Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I Thought of It First

I have become a huge fan of the series, Downton Abbey. If you haven't heard of this British historical drama yet, where have you been? (Confession: I didn't jump on the bandwagon until about two weeks ago...). It's won several Emmy Awards and has been scheduled for a third season.

Set in England during the 1910s, it tells of a rich aristocratic family - Lord and Lady Grantham and their three daughters - and the lives of their servants. It has love, deception, drama, comedy, passion, war, politics, and scheming...it's simply brilliant.
But! I thought of the historical soap opera idea FIRST. Ok, I was only 12 or so at the time, but I did write to CBS and suggest they set a soap opera during the American Civil War. I thought it would be a huge hit. They politely wrote me back, thanked me for the idea, and I never heard from them again. Ha!

But I have the last laugh! Now, more than 20 years later, voila! Downton Abbey.

Admittedly, though, it's not an American show, but a British one. But really, the British simply do period dramas much better than we Americans. The writing is superb, the acting wonderfully well-done, and the costumes...oh my, the costumes! Absolutely gorgeous. I have a newfound affinity for this style.
The second season is set during World War I and is just starting here in America on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.

Have you discovered Downton Abbey yet?


  1. I keep meaning to jump on this bandwagon, but I can never figure out when it's on.

    Great idea about the historical soap opera and I can't believe they actually wrote you back.

  2. I hadn't even heard of it until now! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Patti - You can watch the first season at PBS.com for a limited time, I believe. The new season starts Sunday on Masterpiece Theatre on PBS.

    Kelley - I think you'll really enjoy it!

  4. What amazing fashion. It looks like they've gone to great lengths to keep the visuals very authentic to the time period.

  5. I'm unfamiliar with Downtown Abbey but I have also created things long before they were popular, so kudos! And you're so right - the Brits just do history better.

    Although America can claim the horrible slasher flick genre. And that's just as good right? Right?


  6. I haven't heard of this drama but will keep an eye out for it- sounds great. I totally agree the British do amazing dramas, with such grit. I love the fact that the British use actors who have wonky teeth and uneven complexions - in other words they use real people. I also love how British dramas slowly build the plot and develop the characters. Mmmm I'm a huge fan.

  7. Joanne - I read somewhere that this has been the most expensive British drama production ever. They really take great pains to make sure everything is historically accurate.

    Emma - LOL! Yeah, we Americans can lay claim to some pretty crappy cultural stuff! (Then again, the Brits also have the sketch comedy series, "Little Britain", that is just the opposite from Downton Abbey! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

    Clare - I think you'll really enjoy Downton Abbey. I hope you get to watch it!

  8. I hope Netflix will have it eventually! I know I would love it. I totally agree too-the British are masters at period dramas! (Like Foyle's War) Here's hoping this one will continue on into the WWII years:)

    And shame on CBS, Melissa! Their loss!

  9. My sister and I watched it last year when it aired for the first time. And at first I wasn't "taken" with it, but I kept watching and now I'm officially obsessed. I already know most of the timeline for season two. Now I CANNOT wait until this coming Sunday when I will watch the riveting tale of the Crawley family and the servants.

    And yes, I do have plans to recreate some of the wardrobe. Just need to find the right patterns. I already know of one for Mary's twill suit.

  10. Netflix has Downtown Abbey on both DVD and streaming--we just finished watching the 1st season again. Can't wait for the 2nd season to start this Sunday! LOVE this series...Maggie Smith as Dowager Lady Grantham is just delicious, as are the rest of the cast.

  11. No, I haven't discovered Downton Abbey! Well, there you go, you had the cool idea at age 12, way ahead of your time! And you're right about the costumes! Gorgeous!

  12. They stole your idea? Scandalous! ;)

    Downton Abbey is addictive, isn't it?

  13. I just had a friend recommend this series, and I'd already forgotten the name of it, until you mentioned it again! There's nothing like a British period piece with great dialogue, costumes, and of course a bit of snobbery!

  14. I love Downton Abbey and can't wait until the next series arrives on our tv screens.

  15. Valerie - I hope you can watch it all on NetFlix, too! If not, swing by PBS and watch a few episodes now. ;-)

    Sean - I was the same way. I watched the first episode and was just a little "meh" about it, but then I kept watching and couldn't stop!

    Christine - Maggie Smith is AMAZING. "What is a weekend?"

    Lyn - If only they'd listened, right? LOL

    Shirley - Addictive, indeed!

    Margo - There's plenty of snobbery to go around in this one!

    Debs - It's going to be agony to wait for Season 3!


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