Sunday, January 22, 2012

Downton Abbey

The Crawley Girls
 Many Americans, myself included, are enjoying Downton Abbey on PBS. Professor Simon Schama recently criticized the popular British miniseries in no uncertain terms. At least Schama admits in the article that he is a Jacobin and that one if the reasons he dislikes the show is that in the past the "toffs" have damaged his self-esteem. Jan Moir of the Mail Online responds to his criticism. To quote:
Yes, Schama has taken to the pages of Newsweek magazine to disparage the award-winning television series, now being shown in America. He says Downton is guilty of ‘cultural necrophilia’ and is littered with inaccuracies and clichéd storylines. Tell us something we don’t know, big guy. That is exactly why we all love it so much, you silly teacake. 

Really. I am half-minded to fetch a pennyworth o’ borax and get Mrs Patmore to wash his naughty mouth out. Schama, who currently lectures  — it’s his hobby as well as his calling — at Columbia University in New York goes on to express his dismay at the series which he believes is ‘overacted and hyper-overacted’. 

The very nerve of the fellow. (Read entire article.)
Share

12 comments:

julygirl said...

I am enjoying the PBS series "Downton Abby", but it does not hold a candle to the far superior "Upstairs/Downstairs" in the way of, character development, dialogue, acting ability, sympathic characters, drawing the viewer into the lives of the characters. While watching Downton Abby I find myself thinking....I really don't care what happens to that particular character. Of course, the great Maggie Smith is the best part, but sadly her appearances are limited.

papabear said...

As my second sister said, "It' not Austen." heh

elena maria vidal said...

No, it's a hundred years later! ;-) I just love it!

Diamantina da Brescia said...

I am also enjoying "Downton Abbey", and I do care whether Matthew and Lady Mary, Branson and Lady Sybil, and Bates and Anna end up happily married. (And what about Ethel? Is that major going to do the honorable thing and marry her? Unfortunately, I doubt it.)

I wonder whether the series will end (in the 6th, 10th or 15th season?) with a new generation of Crawleys selling Downton Abbey to the National Trust, while descendants of their servants are watching "Upstairs Downstairs" on their TVs. We shall see... :-)

elena maria vidal said...

I cried when Matthew walked in while Mary was singing! I think Ethel is done for, poor silly girl. I don't trust Mrs. Bates; I think she is going to do something awful to Bates and Anna. I don't know what to think about Branson and Sybil. Can't wait until next week!!!

Seamus said...

And here I thought Schama would have disliked the show because it never pointing out that the eponymous Abbey must be property that was stolen from the Church at the time of the Reformation and that by rights ought to be given back.

elena maria vidal said...

Really. One would think.

elizabethcarden said...

Wonderful post, Elena. I am unabashedly a fan of Downton. There was something about the first season that drew me in--more than the lush scenery and period dress. There is a sweetness and nuance to the characters that is, sadly, not often seen today. I did a post about the scene last season between Matthew Crawley and his valet, Mister Moseley. There is real humanity in the writing--and I was pleased to find that Julian Fellowes (the creator and writer) is a practicing Catholic. Even though there has been no mention of Catholicism that I've seen, there is a certain Catholic sensibility in the treatment of the characters, I think. Counting down 'til next week with you:)

Thanks for always offering something interesting to think about

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. I know exactly what you mean. It is my impression as well. Not surprised Fellowes is a Catholic. I love his work!!

Jennie Walters said...

Have you seen 'Gosford Park', Elena? Fellowes wrote the screenplay for that too. I loved 'Upstairs Downstairs' when it first came out in the UK many years ago and found the characters much more developed than DA, but the recently released new series of 'Upstairs' was a disappointment. I don't know exactly what makes 'Downton' so much more watchable than that - perhaps it's because, although some of the plot twists are unbelievable, the characters are sufficiently interesting (just) to keep us involved, and their world is absorbing and convincing. Apparently Julian Fellowes had no idea the series would be so successful - maybe that's why the timescale seems so rushed sometimes. He's had to write the screenplay more quickly than he'd have wanted.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, I love Gosford Park and reviewed it somewhere on this blog!

RosieP said...

I do like "DOWNTON ABBEY", but I also have some problems with it. Although the series has been willing to somewhat depict the upper-class characters in a complex manner (which I heartily applaud), I don't think I can say the same about the lower-class characters. The "bad" ones are those like Thomas, who constantly criticize the aristocratic Crawleys and the "good" ones are portrayed as being somewhat unrealistically loyal.