Today’s Dance: Downton Abbey

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Highclere Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have not already discovered Downton Abbey (and if not, why not?), it is a British period television show filmed at Highclere Castle in England that begins on the morning after the Titanic sinks and continues to follow the Earl and Lady Grantham (‘the Crawley family’) and their staff and the people of their estate through the next few decades.

The show examines class and wealth and privilege while providing an entertaining and intelligent human drama that is set firmly in place and time. The relationships are interesting and complicated, and for those of us who like pretty things, there is plenty of eye candy to be had.

Viewers who watch in Great Britain get to watch each season approximately six months ahead of those in America (except for those industrious enough to track down a British version of the show). As an American, I am (usually) patient enough to wait until it comes over the airwaves here, so currently I am on episode three of season three.

I’m going to break the question set in two, one for those who have never seen the series, and one for those who have. Please, no season 3 spoilers in the comments, as I know there are fans from all over the world who read the posts here.

If you have never seen Downton Abbey:

  • From what you have heard of the series, what appeals to you? What doesn’t appeal to you?
  • Are you thinking of watching it at some point, or are you just sick of listening to us enthusiastic fans?
  • Do you like period pieces in general or is that one of the reasons you haven’t watched the show?
  • Are there access problems keeping you from watching the show? Is it not available locally to you or are there financial issues?
  • Is it on your ‘to watch’ list?
  • Do you like to wait to watch some series so that you can watch them ‘all at once’?
  • What would it take for someone to convince you to watch it right now, today?

If you watch Downton Abbey:

  • Who is your favorite character? Why?
  • What storyline do you find most believable? Least believable?
  • How well do you think the series handles the class issues it attempts to portray? What does it do well? What could it do better?
  • If you were a new character in Downton Abbey, who would you be and how would you be introduced?
  • Imagining yourself in the life of one of the staff members, how would that compare to a working or middle class job today? Easier or harder? In what ways?
  • Imagine yourself one of the nobility of that time. Do you think that Downton Abbey ‘soft pedals’ the attitude of the aristocracy to the people of their estates and to their servants?
  • In what ways are the women in the series more alike than different despite class?
  • In what ways are the men in the series more alike than different despite class?
  • How different is the world of Downton Abbey from today’s world? How is it similar?
  • What do you find funny in the show? Tragic? Heartwarming? (remember, no season 3 spoilers)

As with every other Today’s Dance, feel free to ponder your responses silently, leave them below, and share them with friends using the buttons at the bottom of the post.

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