Downton Abbey is a show about not much. It is a window into the lives of the British Aristocracy and the people who served them in the fading light of what we crass Americans would call "The Gilded Age". A time where the ultra wealthy lived in mansions of enormous size, never worked a day in their lives, and who concerned themselves with such things as being properly dressed for dinner and going to London for "the season". On the flip side we see the maids, and footmen, and valets who wait upon them hand and foot all the while being very certain never to speak out of turn or to draw attention to themselves. Sounds dull as dish water and if that was all the show was it would be horrible but it is much much more. It is a testament to the writing and the character development that despite the seemingly dry as dust premise the show is engrossing and entertaining. We come to care for these people both the high and the low. The costumes and sets are superb. The first season is wonderful. By the end of the second they start to bring in some soap opera like story lines and by the third you can feel it stretching thin as the authors strive to find new and innovative plot lines. Still, it is well worth your time if only to see what it was like when form reigned supreme over function and style was everything.
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