I just dragged myself off my trainer after an unenthusiastic session where I was literally counting down the minutes and had to force myself to complete 35 minutes of spinning. It rained today, I feel like I haven’t seen the sun for weeks. OK enough depressing stuff, lets be moving on to something positive.
I’ve been watching Downton Abbey for a few months now when my wife badgered me into watching it. She was really surprised that I took an interest in a British early 20th century period drama, and I am too. Why do I like this show? I’ve been trying to answer that very question myself and often find myself pondering it on my morning runs.
First off the scenery is beautiful, the HD images of HighClere Castle are breathtaking. The interior scenes are amazing in their detail and the lushness of the furnishings. The polished brass of the cars, the idylic village, the uniforms, the costumes, all the little details make this show a pleasure of the eyes.
Secondly we have plot, the show juxtaposes the lives of the aristocrats and their servants, but I find myself equally fascinated with both the grand family and the people who take care of them. The heart of Downton Abbey is a typical romance where the two people, actually two sets of people, who are destined to be together just can’t seem to.. get together. But there is so much else going on, social change on an unprecidented level, the tragedy of war, the Irish Socialist chauffeur, the scheming Thomas and Mrs. Obrian, who are plainly the series’ villains, yet each have real motivations for their underhanded actions.
Thirdly is the characters, Downton Abbey has a huge cast between upstairs and downstairs, but it only took me a few episodes to have favorite characters and those I hate. I detested Granny, or Violet the Countess, but as any good character I discovered she has many sides and provides a bulk of the shows lighter moments, like when she is truly puzzled by the term, weekend.
Finally one last reason that I like Downton Abbey, perhaps the biggest reason, is the sense of dignity in the show. I was taken aback by the strange and extravagant lifestyle of the Earl of Grantham and his family, the countless servants and the nightly formal suppers, but the excessive lifestyle of the aristocrats isn’t the key to their dignity. Dignity means, the state of being worthy of honor and respect, something I believe is sorely missing in the world today from the top down. Downton Abbey is just TV fantasy but its nice to visit a world where honor and dignity are meaningful things.