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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Small Screen Scenes: Downton Abbey Season One Episode Two Highly Recommended by Whom You Know Available Now From PBS Distribution

The pomp and circumstance continues with Episode Two!
The formality that you see in this series is going to leave you looking at your own life with its probable lack of formality thinking: "What is this?!" and you'll be yearning to create pomp and circumstance.  You'll be looking for your reception committee, your butler, your Earl....
Here is our coverage of Episode One, which makes sense to start with:

As Season Two kicks off we are again greeted with another mode of transportation: cars.  If there is something we know something about it is about cars.  Peachy did not grow up in Downton Abbey but she did grow up around cars so we love seeing the Rolls and the like punctuate dialogues.  

Matthew, you should not speak too may need a butler and you can still be yourself in doing so.  
Maggie Smith as The Dowager Countess

The Dowager Countess will leave you in tears laughing at her character as she questions:
"What is a Week-End?"
"It always seemed rather dark when my mother-in-law lived here, but then she made everything rather dark!"
It is not only what she says, but how she says it!
Her delivery is fantastically priceless and for that alone you need to own this series.
Of Violet, Smith says, "She's always been imperious from the age of two, and I think she's just about got the hang of it now. I also like to think that she's got this sort of fa├žade and underneath she's got a heart of pure custard." And the Dowager Countess's rapier tongue? Smith quips, "It's Julian's tongue, it's not mine. I'm a pussycat!" Pussycat or no, she is renowned for her sense of humor. As Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes explains, "Maggie Smith has a unique sense of comedy, based on a somewhat ironic view of real life, making it both funnier and more sad. But perhaps her greatest ability, or at least the one that most intrigues me, is how she can convey deep and powerful emotion without a trace of sentimentality."

We surmise you are addicted by now so you may as well take this quiz to see which character you are:
No one should be surprised to see that Peachy should be Lady Mary Crawley.  Though she does not ride and does not hunt...
Lady Mary Crawley

"Dear Lord, I don't pretend to have much credit with you. I'm not even sure that you're there. But if you are, and if I've ever done anything good, I beg you to keep him safe."–Mary

Another couple of characters that intrigue us are Anna and Bates.  They seem like two good eggs and we like how they look out for each other.

The medical scenes we find unnerving and appreciative of the advances that this field has had from then until now.

Get your pride and dignity on, and pop this fantastic dvd by PBS in your player!


Special Extra Features Include “The Making of Downton Abbey” and “A House In History”

Arlington, VA November 1 -- PBS Distribution is pleased to announce the January DVD release of “Downton Abbey,” MASTERPIECE’s lead program for its 40th anniversary celebration. Written and created by Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes (“Gosford Park”), “Downton Abbey” is an epic British TV period drama which will air on PBS over four Sunday nights in January and will be released on DVD January 11, 2011. Special bonus features on the DVD include two featurettes:“The Making of Downton Abbey” and “A House In History.” The dealer order date is December 14, 2010.

A smash hit when it aired in the UK, “Downton Abbey” follows in the tradition of the Emmy Award-winning “Upstairs, Downstairs” (a MASTERPIECE THEATRE favorite when it aired in the 1970s), which portrayed the lives of a wealthy aristocratic family and the relationships they had with their servants. “Downton Abbey” features lavish costumes, beautiful cinematography, seamless direction, and impeccably accurate set design. The cast includes Dame Maggie Smith (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone”), Hugh Bonneville (“Notting Hill,” “Iris”) and Elizabeth McGovern (“Clash of the Titans,” “The Wings of the Dove”).
Quotes about “Downton Abbey’s” British Premier on ITV
“An impeccably polished stroll back to the past.”
                                                                        --London’s Metro

“…a sumptuous, instantly riveting glimpse of a world – and family – on the verge of profound change.”
                                                                        --London Telegraph
“The whole thing looks divine, and has the distinct advantage of being an original story and so completely unknown to all the viewers.”
                                                                        --The Yorker
 Plot Details
Set in 1912, “Downton Abbey” encompasses all the drama, romance, and politics of this era and is comparable to any lavish period piece on the big screen. Dame Maggie Smith portrays the matriarch of the Crawley family, desperately trying to navigate and strategize so her son (Hugh Bonneville) can hold onto the multi-million dollar inheritance he married into. Elizabeth McGovern gives an outstanding performance as the mother to their four daughters, each dowry-endowed, to attract an appropriate suitor. The eldest, Mary (Michelle Dockery) is as interested in being married through arrangement as she is in socializing with the servants downstairs.

And as all the drama is happening upstairs, downstairs also has its share. The servants are shaken up with the arrival of a new valet, John Bates (Brendan Coyle).  Bates arrives at Downton in the first episode to take the position, but the servants are not supportive when they see he is wounded from the war and is lame. The help is as fiercely possessive of their ranks as anyone above and Thomas (Rob James-Collier), the first footman, wants Bates’ job and will do anything to get it – including theft and deceit. Some of the other servants are loyal to the family and are committed to Downton as a way of life, but others are moving through, on the look out for new opportunities, love or just adventure.

Much like blockbuster epic films such as “Young Victoria,” “Sense & Sensibility,” “Gosford Park,” “Howard’s End,” and “A Room With A View,” “Downton Abbey” is an engaging series that fans of period pieces will love.  The series is comprised of three discs which have an approximate running time of six hours.


Downton Abbey
Genre: Drama
Price: $34.99
Running Time: 6 Hours/3 Discs
Street Date: January 11, 2011

Bonus Features
The Making of Downton Abbey (Running Time 13:09)
A House in History (Running Time 9:43)


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