Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Downton Abbey – how to bring cool back into costume dramas

There’s no denying “period” dramas are (alongside fairytale inspired productions) a big trend in television right now (actually it’s been a while)!  

Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Pan Am, Bomb Girls, Copper, Magic City to name just a few from the top of my head - they also happen to be  the ones I’m watching or watched because, unfortunately some of them have been cancelled.

It’s really a shame some of these don’t achieve the mass success they need to receive more seasons.

However that’s not the case for Downton Abbey, that’s all the rage right now. I’m personally surprised and delighted a British costume drama based in the post-Edwardian era has been received so well and became, almost overnight (well, it took a season’s worth), such a cultural phenomenon.

The show got the highest number of nominations (27) in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards. The Golden Globe for Best Miniseries or Television Film is further proof of the extraordinary critical acclaim this TV show has received.

On a personal level I find Downton Abbey supremely subtle and witty – it’s what I call an elegant production with breathtaking scenery and photography, wonderful costumes, believable stories and interesting characters. The writing is no doubt another strength of this series, having the right balance of funny, heartfelt, intense and sharp mixed in.

It also has an unbelievable cast: Maggie Smith is amazing as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham; we then have Hugh Bonneville (as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham), Shirley MacLaine (as Martha Levinson), Michelle Dockery (as Lady Mary Crawley) and many more amazing actors pitching in the excellent acting department.

The episodes are well paced and not overtly dramatic avoiding the overdone feel that plagues many other series.

It’s not all raving reviews though; there are a lot of expected detractors who qualify Downton Abbey as a Victorian soap opera and attribute its success to the amazing wardrobe! Well, if that would be true then, let me just tell you, it would be enough – the costumes and general decor are truly exquisite.

There are also those who criticize creator Julian Fellowes for the historical inaccuracies saying that the relationships between upstairs and downstairs are unrealistic and the servant’s workload are being sugar coated.

Surely nobody really expects documentary accurate facts from a TV show, we’re talking entertainment here!

There might be some colorful wrapping  involved but the show does a good job of exploring the issues of class and wealth covering both the aristocrats and their servants, while dealing with the important events in history and the effect on their lives.

If we were to over analyze it we could see a lot of other themes explored in Downton Abbey: the old ways vs. the new ways, the decline of aristocracy, social hierarchy, the double standard of male and female sexuality in the era and so much more.

But the bottom line is this: Downton Abbey made costume period dramas cool again; this kind of movies or TV shows are no longer considered old fashioned, boring or even taboo.

More of them are being made as we speak in hopes they will provide a similar glamorous escapism for the viewers and huge success for the producers. There’s even talk about a prequel to the show (exploring the history behind Lord and Lady Grantham).

I’ve also noticed a big Downton Abbey influence on current fashion - a subject I plan to explore in a future article.

Photos: 1, 2.
So, what's your verdict? Are you a fan? Do you think Downton Abbey is over-hyped? Have you ever hear of it?

30 comentarii :

Mimi said...

i am a huge fan!!! i love the story, the characters, the setting, the clothes, the hair -- everything!!! :D

<3, Mimi
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Pastime Bliss said...

I love this show, its just brilliant and the writing is indeed very good. Like you said, the close relationship between upstairs and downstairs can be abit unrealistic sometimes. In reality, they wouldn't have even known their names most times! But despite that, its very enjoyable :)

Lola xx

Ashley Aspinwall said...

I really like downton abby! I love all of the costumes :)

xo SideSmile,

SideSmile Style Blog

Jen said...

I had never heard of the show until now, but will definitely have to check it out. You made it sound so exciting. I love costume period dramas. <3

Sexy Little Things

Chai Chen said...

I like witty shows too. This one seems interesting. :)

By the way, I'm already following your blog on GFC and Bloglovin'. Hope you can follow me back now. :)


The Hearabouts said...

I love it for all the reasons you mentioned and more! Even Marc Jacobs got obsessed with it :)). Maggie Smith is absolutely BRILLIANT, she makes me laugh so hard. I can't wait to watch the new episodes.

If you haven't already, you must check out the article/photos in LOVE magazine, they took my breath away.


Alice in vintageland said...

I saw the article and photos in LOVE magazine - in fact I was going to post an article about that soon!

smashinBeauty said...

I love this show! the fashion is so beautiful!
SmashinBeauty I Halloween Makeup 2012

Audrey and Pearl said...

HI! We can´t even say how much we appreciate that blogger like you followed us..thank u very much.We followed u back here, on Bloglovin and also on Facebook. It ment a worlld to us, if u could follow us back on facebook, too. Here is the link if u decide so:

To this post: Loving it! We watch this type of movies all the time. Audrey has been watching Magic City very much.
Anyway, stunnig blog! Looking forward to keep in touch through comments.
-Audrey and Pearl

Alexandra said...

Hi there) thank you so much for stopping by at my blog, It means a lot to me:) It would be great to follow each other! I'm following you right now!
have a great week!
Best wishes from Russia:)

Preslava Tsacheva said...

What an amazing post! Exactly what I will like! I love this time and these clothes, and the moral standards and polite manners! I am so grateful to you for making that post because now I know about this serial and I will watch it!
And also thanks for the amazing comment in my blog :) I apreciate it :)
I am also your follower now both on GFC and Bloglovin :)

xoxo, Press

Sacramento Amate said...

I cannot wait for the next season of
Downton Abbey.
Fabulous post indeed.

Anna Maria said...

Its like a posh hollyokes to me lol but i gotta admit i do love te costumes :)

Thanks for visiting my blog! I love yours! Definitely adding you to following so I wont loose it!
Feel very welcome to check out my new post!

RachieCakes said...

Never seen it, but it looks like I need to check it out!

xo Rach

OanaC said...

super super cool !

Hugs <3

Jen27 said...

I've never seen the show, but have heard great things. These photos are absolutely stunning! The costumes and makeup are so striking and intricate. I'm a sucker for period pieces in general, and think I'd watch this just for the outfits. And for Maggie Smith :)

Thanks for the kind words on my blog earlier. Just started following you!


Leeh Trindade said...

Great pics! My dream is someday to visit a castle like this! It's awesome!


Sharon said...

She's such a cool actress!

Will you please vote for me in the Esprit Style Battle!

Kristina said...

Huge fan here. I'm so glad it's back on our screens.

Angeline Ng said...

Follow you! :D thanks for visitng my bloggie!

Dascha said...

Great post!!


Pretty Mess said...

oh I love it.. what a great blog by the way,thx so much for following, followed back via gfc and bloglovin, xx <lynn

Anonymous said...

I love British fashion, both new and old. The posh, elegance and sophistication of the old eras...I desire to be born in the past (:

Thank you for visiting my blog, dear! And I followed you back. Hope we stay in touch! I love your blog...very insightful!<3

xoxo' Dipika

Marina Kaysen said...

I think it's quite over-hyped, I'm not a big big fan, but I like it anyway!


Veronika said...

so following you!:)

Lbh fashionahdas said...

Me gusta ver estas series por ver los vestidos de una epoca que me encantan¡¡¡besos laura

Lubięczerń said...

So far, I wondered,if I should watch this TV Show, now you convinced me :)
Here in Poland we also have costume TV show, named "Time of honour" It;s about more modern time, about wwII and time after war :)

Carolyne O' said...

I'm in love with this post and your pics, super interesting!
Xoxoxo beauty


Debs said...

Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I just started Downton Abbey last night but I love it already! I grew up watching BBC, Masterpiece Theatre, and other British dramas so having a popular drama series like D.A. is truly a pleasure, esp since there are 3 seasons to go!

Loved your accurate and thoughtful analysis of D.A., I can wait to watch more of it! Following you back on GFC and bloglovin'!


Maya M said...

Wow this is an amazing post! Now I'll search for the show, you caught my interest.

Having a necklace giveaway on my blog, would love if you'll check it out:)

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