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Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 9:39 AM
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Has anyone watched this PBS series? I have heard good things about it so have ordered Season 1 on Netflix. Any other good series out there I should be watching?
Smiley1965


Posts: 8,221
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 10:12 AM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I've sure heard a lot of people talking about this! All I've seen of it was the spoof on SNL; it was quite funny :)

http://perezhilton.com/2012-02-06-saturday-night-live-parodies-itv-award-winning-series-downton-abbey#.T3HZetV-F8E
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 9:00 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I watched both seasons and liked them. Most of my kids are hooked, too. I keep getting messages in my inbox about "Little Dorrit" on PBS. I hope to watch it online. I think it may have already started on TV. I borrowed "Past, Imperfect", a book by Downton's creator and executive producer, Julian Fellowes, but I couldn't really get into it. There was a little too much description and not enough plot. I've heard his book "Snobs" is good.

Maggie Smith's lines are one reason "Downton" is so successful:

Cora: "Are we to be friends then?"
Lady Grantham: "We are allies, my dear, which can be a good deal more effective."

"I couldn't have electricity in the house, I wouldn't sleep a wink. All those vapors floating about."

Cora: "I hope I don't hear sounds of a disagreement."
Lady Grantham: "Is that what they call discussion in New York?"

"No one wants to kiss a girl in black."

"What is a weekend?"

"Last night! He looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else's house."

Cora: "I might send her over to visit my aunt.She could get to know New York."
Lady Grantham: "Oh, I don't think things are quite that desperate."

"One can't go to pieces at the death of every foreigner. We'd all be in a constant state of collapse whenever we opened a newspaper."

Cora: "I hate to go behind Robert's back."
Lady Grantham: "That is a scruple no successful wife can afford."

Lady Grantham: "Why would you want to go to a real school? You're not a doctor's daughter."
Sybil: "Nobody learns anything from a governess, apart from French and how to curtsy."
Lady Grantham: "What else do you need? Are you thinking of a career in banking?"
Cora: "Things are different in America."
Lady Grantham: "I know. They live in wigwams."

Doctor: "Mrs. Crawley tells me she has recommended nitrate of silver and tincture of steel."
Lady Grantham: "Why, is she making a suit of armor?"

Lord Grantham: "We better go in soon or it isn't fair to Mrs. Padmore."
Lady Grantham: "Oh, is her cooking so precisely timed? You couldn't tell."

Lady Grantham: "You are quite wonderful the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal."
Mrs. Crawley: "I take that as a compliment."
Lady Grantham: "I must've said it wrong."

http://www.vulture.com/2011/01/downton_abbey_maggie_smith_quo.html

Edited by: WELSie on Mar 27, 2012 9:12 PM
Smiley1965


Posts: 8,221
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 8:24 AM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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I loved her in Harry Potter!
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 8:27 AM   in response to: Smiley1965 in response to: Smiley1965
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I have it in my Netflix queue and will probably start watching it after Easter. I'll let you know. Currently I have The King's Speech that came yesterday. I'm always a year behind on movies.
Smiley1965


Posts: 8,221
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 10:01 AM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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You're ahead of me; still haven't seen The King's Speech, and can't even remember the last time I went to the theater.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Mar 28, 2012 10:28 AM   in response to: Smiley1965 in response to: Smiley1965
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Well, I went this weekend for the first time in about five years. Hubby and I been married almost 50 years and I can count the times we have been to the movies together on both hands. And half of those have probably been kids movies.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Apr 22, 2012 10:23 AM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I started watching Downton Abbey (on Netflix) this weekend. Loved it. I hope I can get through the first two seasons prior to the third season starting this fall.
mychalkam


Posts: 1,031
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Apr 24, 2012 6:50 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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Loved this series...there are so many more that are similar but not quite as good. I've only seen season one but daughter has seen both. She was in England recently and saw ads for the 3rd season.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 27, 2013 9:48 PM   in response to: mychalkam in response to: mychalkam
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Who is watching this year? If you haven't started yet, try and catch up on the first three episodes before you watch tonight's. Absolutely awesome program.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 5, 2014 9:43 AM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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It's back. Season 4 starts tonight. Looking through this old post caused me to ask what has happened to mychalkam. Has anyone heard from her/ She has not posted in ages. Hope they are all right. Chalkie, if you see this, let us know how you are.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 6, 2014 8:40 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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Excellent as always. Why do the Brits produce way better television series?
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 11, 2014 9:33 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I liked it, too. I saw an interview with Julian Fellowes on Charlie Rose. He said that, in the places where season 4 has already aired, they have had an even larger audience than for the first three seasons. My daughter has seen season 4, and she said she liked it better than season 3.

The Call the Midwife Christmas special was great, too, but I liked the first Christmas special even better. I think the 2012 Call the Midwife Christmas special will remain my favorite thing to watch on Christmas for a long time.

I wish I had watched more of "The Paradise". I suppose there will be another season, and I'll have the chance to catch up. They usually seem to air previous seasons before the next one comes up. I looked at the Amazon reviews for it and found out it pre-dates "Selfridges". The BBC and ITV seem to be competing against each other by producing similar shows. Here in the US they all end up on PBS, but we don't necessarily know which was first in the UK. I read that Jean Marsh was upset because "Downton Abbey" came at around the same time as her new "Upstairs, Downstairs". That didn't continue because of Marsh's health, but it is also well worth watching.

Regarding "The Paradise", it's based on a book by Emile Zola. I got that for my Kindle. Will have to read it soon. I read one of his books ("Germinal") for a college class and enjoyed it.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 12, 2014 10:06 AM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Let me know how the book is. I liked both that series and Selfridge. Can't wait for the next season of those two.
Gramps


Posts: 14,434
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 13, 2014 3:04 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I am a shameless Downton Abby fan, though in many ways the Upstairs, Downstairs series was better. I like that they have had to face many challenges to the traditional manor estate culture and have been able to change as needed. I think there are some great changes in store this year.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 6:26 PM   in response to: Gramps in response to: Gramps
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The last episode has whetted my appetite for more. It will be interesting to see how all of the conflicts that developed in that episode will be resolved.

One thing has been puzzling me. Mary wasn't allowed to be her father's heir because of a legal requirement to have a male heir. How come she can be Matthew's heir? Maybe a change in the law after the war? I wonder if this was explained in the UK version.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 17, 2014 7:49 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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I think Season One explained that the will dictated that the estate be left to the first male heir and Robert has only girls. In the first program there was a cousin who was to be the heir and he was lost in the Titanic. Late in Season 1, they discovered Matthew as the next-in-line heir and he became part of the program although he really wanted nothing to do with the money. Mary's son is the actual heir, although Matthew's will appointed her as administrator. The first two years spent a lot of time discussing the heirs and who could inherit. I think the will consists mostly of the estate and not too much actual money as Lady Cora is also an heiress and her inheritance has been used to help keep up the estate.

I think I have that right but I'd have to re-watch the first two seasons to be certain.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 18, 2014 1:14 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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Shar, the reason a daughter couldn't inherit Downton Abbey was the entail. I have the UK version on DVD, and it goes into this topic more than the PBS version. I think I read that they thought Americans would be bored with medieval laws, primogeniture, and entailment, but the UK version helped me to understand it better. Here's something on entailment:

http://pintsofhistory.com/2013/02/28/the-entail-primogeniture-and-why-matthew-or-his-son-inherits-downton-abbey/

An entail is also the reason why the mother in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice wants her five daughters to marry wealthy men.

In Downton, Cora was an heiress, but she was an American, so no wonder that would be allowed :) . Her money was made part of the estate, also subject to the entail, so Mary (and the other daughters) couldn't even inherit that.

I thought Mary was made Matthew's heir by his will, not just an administrator. I'd have to watch the first episode of this season to check, though.

You mentioned Jane Austen on another thread. I've been a big fan for a long time, and introduced my daughters to her works. We've spent many happy hours reading her books, watching film versions, and even visited places where she lived. I highly recommend her books and the film versions. I love the four-part "Emma" version that you mentioned. I think the sound track is beautiful, too.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 18, 2014 10:20 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Actually, I have the English version. Watch the first version again. It is very clear that Matthew's will made Mary the administrator of his son's inheritance. That is what upset Robert so much as he didn't feel Mary should get involved in running the estate.

In the first episode, Mary was engaged to Patrick the heir, but he was lost on the Titanic. When Matthew appeared, everyone wanted them to fall in love but that as you might have guessed, Mary rebelled at that idea. They did eventually fall in love and marry, as you know.

I have really enjoyed this program, enough that I bought the first two seasons and will probably add the third and fourth.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 19, 2014 11:06 AM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I am sorry for assuming you hadn't seen the UK version. I thought you might not have because you didn't seem to know about the entail, and there is a whole lot more about that in the UK version. That was presumptuous of me - I'm sorry.

I had a quick look at the scenes in episode one of season four that have to do with Matthew's will. About 1 hour and 8 minutes into the episode Robert shows Violet the letter Matthew wrote. She says, "Robert, Matthew intended Mary to be his sole heiress." Then, about one hour and 45 minutes into the episode Robert gathers the family to tell them what he heard from Murray, the family lawyer (or maybe they call him their solicitor or something). Robert says, "Mary owns half the estate." I took that to mean she was Matthew's sole heiress. If she is, how could Matthew make her his heiress when her father couldn't because of primogeniture and the entail on the estate? Patrick (and later Matthew) had to be the heir because a woman was not legally allowed to inherit the estate.

I did some research, and it looks like I'm not the only one confused by that: http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2014/01/death-taxes-and-downton-abbey.html

There, someone called Wendy C. wrote:

"I would like to know how Mary can be an heir now when she couldn't before because of her female status? Anybody?

Posted by: Wendy C | Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 05:13 PM"

That's the same question I had.

I may have found the answer, though. Apparently, England did ban the entail in 1925. Matthew could easily have died after 1925.

There is also some more discussion of the topic on the Tribune blog website that you can read if you like.

Another thing that confuses me about this season is Michael Gregson's attempt to become a German citizen. It's pretty hard to become a German citizen - it isn't just a matter of learning the language. For most of the 20th century, only people who were of German descent could become citizens, including at the time of this show (http://www18.georgetown.edu/data/people/mmh/publication-30404.pdf). Strictly speaking, the English are actually descendants of the Anglo-Saxons from what is now Germany (and Denmark), but I don't know if that would count, since the Anglo-Saxons came around 600 AD. After re-unification, it became easier to become a German citizen, but even now, would-be immigrants have to have been born in Germany and lived there for some time. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_nationality_law) I'm interested to see where that will go.

Sorry if I'm taking away from your enjoyment of the show by being picky :) . And I'm not trying to be argumentative, just explain why I didn't understand it.
Smiley1965


Posts: 8,221
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 19, 2014 12:37 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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HIjacking your Jane Austen tangent :) - Sense and Sensibility has always been one of my favorite movies - so funny and well done!
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 19, 2014 1:12 PM   in response to: Smiley1965 in response to: Smiley1965
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Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet star in the Sense and Sensibility version I've seen, but I guess there are a lot of different ones: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000807/. Yes, I like Sense and Sensibility, too, and have it on DVD, if my daughter hasn't borrowed it. I'm sort of the movie lending library in the family.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 20, 2014 9:45 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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I really enjoyed this week's episode which I just watched this evening. I hope things work out for Anna and Bates. The man who plays Bates is on another PBS program I am currently watching, one filmed several years ago.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 21, 2014 5:14 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I really enjoyed it, too. My attention to picky details is not detracting from my enjoyment of the show :) .

I watched a short preview of next week's episode. I got the feeling that it will work out. Anyway, Robert told Bates he thought it would work out, so I'm looking on that as foreshadowing.

Meanwhile, I'm still confused about Michael Gregson. All his lawyers are optimistic about his chances to become a German citizen - really? OK, maybe it's poetic license, maybe Julian Fellowes just doesn't know better (though I've had the impression the show is pretty well researched), or maybe there's something sinister about Gregson. When I saw he was going to Munich I immediately thought Hitler. That's where he started the Nazi party, as I recall. But, I'm a little confused by how others in the series view him. Robert didn't like him until he helped him out with his gambling debts. The aunt in London seems to be a little leery, but maybe it's just Edith's actions she disapproves of. On the whole, he seems to be a likable character, but wanting to divorce his wife for "lunacy" isn't really all that nice. Is she really a lunatic, or is he just claiming that to get rid of her? I watched the old "Upstairs, Downstairs" during the summer, and there was a Nazi spy and a British Nazi in that show. There are a number of parallels between that show and Downton, so I'm wondering if that's where Fellowes is going with that. Edith seems to be the one character who will never be allowed to be happy. I have a feeling Gregson isn't going to make her happy either. She also didn't seem to spend much time reading that document she signed. Probably should have had a lawyer look at it first.

Yeah, I know, I'm going out on a limb.

What other show is "Bates" in?
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 21, 2014 5:38 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Lark Rise to Candleford. I absolutely love that show. They are reruns of a program that aired first in about 2008 until 2011. It is about the small Hamlet of Lark Rise and their relationships with the people in the village of Candleford. Robert plays a stone mason with a large family and he is surprisingly good looking as I don't think he's at all good looking as Bates. But the character he plays is not quite as dour as Bates.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 28, 2014 6:59 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I've started watching Lark Rise to Candleford. I discovered I could watch it with Amazon Prime, and I got that just before Christmas. I'm enjoying it so far.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 28, 2014 9:48 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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It is one of my favorites. I also have Amazon Prime, although my TV wasn't set up to watch it so son bought me a new blueray DVR which he will be setting up soon.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 29, 2014 4:38 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I'm using my Roku. The story line of Lark Rise to Candleford is interesting, but I also enjoy the village scenery - very pretty.

Thanks to Amazon Prime I didn't have to pay shipping for the 4th season of Downton, and it's coming in two days - tomorrow. I guess I'll be watching this coming weekend.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 29, 2014 4:52 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Mr. Selfridge will be returning soon, as well. That is another very good one. Love Amazon Prime.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 29, 2014 4:55 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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Great! When is that very handsome man going to be gracing our TV screens again?
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 29, 2014 9:02 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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My thought exactly. ;)
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 31, 2014 4:39 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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Looks like Mr. Selfridge is coming March 30th, the same day Call the Midwife is returning.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 31, 2014 7:41 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Oh, good. Two great programs to look forward to.
Smiley1965


Posts: 8,221
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 21, 2014 8:57 AM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Had it recorded on my DVR; watched it last night, the Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet; that's the only one I've ever seen. Still as entertaining as ever! Husband even enjoyed the first half, before he fell asleep :)
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 21, 2014 4:55 PM   in response to: Smiley1965 in response to: Smiley1965
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I think that's the only one I've seen, too. It was really well done. I actually didn't like the book as well as the movie. I like to watch filmed versions, even if they stray a bit from the way I interpreted the book. Sometimes it's good to see how someone else interpreted it.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 19, 2014 1:53 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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It has been quite awhile since I saw the first season so I probably forgot about the entail or it didn't mean much to me at the time. I guess I need to watch the first episode again, because I apparently misunderstood about Mary being the actual heir and not just the son's representative.

Wasn't even aware of the difficulty in becoming a German citizen. Perhaps the script writers are just taking poetic license or something?

Naw, nothing is taking away from my enjoyment of the program. :) I guess I don't worry about the details just enjoy the story.
Gramps


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Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 5:01 PM   in response to: Shar M in response to: Shar M
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I would think the writers of Downton Abby would do their research when it comes to German citizenship. I don't have much time to research it, but what I did find out was that German naturalization varied from state to state prior to 1999. Bavaria was quite liberal in its approach, but like I said, I have not gotten much beyond that.
Shar M


Posts: 15,899
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 5:56 PM   in response to: Gramps in response to: Gramps
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I didn't question it, Gramps. I just go along with the program and don't' usually worry about the details.
WELSie

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Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 9:09 PM   in response to: Gramps in response to: Gramps
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Could you supply your source, please? Bavaria tends to be a conservative place. Also, I believe citizenship is a federal matter in Germany.
Gramps


Posts: 14,434
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 10:54 PM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Welsie

I am not going to get in a debate with you. I only gave cursory review of information out on the internet. Bavaria was kingdom separate from Germany until it was dissolved in 1918. Even the Bavarian Constitution of 1946 still states you can have a Bavarian state citizenship separate from German Citizenship (Articles 6 and 7).

My point was that I am sure the writers of Downton Abby researched what it would have taken to get German citizenship in 1920. I simply said it seems different German states had different requirements at the time.
WELSie

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Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 23, 2014 7:37 PM   in response to: Gramps in response to: Gramps
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Gramps wrote:
Welsie

I am not going to get in a debate with you.


Is that what they call a discussion in Washington State? (To paraphrase one of Maggie Smith's lines - see my post above :) )

I didn't post on the things that I have found odd this season to start an argument or debate. If I wanted to do that, I'd post on New & Views, but I'm trying to stay away from debating people on LOL, because life is just too short to waste on arguments with people you don't even know.

Also, I did state that I thought Downton was, on the whole, well-researched.

However, I do know a bit about the German law regarding acquisition of citizenship. During the course of my life I have had reason to look into this law (see this amusing article about what it's like to apply for a visa in Germany https://fellowships.rutgers.edu/our-students/reports-from-the-field/die-auslanderbehorde-or-im-sorry-thats-not-my-problem). So, when I saw that Michael Gregson was trying to obtain German citizenship, I thought, "Wait a minute, that wasn't so easy when I lived there. I wonder what the law was in the 1920's." I did a bit of research and posted the links, and it was actually Bavaria (according to the Georgetown article) that introduced the restrictive jus sanguinis in 1818, a law that limited citizenship to those of German descent. It was made a law for the entire nation in 1913 and was in place until 1999, when the German government passed a somewhat less restrictive law, though it still isn't easy to become a German citizen. So, I'm wondering where Julian Fellowes is going with that. The more I think about it, the more hints there have been that there is something odd about this. Gregson said his lawyers were all optimistic about his chances of becoming a citizen, and Edith said she thought lawyers never said that. I may be reading too much into it, but I think there's something fishy about Gregson.

Tell you what, Gramps, if he turns out to be a really nice guy who makes Edith happy, I personally give you permission to say "I told you so."
Turtletoes2


Posts: 4,269
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 24, 2014 10:47 AM   in response to: WELSie in response to: WELSie
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Ya know. I couldn't figure out that German thing either. While not for the same excellent reasons you have. There were other nations mentioned but he choose a volital place like Germany. Of course the other nations would be involved but at that time, who knew to what degree ?

I fill out a form following each program and I said I was concerned about him for the reasons I gave you.

Something's fishy there.
WELSie

Posts: 684
Re: Downton Abbey
Posted: Jan 24, 2014 6:26 PM   in response to: Turtletoes2 in response to: Turtletoes2
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That's a point - Germany was enduring hyperinflation at the time. Of course, probably he'll be able to exchange his pounds for millions of Marks.