Downton Abbey (2010-2015) | TV Series Review

Title: Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
Created by: Julian Fellowes
Written by: Julian Fellowes, Shelagh Stephenson, Tina Pepler
Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Rob James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Kevin Doyle, Allen Leech, David Robb, Siobhan Finneran, Dan Stevens, Raquel Cassidy, Lily James, Jessica Brown Findlay, Samantha Bond, Matt Milne, Ed Speleers, Douglas Reith, Paul Copley, Thomas Howes, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, and Iain Glen
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Original Language(s): English
No. of Series: 6
No. of Episodes: 52
Genres: Drama, Romance
Running Time: 48-58 minutes, 92-93 minutes (Christmas Specials)
Original Network: ITV (United Kingdom), PBS (United States)

This British drama series follows the lives of the Crawley family and its servants in the family’s classic Georgian country house. The series begins with the 1912 sinking of the Titanic, which leaves Downton Abbey’s future in jeopardy, since the presumptive heirs of Robert, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)—his cousin James, and James’ son, Patrick—die in the catastrophe, leaving the family without a male offspring to take over Downton when the current lord dies. The point is important since Lord Grantham’s children are daughters—Ladies Mary (Michelle Dockery), Edith (Laura Carmichael) and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), but the facets of their lives and of those of the below-stairs staff—also a highly regimented world—have fascinating story lines.

After quite some time, I have finally watched this Downton Abbey. I am pretty excited because I am in love with England and to see old England is something awesome and surreal too. The setting in Downton Abbey really embodied the old England really really well.

“I’m not a romantic, but even I concede that the heart does not exist solely for the purpose to pump blood.” – Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

I must say most of the characters are sort of the characters that will make you love and hate simultaneously or alternately. It’s pretty confusing, you know. There’s a time when you hate the character but then you’ll love the character. There are only a few characters that I truly love without hate at all. I think it’s just 2-3 characters the most. Like seriously. The rest of them are like ‘Oh my, I hate her/him’ and then the next episode you’ll like ‘Oh my, he/she is actually very good’. So yep, it’s stirring your feelings but in a good way, of course. I like the character of Anna Smith played by Joanne Froggatt and the character of Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham played by Dame Maggie Smith. I am happy when I found out that they have actually won the Golden Globes for their role. Aren’t they amazing? No wonder there. Both of them have played their roles really well. Whether Joanne Froggatt as a housemaid or Maggie Smith as Dowager Countess, both can play their role perfectly. They really nailed it. It’s always refreshing to see the character of Violet Crawley because she doesn’t only give serious and sarcastic comments but also funny reactions. Even her words are often very wise. There’s no doubt that Maggie Smith has embodied her character really well, like she always has.

I also like the character of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham played by Elizabeth McGovern. Aside from them, I kind of between like and don’t like the characters. As for the men, I like the character of Matthew Crawley played by Dan Steven and Henry Talbot played by Matthew Goode. I also like the character of Mr Carson played by Jim Carter and Mrs Hughes played by Phyllis Logan. It’s funny to see Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes. They can sometimes give you a good laugh. There are many characters that I like but at the same time, I kind of don’t like. Yeah, it’s confusing but it’s true. If you have watched Downton Abbey, you’ll know how I feel, right? Perhaps Lady Mary Crawley played by Michelle Dockery and Lady Edith Crawley played by Laura Carmichael are one of those characters whom you love and hate. Despite whatever their characters were in Downton Abbey, both actresses have proven to us that they did a great job in playing an elegant and poised lady. If I have to choose between both characters, perhaps I prefer Edith in the end. It’s not like they both have good characters, but eventually, Edith’s character is better than Mary. Besides Edith became a writer, an editor, and eventually, own a publishing company. It is something that I would love.

Isobel Crawley: How you hate to be wrong.
Violet Crawley: I wouldn’t know. I’m not familiar with the sensation.

Aside from the relationship between Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes, I also like the relationship between Violet Crawley and Isobel Crawley. These two cousins are both looked so great together. Even though they seemed to not like each other, in the end, they are like best friends and very funny together. The sarcasm between them will absolutely make you laugh. Actually, it’s Violet who always gives the sarcasm but the way both of them interacted with each other is undeniable. They are funny in their own way. At any rate, all the chemistry between all the characters in Downton Abbey is just spot on. They were good together. From their hatred, love, and respect towards others, everything is spot on. Despite liking to do sarcasm comments, there are times when the Dowager Countess was very wise. Her actions and her words were so wise and so memorable. Either about parenting, life, or even love, the character of Violet Crawley has proven to us that she’s not just some old lady who loved to complain or rejecting the modern ways or criticising others’ behaviour but she made us, the audience, loved her. Her sarcasm and jokes were another plus thing that made her more loveable.

Isobel Crawley: You take everything as a compliment.
Violet Crawley: I advise you to do the same, it saves many an awkward moment.

I even like the relationship between the household staff of Downton Abbey with their masters. Like Anna and Lady Mary. Despite being a bit arrogant, Lady Mary is very good to the servants, especially Anna who later on became her Lady’s maid. Of course, the love story between Anna and Mr Bates, played by Brendan Coyle, is also interesting and exciting, not to mention complicated too since they face a lot of hurdles along the way. But in the end, both of the actor and actress have done their job really well. Their chemistry is really good. I really like their relationship. The way Anna trusts Mr Bates so much is really something worth talking about.

I kind of sad when Dan Stevens who played the character of Matthew Crawley left the series. Though I don’t particularly like him at first, I do like him after one series. I find him pretty handsome. I’m sure many of the audiences were so mad of how the story turned out to be when Dan Stevens decided to leave the show. However, Matthew Goode joined the cast and I was so excited because he is really handsome, like really. His voice is so mesmerising and attractive. I did not pay much attention when he was in The Imitation Game (2014) because let just says, I am more focused on Benedict Cumberbatch. I did know he is handsome even back then, and seeing him in Downton Abbey only confirms me that he is really indeed very handsome. Nevermind that, it’s the acting that needs to be paid attention to. And I have to say, he is really good in playing his character of Henry Talbot.

“I think it’s terrific that people make their own lives. Especially women.” – Sybil Crawley

I also felt the same way with Jessica Brown Findlay who played the role of Lady Sybil Crawley, the youngest daughter of Robert and Cora Crawley. Her character is indeed the sweetest one of all the Crawley family, especially among her sisters. Like Anna Smith—or later on Bates—everyone must have loved Sybil very much. Not just the characters in Downton Abbey but also the audience. It’s very sad that she has to leave the show and in such a sad way too. I even cried when I watched it. It’s just sad. However, throughout three series, Findlay has portrayed her character perfectly. She managed to make us love her character easily. I also like the idea of her character and Thomas Branson, who was portrayed by Allen Leech. Their relationship is interesting and their chemistry is very good. Although Allen Leech is just a recurring cast in the beginning, but I’m glad he got to become one of the main characters as well. It made things more exciting and of course, interesting.

There are many characters that I think are interesting but left the series pretty quick, though there are some characters that I’m glad left the series as well. Because let’s face it, you just hate it when a bad character stays too long in the series. They did make things more complicated and interesting, but sometimes, too much hatred isn’t what I needed when I watched a TV series or a film. With so much going on in Downton Abbey, I think they didn’t have to rely on a villain all the time anyway. I also am glad that they added some new characters as well, especially when they were so likeable. Aside from the main characters, I am very interested in the character of Charles Parks. He’s super cute!! I don’t particularly adore children the way my sister does, but Frank or Mariusz Lewis who played the character of Charles Parks are just so cute! I’ve just known they are twins, even though they only played one character in Downton Abbey and unfortunately only took a very very small part. I think it’s just one or two episodes the most. All in all, all the actors and actresses have played their parts really well. Even the British accents were good. You can definitely hear the difference between the aristocrats’ and the servants’ accents. I don’t know whether it’s just the actors’ or the actresses’ accent or the characters’ accent but I think it’s the latter.

“I don’t see why not. As my late father used to say, if reason fails, try force!” – Violet Crawley

Anyway, what I adore about Downton Abbey is mostly about the setting and the costume. It’s very 1910s to 20s old England. Everything in the series is awesome! I don’t know how they managed to get everything, from the cars, the house, everything. I can understand the clothes, but the place is pretty hard if I have to say. It’s not easy to have all the 1910s to 20s’ cars like in this series. Seriously, Downton Abbey’s design production is just superb and awesome and jaw-dropping. I don’t know if it’s because the setting is so good, or because I really love England that makes Downton Abbey so awesome in my eyes. But it is indeed a global phenomenon series and worth to watch. They really managed to make all the places and the costumes just like back in the 1910s to 20s. It’s just amazingly awesome. I seriously fall in love with the houses, especially Downton Estate. The decorations are just so beautiful. Even the servants’ hall and headquarters looked perfectly arranged. All the places and the clothes are just beautiful. The way the characters brought themselves and how they behave, everything was just spot on. Every little detail was thought thoroughly. Perhaps there were some faults and mistakes here and there but as long as the audience enjoyed the story and didn’t really mind or bother with small mistakes and even didn’t really affect the story itself, I think it doesn’t matter. Everything else is perfect anyway, so very well done indeed. The production team has done a tremendously great job.

As for the stories, Downton Abbey has a very good story and very much interesting. I haven’t really watched a film or a series about this kind of story and this kind of setting. I have watched a lot of historical dramas and films, but they are pretty much really old and historical, whereas Downton Abbey took the time between old age and new age, where they started to introduce you about electricity or telephone, things like that. Downton Abbey started after the time when Titanic sank and then during the World War I and after the war as well. Later on, they also used the setting time of some historical moments. I don’t really know about history in the 1900s but I think it’s great that Downton Abbey can synchronise their timeline with the real historical timeline. So yeah, Downton Abbey is very much interesting to see. Not to mention the story is a bit complicated but not too complicated that made me confused. The complication in the story is perfect and definitely made things more interesting, intriguing, and exciting. The thing that I really like about British TV series is that they didn’t take many episodes for one series. They only have maximum 13 episodes in one series and Downton Abbey is no exception. They have 8 episodes in one series plus 1 episode of Christmas edition. Therefore, I am so excited to watch Downton Abbey even though it’s already 6 series in total. However, in Game of Thrones, I kind of not like the short episodes in one series because let’s face it, Game of Thrones is too huge to be wrapped in 10 episodes.

If you asked me about the ending, I have to say I really really like the ending. I love everything about it, even though I wish some characters didn’t leave the series. However, if Dan Stevens didn’t leave the series, I don’t think Matthew Goode’s character will exist, so yep, I’m pretty excited and pretty sad at the same time too. It’s a bittersweet moment. Although mostly I am very excited. I laugh a bit when I watched this series. Mostly because their expressions are so good. They didn’t try to be funny and I think that’s what makes it even funnier. Their sarcasm can be really epic. Oh, I forgot to mention about the dog! She is so cute and adorable. And I must say she’s very clever. She followed her masters really well. Wherever her masters go—or to be exact Robert Crawley goes—she will follow around quietly. She’s just so clever! Even she knew how to act sleeping or sick. I wish I have a dog as clever as her.

So all in all, I really really like Downton Abbey. I think this is a good TV series with a good story and excellent settings. I guess no wonder why Downton Abbey won and nominated for Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy Awards. And it is one of the most popular TV series. I really am not surprised why, seeing that this TV series is very very good and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Downton Abbey is really worth to watch, especially when you love old England like me. All the actors and the actresses have embodied their characters really well. Not only we like the royal family, but we will also like the servants as well. Each character really has their own story and each of the actors and actress have done great jobs in portraying their characters. The production team also did a great job in making Downton Abbey‘s place settings and costumes perfect. I am sad when the show ended but kind of happy because eventually everyone gets their happy ending. It’s a bittersweet moment, really. Nonetheless, I think Downton Abbey is one of the best TV series ever, aside from Merlin (2008-2012) of course. Especially with a better ending. Downton Abbey has definitely become one of my favourite TV series ever.

“All life is a series of problems which we must try and solve, first one and then the next and then the next, until at last we die.” – Violet Crawley

I give Downton Abbey 10 out of 10 stars. Everything looks perfect, from the setting, the design, the story, to the actors and the actresses.

😘   Toodle-oo,

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