1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Downton Abbey, worth a go?

    Discussion in 'Entertainment' started by Wreybies, Dec 7, 2013.

    I discovered this series while watching my favorite GoT parody recap online, Gay of Thrones. He mentions the show a number of times. I go and look it up and yummy of all yummies, Edwardian fra-fra-fra with stories told from an Upstairs Downstairs framework. The cast appears to be top-notch and I discover also there is at least one LGBT story-line of interest.

    Worth committing to a box set?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    No. Just my personal opinion of course, but Downton Abbey is the worst thing on TV right now.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ok, but 'splain me why. :oops: Your 'loathsome tripe' just might be my 'cat's meow'. ;)
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I find the whole show just so ... 'safe', I guess would be a good word. It is so very boring. The whole Edwardian, country manor, lives of the social betters of yesteryear has been done before by the BBC, and frankly done to death. P.G. Wodehouse had the good sense to parody that entire world with his novels, particularly his 'Blindings Castle' novels. And when your idea is so old it was parodied by a guy who died over 50 years ago you might want to tweak things a bit.

    Obviously acting is very subjective, unless it's a film starting Kurt Russel, and then he's always fantastic (give yourself five seconds to name a bad Kurt Russel film. I thought so) but the script I always felt was a weird mix of being both overwritten and underwritten at the same time; the plots seemed to me very melodramatic too, especially the bits that refer to the war. The characters just seem so flat and uninteresting, I find them to be anyway, and every time I try to emerge myself in that world it somehow manages to push me out again. In the end I find I just don't care.

    I will say this though: compared to some of the BBC rubbish like Eastenders, by comparison Downtown Abby is to be honest rather good. But then again, I'd rather do anything else over watch Eastenders.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I would choose 'banal' as the adjective. Think soap opera in a period setting.
     
  6. MLM
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    MLM Banned for trolling

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    It's a "mom series" if you know what I mean.
     
  7. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I watched it...

    Liked it at first...

    Now, I think back on it and I'm just like, that was a waste of time. It has some weird way of sucking you in and then just leaving you feeling empty and alone afterward...

    :p
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I liked it a lot at the start, but have found my attention waning. In fact, I own the latest series on DVD, but haven't watched it yet. I don't mind the upstairs/downstairs theme, because they do pay a lot of attention to how unequal things were during that period, and how the rich folks had entirely different worries and lifestyles than the classes who worked for them did.

    The series also has some excellent characters.

    However, my interest has waned, mostly because the story 'problems' which arise are WAY too easily solved. In a Bound, Jack was Free kind of manner. I think the writer (Julian Fellowes) has fallen into the trap of creating an interesting problem, mulling it around for a short period, then bingo it's solved, and we move on. After a while, this gets old ...and does run a bit like a soap opera. Shame, because with a LITTLE bit more courage and willingness to let problems find a more realistic route to solution, this could have been a fabulous series. As it is, it's pretty good. Maybe 4 out of 5 stars from me.
     
  9. losthawken
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    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

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    Awww, I'm afraid to admit it, but I liked it. Now let me try to think why . . .

    For one, I haven't been over-exposed to the Edwardian country manor 'thing'. So I found it rather interesting, and not what I expected. Instead of portraying the typical Amarican anti-classist perspective of high-headed aristocrats and their indentured servants. The show treated both as equals and showed the flaws of each and curious dynamics between them that maintained their system living and mutual benefit. I found that aspect fascinating, even if it wasn't historically precise (which I really have no idea whether it was or not).

    Some of the characters are indeed flat and, unfortunately, the flat characters seem to be paired with the less talented actors/actresses. But, other characters are quite well developed in my opinion, even to the point that I have stolen bits of them to start of some of my own characters. Not much more to be said about that really.

    I think the thing that hooks you is the writing really, which is what makes it worth watching for me. The writers have an excellent way (which even some of the nay-sayers here have admitted) of sucking you in. Mostly its through the use of drawn out plots, subplots, and cliffhangers that they force you into the next episode. They reveal their plots only very slowly and carefully, and then throw unexpected, and often cruel, twists at you. I thought it was less predictable than many modern programs, and in that, more like real life.

    That's my 2 cents, I usually run from historical drama, but (after my wife forced me) I rather enjoyed Downton Abbey despite its flaws. As a writer I feel that I learned a lot about character development and plotting through the strengths and weaknesses of the show.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I just finished the last episode of season two, the Spanish Flu episode.

    I am...

    [​IMG]
     
  11. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I'm with @losthawken , and really can't describe it's appeal any better. I think we're on season 3 of a DVD set right now. It's television, so of course it's going to be a bit contrived and problems will be neatly solved in one episode, but it's a peek into a world I've never really considered before, and I enjoy it. I also find it interesting that the Lord, Lady and their family are not depicted as cold, unfeeling arseholes; they are nice people. My wife and I both find Lady Violet's pithy comments howl out loud funny as well. Having done Dexter to it's ho-hum conclusion and watched many other gritty cable series (The Shield is still my personal all-time favorite), Downton is a pleasant change of pace for us. Not everything need be 'hard hitting drama'.
     
  12. Tharian
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    Tharian Contributing Member

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    I think Downton Abbey is one of the best show I have watched so far. It is the show that, at least, appeals to me the most. The music and scenery are memorable; of course, it contains actors of a certain stature as well; the zeitgeist of that time and day is portrayed very well. I disagree with Lemex about the characters. I think they have a certain amount of depth, although the value of this depth varies per character. Daisy's issues are not as interesting as Lord Grantham's. I think that amplifies the
    though, whilst creating something relevant for the development of their characters, respectively.

    I can understand how someone might find it banal, safe, or boring. I simply prefer the magnifying glass on the characters, and when something happens to them, it quickly kills any boring aspect, if there were any.

    Edit: Once you become invested with the show, you cannot help but beam at the fact that Michelle Dockery (Mary) and Dan Stevens (Matthew) are married in 'real life'.
     
  13. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I tried watching that show with my ex and found it to be as mentally stimulating and fulfilling as that wasted marriage.
    Any show that you can watch eight episodes of and not care how the story ends... Of course, I felt the same way about The Sopranos and Lost
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Escape from L.A.?
     
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  15. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I saw the first three or four episodes, and found them to be just...meh. For context, I loved Upstairs Downstairs, so the general historical setting wasn't the problem.

    I do love the costumes. :)
     
  16. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    You just described Mad Men for me. Period correct, well portrayed characters...yet I simply didn't give a crap about any of them. I think it was because there were no 'good' characters to root for. Everyone had so much baggage, or was so immoral I found them all a bit despicable.
     
  17. Mezza
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    Mezza Member

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    My wife loves it. I hate it.

    Trying to remain objective for you, if you enjoy:
    • Period drama
    • Soap operas
    • Gossiping characters
    • Mild Racism (it's there just watch for the old ladies, some of it is hilarious)
    Then you'll probably enjoy it. If you enjoy it and will watch it more than once then a box set is probably a good idea. If you don't then I'd not recommend watching it.

    Having said that, I just noticed the OP was in December and has probably already decided on the program in question.
     
  18. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Watched the Season 3 x-mas episode last night. [​IMG]
     
  19. eleutheria
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    eleutheria Member

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    I love it, and even my husband will admit its decently done. (And he hates this sort of thing.) In the end, I think it's a personal preference as to whether you like it or not. I like having something safe to watch, it can help calm me down when I'm worried/stressed out. That's the appeal of it, for me.
     
  20. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm on S04E07. I've made a marathon of it this weekend. Come the conclusion of the season 4 x-mas episode, I think what I'll need is some methadone to ween me off until season 5 brings it back.
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm now up to date. :(

    My hubby comments that this four day immersion into the life of the Edwardian cream has affected my manner of speech somewhat. I haven't a clue what he's getting at, wot wot. ;)
     
  22. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Anyone else notice that there are times when Elizabeth McGovern speaks in a strangely gushed manner reminiscent of Jennifer Coolidge in Legally Blonde?

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  23. sunsplash
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    sunsplash Bona fide beach bum

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    This series hooked me. Thank goodness for the Internet so I could watch along with the Brits instead of waiting months longer for airing in the States! Season 4 was a huge disappointment, imo, compared to the others but I'm too invested to just quit. If season 5 doesn't bring back the magic, well, then I may reevaluate.
     
  24. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have to agree about season 4. This season really dipped off into soap-opera land, and Downton Abbey itself, the place, the estate, was missing as a character in the story. I think they went a little heavy handed on the whole out with the old, in with the new paradigm.
     
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