For me at least Downton Abbey was elegant, controlled and subtly witty. The scenery, of course, is very good. (anyone interested can find short interviews with actor Hugh Bonneville and writer Julian Fellowes via youtube and be infected with their enthusiasm as well as getting an explanation, if you need one, of the setting) The house is suitably dramatic and the fabrics, the costumes, the camera shots of ringing bells and curious meal courses in the form of fences of asparagus, the morning light, or lit windows across the lawn, and the smooth work of all the actors make it something to watch and be both interested and relaxed. There is just enough drama and just enough calm, nothing seems overdone, and (after two episodes) the characters, as it switches between moments of their various days, are none of them an unwelcome change from the view of the last. It is a costume drama but 1912 after all was just as real as 2010 and it is, quite separate from costumes, about people, several different people, house workers and owners, their motives, their histories, pain, relationships, scheming allegiances, awkwardness or ease, old ways and the coming of those things we now call modern
electric lights, the middle class
Enjoyable so far. However, if you find these things dull, if you need constant shocks, use the word inoffensive as an insult or dislike all period dramas, scenery or rich people
stay away. It's not hard to do.