People in powerful positions were respected (because they were righteous and honorable).
  2. The help/ the servitude are grateful, honest, and faithful they were glad to do their jobs.
  3. Men as Women believed in honor.
  4. Good manners and looking presentable were a form of showing respect to others.
  5. Chastity (the dominion over our sexuality) was not a thing to get rid off but a virtue.
  6. Men were chivalrous and women liked it. In fact, being chivalrous was an important virtue. 
  7. Meal time was an event. (Dinner for example)
+If you would like to learn more about the table etiquette on the show click HERE

-The viewers pay attention to the show for all the right reasons

A show like Downton Abbey doesn't need to show nudity or sex scenes in every episode. The creator, Julian Fellowes and the writers, don’t have the marketing advantage of showing the characters wearing the latest collection of a famous brand, neither can’t they use the latest technology to get people's attention on the show.

The viewers pay attention to Downton Abbey because of the interesting plots developing with the upstairs and with the downstairs characters, it's very important not to miss comments or disapproving looks to understand what's going on with each of them. I believe people are fascinated with the idea that there were people that once lived like that.

The film locations, the sets and the scenery in general are the other 50% of the show that demands the viewers’ attention. How we could not be in awe with the Highclere Castle in the county of Hampshire (the Crawley's property), the dozen of rooms inside of it or with the decoration? There are viewers that only dream about traveling to see those places but thanks to Downton Abbey, they can see a little piece of that world. Props to the Art Direction, Set Decoration, Production Design, Art Department teams.

If that wasn’t enough, the costumes are incredible, especially for the actresses. The men look very good in their costumes but they are not competition for the ladies. (Click HERE to see Downton Abbey's Costumes) Finally, I don't think I have to say that the actors do an excellent job making us believe that the characters we see on television are real.

Finally, here are some recaps of the past seasons of Downton Abbey but I recommend you to see all seasons, you will be hooked like I did!


Anonymous said...

But it should not be taken too seriously, it absolutely lies about relationships between the rich and their servants. Servants were virtually always treated appallingly in those days and it is _exceedingly_ unlikely that they would have been treated as benevolently as portrayed in that show. Most were worked to illness and treated as sub human, almost as slaves, with virtually no time off, little sleep, little food, absolutely no rights, abused, used as scapegoats and under threat of being fired at a whim and left destitute. They were usually considered subhuman scum. The life of a servant in those big houses was generally akin to slavery and yet we persist on portraying it in this unrealistic way and pretending there is no harm in glossing over the truth of it. It is a shameful part of our history that is grossly misrepresented by shows like this and, although I don't dislike the show, I find that aspect very annoying, dishonest and quite wrong.

©[ Pale † Angel ] said...

I know all of that. I'm sure that not all doctors in the world sleep around with nurses or other doctors all the time and that in every hospital is the same situation: But that is what Grey's Anatomy is showing and telling us. The point is looking at the good things you can take out of a TV series,'s TV/Hollywood/ don't take it so seriously. They don't promote the show as "what really happened back then" actually what you say (the ugly part) will not be forgotten- the stories will be heard by more people. Viewers will research and learn things (like I did) on their own...that's another good thing of series like Donwton Abbey. Makes you wonder and look for an answer.

Anonymous said...

I think that all period series are not 100% honest about what most of people did or how they were back then but I believe that families like this one existed back then but they were rare to find, don't you think?


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