Downton Abbey Open Thread

January 22, 2011 @ 7:56 pm | Filed under:

I forgot to post this after we watched Episode 2. New ep tomorrow night!

Bound to be spoilers in the comments below. Episode 2 certainly gave us lots to talk about…

MONDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: We watched Episode 3 last night so that may be part of the combox discussion—consider yourself spoiler-warned. πŸ™‚

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25 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Charlotte (Matilda) says:

    I just have to say how much I love, love, love Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley)! She and Maggie Smith are cracking me up! I loved her in Wives and Daughters but her role was so brief, again in Pride and Prejudice, she was wonderful but only on screen for a moment. I hope to see more between her and Maggie soon!

  2. MicheleQ says:

    No comment yet but thank you for giving us something new to watch as I see full episodes are available online. I’ll be back!

  3. Nancy Piccione says:

    I am loving this series, but always one episode behind as I watch them sometime during the week on the DVR.

    I too love the fun interchange between Isobel Crawley and Maggie Smith.

    Here’s my question: I know my 13-year-old would love these. (We saw The King’s Speech this weekend with a friend and her mom and we all loved it.)

    But some of the content here is a little iffy–not terrible just, is she ready for this kind of content? I know every family and child is different; Just wondering how others have handled it. It’s one thing to read this, another to see it.

  4. Robin says:

    I’m so glad someone is talking about this in the blogosphere!

    My husband and I just watched episode 3 last night. I enjoy this type of show more than he does, but he has to concede when I say, “if you can find something on American tv that is this good and clean, I’ll watch it!”

    That’s not to say that I’m letting my children watch it, but I find that the more morally difficult plot points are handled well.

    In ep 3, watch for Maggie Smith and her encounter with the swivel chair!

  5. Charlotte (Matilda) says:

    The swivel chair was hysterical!!!

  6. MicheleQ says:

    I’m halfway through episode 2 (played on my computer while doing some busy work in my office) and very much enjoying it. Turns out you can download it from iTunes as well –6 episodes in fact. I am going to be busy but I AM enjoying it.

    I see what you mean about Cora’s accent but yes I think it’s on purpose since she does play an American. It’s representative of the American accent of the early 1900’s I suppose. πŸ˜‰ I cannot, of course, help but think that the time period is that of Charlotte Mason’s later years (odd I know but that’s how my brain works so there it is.) I LOVE Maggie Smith. She’ll always be “Wendy Lady” from Hook to me.

    I’m looking forward to enjoying more this evening while sipping my evening tea. πŸ™‚

  7. Melissa Wiley says:

    ROFL the swivel chair! And in episode 2, the bewildered “whatever is a Week End” line. Oh, she is just delicious.

    “Then I didn’t say it right.” πŸ™‚

    Charlotte, I agree, it’s such fun to watch this push-and-pull between Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith. Such marvelously nuanced performances, both of them.

    Last night (Ep 3) Scott and I were discussing how many plot threads each episode juggles. (Mixed metaphor there but you know what I mean.) Last night felt almost like two separate episodes, I thought. The first one came to a natural conclusion and then there was a whole new round of business with the flower show, and the Edith stuff.

    Oh, Edith, Edith. She’s like if Jan Brady grew up without the healing balm of Mr. Brady’s platitudes.

  8. TEN says:

    I am loving this series. Thanks for the place to comment on it. I missed the swivel chair. I may have to watch it again when its posted online.

    The episode thing is probably because the British version had more episodes. The American version has less episodes that are longer. But, from what I have read, the American version is shorter, meaning things were cut. I think some of the stuff that is cut is covered in Laura Linney’s introduction.

    I have read that they will film a second season and Christmas special.

  9. Melissa Wiley says:

    Aha, we skipped the introduction because it seemed to be giving too much away.

    The swivel chair was in episode 3 near the beginning, when Lady Grantham goes to consult Matthew in his office. (A brilliant maneuver, by the way.)

    I wondered if last night’s was actually two episodes (or parts thereof) stitched together. It really seemed like it had come to a natural stopping point, and suddenly we were off and running again.

  10. Blythe says:

    Much as I, too, loved the swivel chair. She gave up the trophy! Yay for doing the right thing. Yay also for that fantastic “frock” (so unfrockish) and the Socialist chauffeur. Oh, for crying out broken hearts! To enter into service was to be both safe and without a future.

  11. Becky says:

    “Then I didn’t say it right.” Loved it! I looked online and originally the series ran in 7 episodes while we’re seeing it in 4, so our beginning and ending points aren’t quite where the writers intended. We are seeing it all, though. Rumors of 2 hours cut were just rumors.

  12. Ann says:

    Penelope Wilton was brilliant a Harriet Jones, who was an Isobel-type character who eventually became British prime minister on “Doctor Who.” I think that she and Maggie Smith have a fabulous give-and-take that gives us little moments that make us like their characters instead of being irritated by them.

    Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Cora, is of course American who grew up in Illinois and LA. She is a gifted actress, and I am sure her blended accent is deliberate. Cora, as an heiress, would have been sent to exclusive schools and perhaps even to finishing school in Britain, and been taught a more proper way of speaking. Also, after years of living in Britain among the aristocracy, she would unconciously start to adopt the inflections and speech around her.

    But can I just say how much I am enjoying the growing relationship between Bates and Anna? Anna isn’t Rose (Upstairs, Downstairs), yet, but she is fast becoming my favorite character.

  13. Danae says:

    We are LOVING the interplay between Crawley and Lady Grantham…so funny! I loved that Lady Grantham properly diagnosed Mosely’s condition. Score: 1-1. I also love the relationship between Bates and Anna and I am hoping that his secret will not keep them apart. Can’t wait to see episode 4.

  14. Lindsay says:

    I said this at the end of the other thread, but I’ll repeat myself a bit since this is the active thread, if that is okay:)

    I really don’t think I like Mary, and I can’t figure out why Matthew might/does. I also can’t make myself feel bad about her situation.

    It isn’t just that she made that one big mistake, its that she’s so selfish and cruel. And while I don’t mean to give Edith a pass, what her mother said (that hurt her so) was true. She hadn’t been given as much as Mary, and I sort of feel that “to those who have been given much, much is expected.” Mary is intelligent, beautiful, can come across as charming, and yet manages to seek to serve no one but herself.

    So, given that her fate in regards to the estate is a major plot point, I’m still having issues with caring how things come out for her.

    It is all the smaller subplots that are fun and fascinating. The larger, overarching one bores me, and that does seem a flaw, imo.

  15. MicheleQ says:

    I didn’t like Mary in the beginning but something she said when she and that obnoxious fellow (can’t remember his name) were caught in the servants rooms made me believe she has more in her than we have yet to see. She said “I always apologize when I am wrong.” It was a good line because they were wrong and she knew it. I don’t feel bad for her situation so much as I feel bad for the family and her father in particular but I see Mary as troubled and she knows it. She is a product of the society she lives in and while it is no excuse it should also be no surprise. I do feel like she has potential though that could just be me as I routinely annoy my husband with the faith I put in characters which he cannot stand. He hasn’t been watching it with me so I don’t have that perspective. πŸ™‚

  16. Betsey says:

    oh, hilarious…”Oh, Edith, Edith. She’s like if Jan Brady grew up without the healing balm of Mr. Brady’s platitudes.” EXACTLY!

    Does anyone know the name of the old movie set in WWII England where the same flower show scenario happens…older, matriarchal, wealthy aristocrat always wins and an older man what works for one of the families finally wins one after much pressure on the matriarch…etc., etc….

  17. Betsey says:

    Ah ha! Mrs. Miniver…other people are saying the same thing…

  18. Charlotte (Matilda) says:

    Question: On their website they are advertising the unedited UK version on iTunes. So, are the online episodes I’m watching missing sections or is it just different broadcasting standards they are referring to?

  19. Melissa Wiley says:

    I don’t think the US broadcasts are missing anything, but they are edited differently (see comment by TEN above). The UK episodes have different starting and ending points.

  20. Melissa Wiley says:

    Betsey—really interesting about the Miniver crossover. The flower-show storyline must have wormed its way into the writer’s brain at some point. Embarrassing for him.

    But the people criticizing him for getting the salt-for-sugar bit from Little Women—heavens, that’s hardly the only place that little misadventure shows up in fiction (or in real life, for that matter). Doesn’t Anne do the same thing at some point?

  21. Betsey says:

    I thought the same thing…that it was just “in there” somewhere in his head. Who would do something so obvious on purpose? I don’t think the other thing is a big deal.

  22. Robin says:

    I wonder about these episodes being cut, again. In ep 4 (sorry) they keep referring to “Sybil’s party” that happened in London, and yet we never saw it. Hmmm. If it was never really filmed, it’s not very nice to keep talking about it.

  23. MicheleQ says:

    @Robin, I’m watching the UK version and it was the same. The last episode (7) started with them returning from London and talking about Sybil’s launch.

  24. Laura says:

    I’m in UK and came across this blog as I was hunting for reviews for Downton Abbey. I loved the show when it aired in the UK last autumn and I know it’s just finished in the US.

    Anyway, to answer a few questions – the UK version was 7 episodes which lasted about 6 hours of pure tv show (we had commercials when it was shown on ITV, hence the longer running time).

    However, because PBS have their own advert type things and intros and stuff, they weren’t able to fit the whole 6 hours into their 4 part 1hr 1/2 slots. To fit it all in, they would need to have NO credits, ads, intros or anything.

    Anyway, some edits and cuts have been made. Some scenes have been moved around and obviously some episodes squashed together. Most of the cuts/edits are quite small, but there is a sub plot of a snuff box going missing and William’s mother being ill that has been cut. I’d estimate about 30 minutes of actual show has been cut.

    The DVDs are ALL the UK version, so if you buy/rent that, you’ll get the full version. The only version that has been edited is that shown on PBS.

    In the UK version, we don’t see Sybil’s ball either, as the last episode for the UK (number 7) starts with the family returning from London.

    Hope that clears up the confusion.

  25. Karen Edmisten says:

    We watched the third episode last night and will finish it up tonight. Love your line about Edith/Jan Brady. πŸ™‚ We are loving this program. Can’t wait to finish it up but then, unfortunately, we will have finished it up ….