Set in a Yorkshire castle, which fictionally houses the Earl and Countess of Grantham, Downton Abbey, a British period television series, created by Julian Fellowes, follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants, during the reign of King George V. The first series starts two years before WWI, with news of the 1912 sinking of the Titanic; a seemingly distant event that all the same has a dramatic effect on the family’s future. The second series, a Christmas Special and the third series, cover the years 1916 through 1921. Wikipedia mentions that Downtown Abbey was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011. It earned the most nominations of any international television series in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with twenty-seven in total (after two seasons). It is furthermore the most watched television series on both ITV and PBS, and subsequently became the most successful British costume drama series since the 1981 television serial Brideshead Revisited. By its third series, Downtown Abbey had become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world.
Why is that so? What makes Downtown Abbey stand out, is a combination of excellent storyline -- writing that feels authentic yet fitted for our time, strong believable fictional characters that play against real historical events, delightful credible acting with a list of actors too long to mention, superb production design value, appealing musical score and much more. It scores high in every possible category of TV production. But even more so, Downtown Abbey is both humanistic in its themes and characters, as well as answering a fascination many viewers have with the life of the aristocracy. How else would one explain the conception, let alone the success, of a TV series such as the infamous Keeping Up with the Kardashians... But while the Kardashians represent the lower end of this fascination, Downtown Abbey is all class act.
Ronen Divon is an entrepreneur, writer, owner of Monroe Yoga and Tai Chi, filmmaker and the film critic at www.ronenrecommends.com. His film reviews are short and sweet and very entertaining. Looking to read about a film? Read no further. Check out his reviews for insightful coverage.