Finally, it’s zero hour in the US. Downton Abbey premieres tonight as part of the new season of Masterpiece on PBS. Both critically acclaimed and a huge audience hit when broadcast this past Fall on ITV, this is definitely television worth watching. According to Simon Heffer of the Telegraph, the authenticity and visual detail makes Downton Abbey what television should be. I would contend (or add) that it also shows what television can be.
Created and written by Julian Fellowes, Oscar-winning writer of Gosford Park, and starring Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern, Downton Abbey will, unfortunately, be forever compared to the BBC juggernaut, Upstairs Downstairs, mainly because it’s a tale of an aristocratic family and the bevy of servants ‘below the stairs’. Set in 1912, the series, like its’ predecessor, mirrors the events of the time beginning with the sinking of the Titanic. This is where the comparison ends. This is good television, plain and simple, by combining top notch acting and stellar writing. Judge for yourself….
Behind the scenes at ‘the Abbey’