A couple weeks ago my sister-in-law was raving about this new PBS series she had discovered called Downton Abbey. At first, it sounded like a BBC sitcom chronicling the humorous antics of some British clergymen. I was thinking something along the lines of Fawlty Towers meets the Vicar of Dibley. However, despite my initial hesitation, I decided to consult the oracle of film (a.k.a Netflix) for more information.
I was excited to learn that Downton Abbey was not a slapstick comedy, but rather a complex story of class, romance, and intrigue played out among a wealthy British family and their servants. I was so hooked by the first episode that I had to watch the entire first season. All seven hours. In one day.
What is Mary, the eldest daughter, doing flirting with the hottie Turkish diplomat? Will Edith, the neglected middle child, ever gain recognition in the shadow of her older sister? Is Thomas, the backstabbing footman, ever going to get his comeuppance? What secret is preventing Mr. Bates, the lord’s valet, from hooking up with his lady love, the maid Anna?
This series has numerous intersecting story lines that are expertly woven together into a suspenseful and emotional drama. I laughed out loud after noticing Netflix described the film in two words: “cerebral” and “understated.” While you are waiting for the newest episode of the second season, stop by the library to peruse our collection for these and other British dramas: