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 Downton Abbey: Why are we so delighted by it?
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eldergirl
Permanent Resident

USA
1809 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2012 :  8:22:14 PM  Show Profile Send eldergirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have heard that the BBC is amazed at how well the show has been received by US viewers.

Any ideas why?

Someone said to me, "It's just a glorified soap opera!"

Got some collective wisdom here?

Let us know!

Anna

Life is beautiful.

busygirl
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
1673 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2012 :  10:06:05 PM  Show Profile Send busygirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I am in Australia,so cannot comment on why Downton Abbey is so popular in the US,but having watched all the episodes in Season 1,I think that viewers are probably fascinated by the way in which members of the British aristocracy ( and their servants)lived in the early 20th century - a far cry from the fast paced world in which we now live.

Leslie

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kbshee
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USA
4166 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2012 :  10:08:09 PM  Show Profile Send kbshee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We wish we had royalty and aristocracy?

kim in oregon
http://kbshee.blogspot.com
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lella
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9714 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2012 :  12:32:53 AM  Show Profile Send lella a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My sister and I love a great period piece with the full layout, Big house, plenty of noble characters, poor but honest servants, politics, wicked, evil nasties, etc. Downton Abbey has it all. Costume dramas are always popular in the states. "Gone With the Wind" comes to mind.

Lella

Zippiknits

"Life is good if you don't weaken." Calvin Coolidge
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Panhandle Jane
Seriously Hooked

USA
607 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2012 :  07:30:11 AM  Show Profile Send Panhandle Jane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the particular era, which was overshadowed for Americans by WWII, is also one that we know little about. My grandmothers would have been about the same age as Lady Mary. Of course, they were far from aristocracy, but I have a few pictures of them in the same kind of dresses--not the evening wear, but the suits and hats. I also have pictures of my grandmother's brothers in their WWI uniforms. I'm not even sure if they made it to France or if they were stopped by the flu before they got there. My grandmother used to tell me stories about her childhood, but this particular time, her young married days, was tough for her because she lost a child and because she did not want to talk about the boys going off to war. I wish I could ask her questions now.

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eldergirl
Permanent Resident

USA
1809 Posts

Posted - 02/03/2012 :  9:55:03 PM  Show Profile Send eldergirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you to Leslie, Kim, Lella, and Jane! Good stuff!

Do you think the BBC has made some decisions to attract US viewers? I hear Shirley MacLaine (sp?) will be coming on in series #3. She will give Lady Violet a hard time, I think!

Anyway, thanks for your replies!

Anna

Life is beautiful.
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slaggyc
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USA
1216 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2012 :  02:22:34 AM  Show Profile Send slaggyc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I actually hadn't even heard of it, but now I REALLY want to watch it! Just added it to my queue in hulu!

Slaggyc
http://wheresmyverve.blogspot.com/
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marjotse
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Sweden
1018 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2012 :  07:36:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit marjotse's Homepage Send marjotse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm not from the US but have been watching it as well. I do fully recognise that "It's just a glorified soap opera!, but that doesn't mean you can not get pleasure from it. Some of the stories are just clunky and the dialogue can be so too, but I do have a good time watching it nevertheless... Escapism in its best form, I guess....


Marjolein

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anderknit
Permanent Resident

USA
2604 Posts

Posted - 02/05/2012 :  1:02:22 PM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it's a combination of a lot of things, ranging from the superficial to the "deep". (1) I don't know much about that time period, and I think the series is a fascinating window into the culture and politics of the time. (2) the themes of family, love, power, and class are universal. A good person in any time period has (the same) certain qualities (empathy, grace, for example), and an evil or miserable person also has timeless qualities. (3) the CLOTHES, the JEWELRY, the MANNERS.

Besides, it's wonderful knitting time when you have it on TIVO and can go back to something you might have missed.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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Milinda
Permanent Resident

USA
3817 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2012 :  2:57:32 PM  Show Profile Send Milinda a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am a recent addict to this series. I loved the original Upstaris,Downstairs so am always one to enjoy those "glorified soap operas" that PBS gives us.

One thing I have noticed which may have contributed to this series' success is not only the great acting, beautiful sets and compelling historical drama but the decision to go with a fast-paced editing of the sequences. I don't think American audiences in general are fond of watching plays, if you will, so cutting from one intense scene to another suits the audiences need for "action." It certainly works and I predict this addition of Shirley in the picture will make sparks fly. I love it!

M L
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slaggyc
Permanent Resident

USA
1216 Posts

Posted - 02/06/2012 :  3:51:21 PM  Show Profile Send slaggyc a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok. I am now hooked. Even if it is basically a soap, I love it being set in the time period it is. I'm also intrigued with the characters and story line so far. It's a nice change from what's on now- mostly reality shows! (Although I do still watch a few of those too.) :)

Slaggyc
http://wheresmyverve.blogspot.com/
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Irish Red
Warming Up

USA
59 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2012 :  11:25:54 AM  Show Profile Send Irish Red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A glorified soap opera is ok with me. I love the setting, the costumes (especially the fabulous hats!!), the entire cast. It's such fun to have good and bad guys wthout the CSI components of blood and guts. The good aren't completely good, nor the bad completely evil. I was an affecianado of crime shows, but Ive grown tired of them. Downton Abbey and shows similar are very nice and civil to knit along with.

The Industrious Bee
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