When “Downton Abbey” aired in the United States, my sister was obsessed with it. I politely ignored it. I probably made fun of it. It wasn’t in my interest. Sometimes historical period pieces make me antsy or bored.
Obviously it changed… It started winning awards. Usually that peeks my interest. I like to jump on the bandwagon. What can I say.
The additional reasoning: Over Christmas break, my mother sighed… my sister and my aunts were talking about this show and my mom wanted to be a part of it. Deep down, so did I, but once again, I didn’t want to make the effort of actually putting the show into my DVD player. My sister had the answer for my laziness, “It’s only seven episodes”. That’s a magic word for me. I could get caught up and I didn’t have to spend hours watching it.
I can not tell a lie. I thoroughly enjoyed the first season of “Downton Abbey”. “Downtown Abbey” deals with the life of the aristocratic England class in the early 1900’s specifically the Earl of Grantham and his family and “the downstairs” who serve them. I love both the “Upstairs” and “Downstairs” of Downton Abbey. I probably lean toward the downstairs more because they are more gossipy and who doesn’t love gossip? Apparently everyone does.
There’s something about going back in time and seeing that everyone still has the same problems we have today including the drama though maybe not as many tea sittings or wardrobe changes. I love sitting in my pajamas and seeing the Ladies go through three dress changes in an episode, plus the corsets!
For anyone who needs a little recap of who’s who, just take a look below. It took me a while to get used to this large ensemble cast of talented actors.
Who’s who in the “Upstairs”:
- Robert Crawely, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville): By far, my favorite character because he has this great character where he takes care of his family which consists of his blood family, but also those who serve him. He never wants to leave anyone on the streets.He’s a sweet mix of Colin Firth and Victor Garber. Currently: Desperate to get back in the active army
- Countess Cora (Elizabeth McGovern): The mother of the three daughters and wife to Robert. Behind every caring father, is a doting wife. I think there is something to love about this woman, largely her voice. I just love the way McGovern speaks… I can’t explain why. Currently: Being the mother and trying to deal with making her house into a rest home for soldiers.
- Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery): The daughter I detest the most. She’s the oldest daughter looking for love, but she’s a hot mess. She’s also desperate and whiny. I’m sure there are some Mary fans out there… they can have her. Current status: Hopelessly in love with Matthew after all…
- Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay): The daughter I love the most. The baby of the family who is into women’s rights and has her own ideas. For instance, she wore pants one night to dinner. Gasp! I find her a breath of fresh air compared to the whiny Mary about her dismal love life. Currently: a nurse, helping in the local hospital.
- Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael): Lord, this daughter is the middle child and let me tell you, she has the middle child syndrome. No one quite loves her and she’s quite fed up with Mary’s antics. You would think this would make me feel for her, but she does some dirty deeds that make me feel not so sorry for her. Currently: Learning to drive and kiss the local married farmer.
- Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith): Professor McGonagall, I mean the Dowager Countess is hysterical as the sarcastic older woman of the house who will not have change. Her comments make the show. Favorite scene was when she was afraid of electricity. Currently: Being cranky about the War and the changes.
- Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens): Cousin to Lord Grantham who will be the heir to Downton Abbey. He’s a city Lawyer boy who is still adjusting to his new life. Was engaged to Mary, but she never gave him an answer until it was to late. Currently: Serving in the army, engaged to “this blonde” girl. Mary is not happy.
- Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton): the late prime minister of Doctor Who who is creating havoc in Downton. She and the Dowager Countess are cousins and they are currently going at each other. Currently: Working in the hospital with Sybil. She was the wife of a Doctor.
Who’s Who in the “Downstairs”:
- Mr. Carson (Jim Carter): The Head butler who needs everything in tip top shape. Has a special fondness for Mary as though she is his own daughter. Currently: On bed rest after his anxiety attack with his staff getting shorter and shorter due to the war.
- Mrs. Hughes(Phyllis Logan): The head of the maids, I think. I always get confused with positions still. She’s a great woman who is a motherly figure for all the others, but who also loves gossip. Cue the air vents she can listen through. Currently: Working as hard as ever.
- Mrs. O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran): The woman you love to hate. She’s the character who is evil and always concocting a plan with Thomas. Currently: Still maid to Cora. Cora deserves better. Helped get Thomas back home.
- Thomas (Rob James-Collier): At the end of season one, this former footman enlisted in the army as a medic to escape a possible pink slip. He a horrible person with an evil sneer. Currently: Back in Downton after shooting himself in the hand to get back home. He and Mrs. O’Brien are not done with scheming.
- Anna (Joanne Froggatt): Maid who is hopelessly in love with Mr. Bates. Currently: She’s determined to never fall in love with no one else after Mr. Bates has to leave. This is one of the relationships you root for. In the end of the first episode, they shared their first kiss.
- John Bates ( Brendan Coyle): Former Valet to Earl Grantham who has a bad limp from a previous war injury. He’s very chivalrous and never wants to hurt anyone. Currently: Left his position after his wicked wife returns. He still loves Anna.
- Daisy (Sophie McShera): Works closely with the cook, Mrs Patmore. If there was every a character besides Mary who is a hot mess, it would be Daisy. Here’s the difference: I like Daisy. Currently: The girlfriend to William. Too bad she kinda doesn’t want be his girl.
- William (Thomas Howes): Footman who always wants to be something bigger. Loves Daisy in a cute high school way. Currently: Enlisted in the war. His father didn’t want him to and the Dowager Countess had stopped him from enlisting by giving him a fake medical condition. Too bad, that problem cleared up. Doesn’t know that Daisy doesn’t want him.
- Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol): The cook who needs to always be in control of her kitchen. She abuses Daisy, but in a family kind of way of yelling at her when she does the wrong thing. Currently: Her eyes are all fixed thanks to the Earl. Taught Sybil how to cook. She found out that her nephew was killed in the army for cowardice.
- Branson (Allen Leech): The Irish chauffeur to the Crawleys who has a love for politics. Currently: Taught Edith to drive and is madly in love with Sybil. He already told her, but Sybil hasn’t told anyone. One of my favorite characters.
- Mosley (Kevin Doyle): The servant to Matthew and Isobel Crowely. Doesn’t want to enlist in the Army.
- Ethel (Amy Nuttall): The newest maid with big dreams. She took the spot of Gwen who left to accomplish her dream as a receptionist.
- Henry Lang (Cal Macaninch): the new valet that took Mr. Bate’s spot. Has a serious cast of PTSD. Shocker: Mrs. O’Brien is nice to him because her favorite brother had the same problem.
- Vera Bates (Maria Doyle Kennedy): the evil wife of Bates who does not want to divorce him. She wants to keep to him very close.
- Lavinia Swire (Zoe Boyle): The blonde thing that Matthew is engaged to.
- Sir Richard Carlisle (Iain Glen): Mary’s newest love who is editor of a newspapers. Clearly it’s not love, but his connections and to make Matthew jealous. He and Lavinia has a shared past.
- Lady Rosamund (Samantha Bond): the Earl’s sister who is poking her nose where it doesn’t belong.
One character that never gets old is Downton Abbey. There are impressive shot of the lush grounds and the lavishly decorated rooms. Also the Robert’s dog gets a shootout because he is a lovable lab just lying on the floor as a good pet.
Well now that we are all caught up on who’s who…. The show is currently in it’s second season due to the rave reviews and rabid fan base (It was only supposed to be one season) started last sunday with the family and society dragged into the World of WWI. You can check out the continuing gossip and drama tonight on PBS at 9 o’clock.