Time for everyone’s daily dose of Downton
Another day, another Downton Abbey 3 trailer. There can never be too many trailers as far as I’m concerned, especially when we still have four months from yesterday to wait until the premiere in the States. What has been interesting this week is to look at the trailer released earlier this week for the January 2013 broadcast on PBS and the just-released trailer for the 16 September premiere on ITV1 in the UK and compare how the series is being presented in each country.
First up, the just released trailer from ITV1. As you will see from the UK perspective, where they appreciate and value series such as Downton Abbey for the serious drama it brings to the table, there’s a lot of crying, lots of Crawley family angst over impending financial ruin, both forbidden and welcome relationships, the uncertainty that surrounds Bates in prison. followed by more crying and very little interaction between the Dowager Countess and Martha Levinson.
Next, the earlier this week released PBS trailer does have a bit of Bates in prison with a hint of Crawley family doom but, as with earlier stills and clips, focuses more attention on the eagerly awaited Downton arrival of Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) and the ensuing brilliant exchange of witty banter with the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Reminds me a bit of those classic 80’s encounters on Dallas and Dynasty years ago which were, obviously, more soap opera driven than drama where you couldn’t wait to see Krystle and Alexis go at it or Pamela and Sue Ellen wrestling for control of Southfork.
In full defense of the PBS trailer, the producers know that PBS audiences appreciate great drama and that they also know PBS is the home of quality drama on television. That said, they also know the way to further maximize the audience for a series the magnitude of Downton Abbey is to inject a bit of Dallas and Dynasty into the mix. Before anyone fires off a comment or two that aren’t fit to print, this is not to say, in anyway that I’m comparing Downton Abbey with Dallas or Dynasty. Just to be clear, one is a brilliant drama and the other two were brilliant night-time soap operas. It’s just interesting to see how differently things are promoted in different countries in order to maximize the audience potential.