Why you Simply Must be Watching PBS' "Downton Abbey"

Watch it all. It is only just over a minute; you can find a way to watch last season if you missed it and thereby catch up–KSH.


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27 comments on “Why you Simply Must be Watching PBS' "Downton Abbey"

  1. Bookworm(God keep Snarkster) says:

    Season I is out on DVD. I think I got it at Sam’s Club for $15.00. Worth every penny!! 🙂

  2. wvparson says:

    Except that oddly for the period there’s no vicar and only a fleeting glimpse of the parish church. In those days the gentry would have attended on Sundays and bestowed largess on parishioners. No doubt ancestors would be buried in the family tomb.

    But yes, I am enjoying it greatly.

  3. Charles52 says:

    Season one is also on Netflix. It just a soap opera but lots of fun.
    I agree that the missing piece its the vicar and the parish church. Aristocrats might not be believers but would have kept up appearances.

  4. Teatime2 says:

    It’s on Netflix streaming, as well. I have it saved in my queue but haven’t started watching it yet. I like to commit to one series at a time and just finished watching “Bramwell.”

  5. David Hein says:

    No. 2: In brief, I find that these shows are always past (1917 or whenever) told thru present (2012). So, if religion isn’t important to today’s writers and producers, it doesn’t end up in their version of then. More surprisingly, the same thing happens with histories of the 20th c. Recent histories of England have been faulted, in fact, for skimping on the religious history of the time–for which, for my money, the best book is Adrian Hastings’s history of English Xnty, 1920-2000. It was pub’d by SCM Pr; I don’t know if it’s still in print. Anyway, yes, I really like Downton Abbey; great stories and acting (e.g., Maggie Smith), and it’s got a great blending of history and fiction.

  6. Dan Crawford says:

    I’ve loved Downton Abbey since episode 1 because unlike other series, Downton has characters, even irritating ones, about whom I care deeply. I pray that Mr. Bates and Anna find love, peace, and joy with one another, and that he is restored to his Lordship as personal valet.

  7. David Keller says:

    It is good, but it it really just a soap opera. Brideshead Revisited was so good, I was hoping for that level of quality, which this is definitely not.

  8. David Hein says:

    No. 6: I hope that Mr Bates returns and gets to lord it over Thomas! And yes hooks up with Anna for good and real…

  9. Terry Tee says:

    Well religion does appear in Part 2 (this is not a plot spoiler, BTW). Lord Grantham leads rather perfunctory prayers of thanksgiving in the hall when armistice is declared in 1918; two lead characters (I cannot say more) say a prayer as they inter ashes in the churchyard, an act which caused a flurry of correspondence in the papers here in the UK; another, different two lead characters say the Lord’s Prayer together in the parish church; and yes, the vicar does make an appearance, and the dowager Countess/Marchioness of Grantham leaves him in no doubt who wields the financial big stick when he seems reluctant to do what they ask … I could say more, and apologise if these details are vague, but I do not want to spoil the plot …

  10. David Hein says:

    Tells us just enough; interesting–and thanks!

  11. Jim the Puritan says:

    Turned it off after the second episode last season. To put it bluntly, I was turned off by the fornication and gay sex themes. Don’t know whether that has changed, but it ruined the whole thing, in my opinion. I am always disappointed, when TV programs feel that’s what they have to do to get watchers. I thought it was awful.

  12. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    No. 4, Bramweil is terrific. I have been watching that one of late too.

  13. ls from oz says:

    Hi Jim #11
    The “gay sex” theme was just in the one episode, and as both characters involved were portrayed as truly unpleasant I don’t have a worry with it. In fact as I recall there was no actual sex.
    Don’t let it dissuade you from watching the rest of the series.

  14. Terry Tee says:

    Jim, I cannot remember anything indecent. For me the acid test is always: could you watch it with your Mom? The answer is yes.

  15. Charles52 says:

    Brideshead Revisited really is a more substantial story, although it has its soapy elements. The themes are larger and more important. Downton Abbey is just fun, and remarkably well-written and acted. Of course, Maggie Smith makes anything better (including the last Harry Potter movie, thank you).

  16. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    It is awful! Wife loves it mind…

    Honestly though it is Eastenders in posh clothes! And if someone doesnt punch that drippy lame Bates then I will!

    But I bet it will be HUGE in America (because you all think we are like that in real life lol)

  17. Jim the Puritan says:

    #14–This is where I turned it off:


    Went on the Do Not Watch List at that point and I turned it off.

    This was after the Turk-died-in-the-bed-while-having-sex-with-the-daughter scene.

  18. David Hein says:

    No. 17: Might you not be missing an important point? This event was an integral part of the plot. And the plot aimed at showing how times are changing. So the entailment is not automatic (eventual) death as in a Victorian novel but … who knows what? Undoubtedly young women had premarital sex in this period; this series shows why this was both shocking, with repercussions, and maybe not completely undermining of prospects, as it would have been previously. That’s the most fascinating thing about this series–its period between the times. I definitely wouldn’t wanted the script writers to have sanitized their product so as not to offend viewers’ sensibilities. I can handle something above a G rating without being (more) corrupted.

  19. David Hein says:

    “And if someone doesnt punch that drippy lame Bates then I will!”

    What do you have against Bates? His old-fashioned sense of honor, duty, and loyalty? Of course we want him to move on, but I also want to consider the moral problems he’s having to handle.

  20. Sarah says:

    Is from Oz . . . you noticed that too? I thought the true loathsomeness of the two gay characters to be . . . odd . . . and interesting.

  21. Teatime2 says:

    #12 Archer,
    “Bramwell” takes some odd turns in the last few episodes. It seems like they got a new writer or producer or something. 🙁 The later episodes are still worth watching but I prefer the Eleanor of the first two seasons. Great series, overall. Why doesn’t American TV ever have much of substance?

    I’m waiting anxiously for the latest MI-5/Spooks episodes on Netflix!

  22. Charles52 says:

    Now that you mention it, Downton Abbey is shockingly heteronormative. Amazing that British TV allows it. 😉

    And in all seriousness, if there is an overarching theme, it seems to be that behaviors and choices have real consequences, for good or ill. In that respect, it is a profoundly moral story.

  23. David Hein says:

    Yes, it really has to do with a theme that should be of interest to Anglican/Episcopal viewers: In moving into the future, what traditions and principles and loyalties are important to hold onto, and which are outdated and worthy of discarding for the sake of “progress”? That’s a big theme of the show; and, as we know, 1918 was the great watershed year, as was 1945, for that matter.

  24. Jim the Puritan says:

    I just am so tired of TV shows pushing homosexuality, and it’s pretty much everywhere–almost obligatory. If a program has gay scenes it goes on the DNW list for me. I have better things to do with my time. This one did it right off the bat.

    I do agree with George Orwell that the Great War was the end of Western civilization. Or to be more precise, civilized Western civilization.

  25. Terry Tee says:

    David Hein, you are a born teacher. I can see a new college course: Ethical Questions, Religious Faith and Contemporary Television Drama (Religion 303).

  26. Charles52 says:

    Why doesn’t American TV ever have much of substance?

    Band of Brothers.

  27. David Hein says:

    “David Hein, you are a born teacher.”

    Thanks, but MADE, not born, I assure you, and after much trial and error–and continuing trial and error!