Lord Grantham sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative mother, the dowager countess. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwhile, the butler presides over a staff which serves the family, but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants' quarters, intriguing amongst themselves. Written by
Julian Fellowes' inspiration for his original story came from authors such as Edith Wharton ("The Buccaneers") and close friend Henry James's general research of the novel's time period and subject matter. He also sourced the 1989 book "To Marry an English Lord". Elizabeth McGovern's character Cora, was the first one that he developed. See more »
For the most part, none of the aristocratic characters in the series speak with the proper received pronunciation that would be accurate of the aristocracy of the time. See more »
A satisfying social drama presaging the changes upcoming in pre-WWI Britain.
Julian Fellowes' intelligent (and sophisticated) take on pre-World War I society of aristocrats and worker-bees is smart-writing on the changes we will see over the next 25 years, encompassing two major wars and a great depression. The writing and the casting make this many steps above "soap opera" as the themes of social mobility and aristocratic incompetence are sharply etched.
All of it pleased me, from the smallest character to the dozen or so leads, lead off by the always-brilliant Maggie Smith. This is to be enjoyed for both its eye-candy (Downton Abbey) and its themes of rich- and-poor dilemmas. Gorgeously shot with accurate art-direction. Wonderful all the way around.
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