Addicted to Downton

Are you sick of everyone talking about Downton Abbey?

Yeah... me too.

The problem is, I'm an offender.

Hi. I'm Alex and I'm addicted to Downton Abbey.

What was I doing last night, while many of my friends were watching and live-tweeting the Grammy's? Watching the Downton Abbey two-hour episode. (Next week is the Season 2 finale!)  I missed out on the Nicki Minaj debacle. I missed the outrage when domestic-abuse offender Chris Brown won a Grammy (well, actually, I didn't because EVERYONE was talking about it online.) I missed Katy Perry's dress and Jennifer Hudson's tribute to Whitney Houston. But instead...

Instead I got to watch seasons-long story lines get resolved and whole new story lines open up. There were complete shockers that left me with my jaw on the ground and resolutions that left me completely satisfied. There were twists and turns and at least one death (of a main character, no less!) that were all game changers for the residents of the grand house.

The Downton Abbey phenomenon is completely remarkable. The fact that there are nearly as many men as women that are addicted to this BBC program is unheard of since PBS and the costume drama has long been the domain of we women. I honestly believe that it's a testament to the excellent story-telling and compelling characters.

And speaking of compelling characters, Maggie Smith is having a BALL playing the sharp-tongued dowager countess. We all wait with bated breath to see what barb she's going to shoot at what target each week. I hope she doesn't become a caricature - but at this point, I don't really see that happening. The writers are too sharp to let that happen (I hope.)

Earlier today, I was talking with someone about the recent spate of exceptional programming coming from the BBC. Certainly, they can, and do, produce a lot of dreck - just like we do - but there have been some real winners lately. Beyond DA, everyone must watch the new Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and Watson respectively. I didn't believe anyone could successfully pull the Sherlock Holmes stories into modern day but they've done it and it works. The stories feel fresh and exhilarating and Cumberbatch's Sherlock is more than a little nuts - just as he should be. And then there's the dark crime series, Luther, with the the amazing Idris Elba in the lead. I don't recommend watching this just before bed as it might give you bad dreams.

An exceptional show with an exceptionally fine leading man
Amazingly well-written & well-acted update of a classic

Honestly, I could go on for a while. There are a couple of sci-fi/fantasy shows that are top-notch and a number of "mini-series" (that's a US term but fits the "5 episodes and done" style of many British shows) that shouldn't be missed. And I'm just talking about current programming. Go back a while and there are loads of really great shows that can be streamed from Netflix or Amazon that would be well worth your time.

The moral of the story?? There's no excuse for watching crap television anymore - especially if you enjoy a lovely British accent with your shows.

Coming up on Season 3 of Downton Abbey, Shirley McClain joins the cast as Lady Grantham's mother! She should be a perfect foil for the dowager countess. Watch out Maggie Smith!!

- Alex


  1. YES!

    As you know, Alex, we just plowed through Season 1 two weeks ago. Then some lovely twitter friend gave me the heads up that Season 2 is on YAY! So we plowed though Season 2 last week, and I swear it's the only thing that Stephen and I talk about lately. We've had to wait 3 WHOLE DAYS for Sunday's new episode, and boy was it hard! I cannot wait to watch the new one tonight online (we don't get PBS for some reason). I've already had dreams about Matthew (he saved my life, so now I have a crush on him) and Laura Linney. I may need therapy.

    It's definitely my new addiction! And thanks for the tips regarding the other quality programming. We're always looking for some good TV to watch.

  2. @emily - I love, love, love Laura Linney's opening to Masterpiece. I know a lot of people who, like you, (Cassandra, for instance) who started late and are doing marathon viewings. It's hard to have to wait once you're used to getting your fix right away! I can't imagine having to wait for Season 3 to start. Yikes!!

  3. This is the only show I watch WITHOUT knitting. And with my glasses on and shushing everyone in the room. Check out the SNL spoof if you haven't already…what a hoot.

  4. @stitchlilly - Holy cow! If you're putting your knitting aside to watch a show, you are serious! ;) I've seen the SNL spoof - it's hilarious!

  5. Love this post! I agree, this show has made me realize that there is no excuse for watching crap television anymore. And you know what, I don't think I'll be ever sick of Downton Abbey talk. I love it.

  6. I haven't seen Downton yet, but my husband got me into Sherlock, and I love it. Plus, I get the giggles about how the lead actor's name is sooooo quintessentially British. :)

  7. @Sonja - :)

    @kat - You must, must, must watch Downton. Yeah... Benedict Cumberbatch totally makes me laugh - the name, not the actor. LOL