When Downton Abbey was on our PBS television station a few years back, my wife discovered it about halfway through the first season. Eventually, she watched the whole series. I supported this, nay, stoked it, as I purchased each season on DVD.
Heck, I bought her Christmas At Downton Abbey music CD back in 2014, which is pleasant enough. (Note to self, for this holiday season…)
However, I never actually WATCHED the show. I might walk through the room while she was viewing it, but not enough to know the names of the characters, let alone their relationships. Peculiar too, because I did see a bit of Upstairs, Downstairs back in the 1970s, which Downton broadly resembles.
I saw the trailer for the movie repeatedly. This is no spoiler: the king is coming to Downton! After catching a number of television interviews with the actors, it allowed me to think I might just go see the film.
My wife had the day off from school for Yom Kippur, so we went to see the second matinee showing at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. By then we knew it had done well enough to warrant a sequel.
I liked the movie, actually. More than occasionally, I was unclear who was related to whom, but it mattered little. Unsurprisingly, I found the “downstairs” people much more relatable. I rooted for them in the major plot point about them collectively.
Almost every time Maggie Smith, who is the Countess of Grantham, had a line, or dialogue was spoken to her, I laughed. But I LOVED Carson (Jim Carter) who came out of retirement to help with the house. The anti-royalist sentiment also intrigued me.
Still, I should note my wife’s reaction. She’s been watching the series all of these years, after all. As the credits rolled, she said, “it was yummy.”
It occurred to me that the Downton Abbey series was probably a soap opera. I don’t mean that pejoratively. When I was watching Grey’s Anatomy recently and she was in the next room, she said, perhaps snarkily, “It sounds like a soap opera.” We all have our own sudsers, I suppose.