Friday, January 11, 2013

Storyteller's Journey

Downton Abbey's Success

Like so many other Downton Abbey fans last Sunday night, I was captivated by the premiere of the third season.
     Why is the British period drama so wildly popular?
     As I watched the tantalizing depiction of the Crawley Family and their servants unfold, I realized it was due to great writing. As with a well-written novel, Downton Abbey includes several important storytelling elements:

Character Development - Each and every member of the Crawley household has a story to tell. (Even the scullery maid - Daisy - has a few secrets of her own!)

Conflict - Aristocrats and servants; the British and the Americans; and World War I; all combine to cause enough trouble in the castle for several seasons to come!

Theme - As I see it, Downton Abbey's theme revolves around a British aristocratic family struggling to retain their long-held traditions and formalities in a rapidly-changing world in the early part of the twentieth century. (The Americans definitely add spice to the mix! Wasn't Shirley MacLaine's performance awesome?)

Dialogue - The witty exchanges between the characters are not only spot-on - they're hilarious! (Maggie Smith was in rare form last Sunday!)

Tension - There is no shortage of tension in the towering castle. Whether it's Lord Grantham losing a fortune, or Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley barely making it to the altar, those are the enticements we tune in for every week!

Setting - The real-life Highclere Castle, with its rich history and refinements, adds to the believability of this epic television show.

(Note: It doesn't hurt to have award-winning actors either!)

When I watch a theatrical production it's difficult not to dissect the performance this way. Bravo, Julian Fellowes and Downton Abbey!

Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? Do you have a favorite character?

16 comments:

  1. I haven't watched this, and I'm beginning to think I'm the last one NOT watching it. You make it sound enticing.

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  2. Hubs and I are hooked. I don't know if I have a favorite character...maybe one per episode. I did have an "eyes welling with tears" moment when Lady Mary walked down the grand staircase at Downton in her wedding gown.

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    1. I know - me too, Loree. The dress was perfect for the period, and so lovely on Lady Mary. Have a good weekend!

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  3. Since I only have netflicks I'm only half way through the second season. Can't wait for it to be available on streaming!

    Only skimmed your post and didn't read the comments in case there were too many spoilers for me.

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    1. Thanks, Sara. The only spot you would need to avoid is "tension." Oh! Good thinking...don't read the comments. ^_^

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  4. Everybody is always talking about this show on Twitter. I think it is time I jump on the band wagon.

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  5. I love how American's are so in love with British period drama. I think it's the only export we have. I love the escapism.

    There's a new drama that's started here called Mr Selfridge. It's set in the Edwardian period, about the man who founded Selfridges department store in London. It looks lush, but I've not had a chase to watch it yet.

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    1. Hey, Debbie - don't sell your beloved U.K. short. The high percentage of wonderful writers from Great Britain is astounding! I'll have to see if I can catch "Mr. Selfridge." Thanks for your comment, dear friend.

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  6. I haven't watched yet. I don't want to give myself another reason to sit in front of the tv. But I'll admit, I'm tempted.

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    1. Oh, come on Ruth. You need to give it a try...straightaway! ^_^ I know what you mean about monitoring your TV time. I limit myself (for the most part) to PBS. Thanks!

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  7. I've not actually seen any Downton Abbey. It's on my list. Great writing really does make a huge difference to any story.

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  8. I haven't watched this show before but it sounds like something I would enjoy!

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    1. Thanks for visiting and following my blog! Downton Abbey is an awesome show, but like I mentioned above...it's addicting! ^_^

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