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Yes to Downton Abbey
National Review ^ | January 17, 2012 | Mona Charen

Posted on 01/17/2012 7:37:19 PM PST by Steelfish

JANUARY 17, 2012 1 Yes to Downton Abbey Americans don’t secretly long for aristocracy; they appreciate a good story. By Mona Charen

Simon Schama holds a place of honor in our home. Preparing for a trip to London in 2005, we watched his video series “A History of Britain,” over the course of several weeks. Our boys loved it so much that they would chant “Britain! Britain!” after dinner. His history of the French Revolution, Citizens, was masterful.

So it’s with the greatest respect that I disagree with him about Downton Abbey, the first television series to keep my interest since, well, The Sopranos.

Schama thinks he detects the “clammy delirium” of nostalgia in the Tea Party’s “ache for a tricorny country,” “radio ranters” selling Americans on a false paradise of pre–Social Security and Medicare America, and now viewers racing to their TV sets on Sunday nights to catch Downton Abbey, — a “steaming, silvered tureen of snobbery.”

Americans, Schama scolds, “desperate for something, anything, to take [their] mind off the perplexities of the present” are gobbling up this newest Edwardian-era story because of our secret longing to be members of a defunct aristocracy.

Who is being the snob here? Schama, an Englishman, proposes to elevate our taste. The series irritates him because he still recalls the sting of being “put in his place” by the “toffs” in the 1950s and 1960s. We credulous Americans are too easily swept off our feet, he protests, by these country-house tales.

(Excerpt) Read more at nationalreview.com ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Chit/Chat; Society
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 01/17/2012 7:37:19 PM PST by Steelfish
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To: Steelfish

It’s a story. I love a story told well, with wonderful characters and a plot I can follow. Plus, I love Highclere and really enjoy looking at the castle.


2 posted on 01/17/2012 7:42:32 PM PST by Jemian
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To: Jemian

It’s a high point of our week around here. Sunday night on PBS Masterpiece, Downton Abbey is a wonderfully made series with superb character development and a riveting story line.

Well worth watching!


3 posted on 01/17/2012 7:48:14 PM PST by TheCornerOffice
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To: TheCornerOffice

I forgot to add: and excellent actors. Maggie Smith as the snobby dowager is wonderful!


4 posted on 01/17/2012 7:49:40 PM PST by TheCornerOffice
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To: Steelfish

Count the days til Sunday night to watch this wonderful series fireside with a good dinner and my dog by my side! Heaven!


5 posted on 01/17/2012 8:01:41 PM PST by Mountain Mary (Awaken Oh America...)
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To: TheCornerOffice

Don’t forget Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones MP-Flydale North and later Prime Minister) in the re-vamped Doctor Who.

“Yes, we know who you are....”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTZjXSPChg0&feature=related


6 posted on 01/17/2012 8:02:46 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: TheCornerOffice

Don’t forget Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones MP-Flydale North and later Prime Minister) in the re-vamped Doctor Who.

“Yes, we know who you are....”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTZjXSPChg0&feature=related


7 posted on 01/17/2012 8:03:12 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: TheCornerOffice

Don’t forget Penelope Wilton (Harriet Jones MP-Flydale North and later Prime Minister) in the re-vamped Doctor Who.

“Yes, we know who you are....”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTZjXSPChg0&feature=related


8 posted on 01/17/2012 8:03:27 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: Steelfish

Downton Abbey was just recently added to Netflix streaming.

http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Masterpiece_Classic_Downton_Abbey/70213223?trkid=2361637


9 posted on 01/17/2012 8:03:38 PM PST by TomGuy
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To: Steelfish

Sorry for the triple post.


10 posted on 01/17/2012 8:04:20 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: stylecouncilor; MinuteGal; flaglady47; mickie; TexasNative2000

I like Mona Charen and I like that she likes DA.


11 posted on 01/17/2012 8:07:41 PM PST by randita
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To: Steelfish

Found this on Netflix streaming last Spring. Became hopelessly addicted after the first 5 minutes. I was sorry when the last episode ended.

Got Season 1 DVD set for Christmas and am watching one episode a night. Will watch the final episode of Season 1 tomorrow night.

Season 2 is going to the DVR and I’ll pick that up when I finish the DVDs.

I’m not the type to care for TV series, but I love this program. I hope it goes to season 3, then 4, then 5, etc.


12 posted on 01/17/2012 8:10:24 PM PST by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: Skooz

Season 3 is already in the works. I read one review that says Season 2 gets really boring about the 6th episode and the writer said that you want to scream at the TV over the plot and stupidity of the characters. I hope not...LOVE this series!


13 posted on 01/17/2012 8:24:33 PM PST by Miss Didi ("After all...tomorrow is another day." Scarlett O'Hara, Gone with the Wind)
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To: Skooz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5dMlXentLw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3YYo_5rxFE&feature=relmfu


14 posted on 01/17/2012 8:25:33 PM PST by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: Steelfish

Lady Violet: Oh, my dears. Is it really true? I can’t believe it. Last night, he looked so well. ‘Course, it would happen to a foreigner. It’s typical.
Lady Mary: Don’t be ridiculous!
Lady Violet: I’m not being ridiculous. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house. Especially someone they didn’t even know.


15 posted on 01/17/2012 8:25:53 PM PST by arbee4bush (My Dad, My Hero. Love You Dad!!)
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To: arbee4bush

Pure gem!


16 posted on 01/17/2012 8:30:58 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: TomGuy

Oh, good, I’ll be able to watch it now!


17 posted on 01/17/2012 8:31:48 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: arbee4bush
Lady Violet (rocking violently in a chair): Oh dear! Is this chair broken?
Cousin Matthew: No, Cousin Violet, it is a swivel chair - an invention of Thomas Jefferson.
Lady Violet: I long for just one day that didn't involve an argument with an American!
18 posted on 01/17/2012 8:57:41 PM PST by TexasNative2000 (Jimmy Carter's incompetence + Richard Nixon's paranoia = Barack Obama)
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To: Steelfish
Schama thinks he detects the “clammy delirium” of nostalgia in the Tea Party’s “ache for a tricorny country,”...but by Jove, I bet he went bonkers watching that saga of the Kennedys on US TV early last year......
19 posted on 01/17/2012 8:58:26 PM PST by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Intolerant in NJ

Schama can’t seem to distinguish the unclassy versus the classy


20 posted on 01/17/2012 9:04:20 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: TexasNative2000

Looks like you have the book as well.


21 posted on 01/17/2012 9:06:03 PM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: TexasNative2000

Lady Violet (Maggie Smith) commenting on Mary’s diminished prospects for marriage after stories circulate about Mary and the Turkish guy...

(not verbatim, going from memory here)...

“At times like this, one can usually find an Italian. They’re not too picky.”

Lady Violet, regarding whether Mary should keep the rendezvous secret from a potential husband (again, not verbatim)...

“Well, everyone goes down the aisle with part of the story hidden.”

Love it, and love the multiple layers of stories going on among the servants, the upper crust, and in the interactions between those levels. Superb!


22 posted on 01/17/2012 9:08:37 PM PST by TheCornerOffice
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To: SuziQ

You can watch all the released episodes Seasons 1 & 2 on the PBS site, and it also has shots and previews:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/watch/index.html


23 posted on 01/17/2012 11:16:29 PM PST by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi)
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To: Steelfish

Lady Violet to Mary-”Don’t show lack of self confindence, it’s so middle class”


24 posted on 01/18/2012 3:04:09 AM PST by bjorn14 (Woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Isaiah 5:20)
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To: Steelfish

I come from Lincolnshire Quakers. I love this story, even if my family was probably cleaning the chamber pots of the servants!


25 posted on 01/18/2012 6:02:30 AM PST by PROTESTBYPROXY (The Silent Majority is roaring!!)
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To: TexasNative2000
LOL!

Another good one:

Lady Violet: You are quite wonderful, the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.
Cousin Isobel: I take that as a compliment.
Lady Violet: I must have said it wrong.

26 posted on 01/18/2012 6:06:08 AM PST by arbee4bush (My Dad, My Hero. Love You Dad!!)
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To: Miss Didi
Is anyone else, though, annoyed at what the Brits call a series? To my mind, a few episodes a year constitutes a mini-series, not episodic television. I caught the new Sherlock after the last Downton Abbey, really enjoyed it and looked forward to the "season" only to discover it was 3 episodes long. What the heck is it with the Brits? Are they just parsimonious, or what?!
27 posted on 01/18/2012 6:12:34 AM PST by mewzilla (I'll vote for the first guy who promises to mail in his SOTU addresses.)
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To: mewzilla

The second season of “Sherlock” is done. Now we just have to wait to take our turn watching it.
You might like “Doc Martin.” The first few seasons are on Hulu, and the last on YouTube. “Wisdom” is also good, staring Steven Fry.


28 posted on 01/18/2012 7:14:03 AM PST by Excellence (9/11 was an act of faith.)
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To: Excellence

Thx! Wasn’t familiar with either. Just checked ITV’s website for the Doc Martin series. Back after a 2 year hiatus?! Jeez louise, just what I was talking about. Leave me hanging that long, and I’ll find something else to occupy my time. Heaven forbid that these entertainment types actually get a good product out to their customers in a timely fashion. Feh.


29 posted on 01/18/2012 7:20:08 AM PST by mewzilla (I'll vote for the first guy who promises to mail in his SOTU addresses.)
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To: bjorn14

From The Guardian (UK) 01/18/2012

Coming soon? Downton Abbey – the movieShow’s creator Julian Fellowes said to have been bombarded with requests for film rights following Golden Globes success

Downton Abbey is tipped for the big screen. You’ve watched two series and a Christmas special. Now, is there going to be Downton Abbey – the movie? Perhaps. The Sun tells how creator Julian Fellowes was mobbed at the aftershow parties following the ITV1 show’s Golden Globe win. “Lots of people have already asked him about film rights,” an insider tells the paper. Fellowes is no stranger to big screen success, having won an Oscar for his script for Gosford Park. Even better, the big screen version would have none of those annoying ad breaks. Just a great big one before it starts.


30 posted on 01/18/2012 10:30:13 AM PST by Steelfish (ui)
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To: DGHoodini

Thanks!


31 posted on 01/18/2012 5:38:54 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: mewzilla

They weren’t sure there was even going to be a second season until they saw how well the first season was reciebed. The second season has many more eposobes to go. the dirst episode was 2 hrs long, the 2nd episode as well as the 3rd 4th and 5thb episoes are an hout long, and then, the fibal two episodes are each 2 hrs long. So you see, there are 7 episodes to the second season, 3 of which are 2 hrs long.


32 posted on 01/19/2012 8:08:14 AM PST by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi)
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To: SuziQ

You’re welcome!

FYI: a little heads up...coming in spring, there is going to be a new series premiering: a series based around a young Inspector Morse, when he was an up and coming constable!

Looking forward to it, myself.


33 posted on 01/19/2012 8:14:33 AM PST by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi)
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To: DGHoodini

CORRECTION: the Inspector Morse Prequel, is not svheduled to debut until this summer, not in the spring. :o\


34 posted on 01/19/2012 8:21:03 AM PST by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi)
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To: DGHoodini
I'm really not trying to be a pain in the tuchus, but I still say it's a mini-series :-)

Don't get me wrong; I think it's great quality TV. But long gaps between short “seasons”, not to mention a lack of commitment to further shows, exponentially increase the likelihood I'll blow it off next time around. I've gotten sucked in and then burned too often by network programmers.

35 posted on 01/19/2012 8:26:36 AM PST by mewzilla (I'll vote for the first guy who promises to mail in his SOTU addresses.)
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To: mewzilla

I get what you are daying, but it has been my impression, that Brit-TV shows, usually start their first seasons with a short trial season of about 6 episodes, If they don’t grab ratings enough, in those few shows, it gets cancelled.

rach of the first season shows of SA were 1 1/3 hrs liong,...so they totaled 6 hrs...


36 posted on 01/19/2012 9:24:55 AM PST by DGHoodini (Iran Azadi)
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To: DGHoodini

I will not give the plot away, but if you were a fan of John Thaw’s Morse, you will like Endeavour.

I am a big fan of Lewis as well and look forward to the next series.


37 posted on 01/19/2012 9:45:36 AM PST by Protect the Bill of Rights
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