Review: Downton Abbey: Season 1

Series: Downton Abbey: #1

Somehow I’m always surprised when a highly rated show is actually good. 😄

From a modern, American, middle-class point of view, the idea of the early 1900s British Aristocracy is just so strange. They do next nothing (useful) and have an entire staff to support it. The entire estate could go to a cousin they’d never met and there’s nothing they can do about it … is so strange.

And yet… it’s oddly charming?

The Grantham’s are fascinating. Sybil seems good people, Edith is certainly going to figure out how to come into her own, Mary is spoiled and needlessly cruel–but may be learning. Lord and Lady Grantham are fun, if somewhat alien–and I do love watching Lord Grantham try and completely fail to wrangle three young adult daughters. 😄

The shining jewel of the family Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham. Oh she’s just wonderful.

Among the staff, you have a whole ’nother level of politics. They’re all great and terrible (as they should be) and there are every bit as many problems and politics as there are among the ‘family’. Turns out people are people no matter how much money they have or do not.

Man that’s a crazy amount to fit into seven episodes.

Onward… to war!

Reviews episode by episode. Spoilers within an episode should be minimal, but latter episodes may spoil earlier ones.

Episode 1.1

Oh the politics of a household of servants. Who can do what, who serves who, who knows who from the war… Far more of them than there are of the family, so of course everything is far more complicated.

I really like Elizabeth McGovern’s Lady Grantham. She’s fun. Loved the scene with Dame Maggie Smith.

The dynamics of the sisters is going to be interesting.

Charlie Cox as the Duke was quite the surprise. Hard to see him as anyone but Daredevil.

What’s with Daisy?

Episode 1.2

… I did not at all expect the new heir to be so amusingly anti aristocracy. And so obviously, hilariously pro Mary.

Dowager Countess Grantham: What is a weekend?

Oh my.

The sea monster dialog between Mary and Crawley was delightful.

Also also, Carson’s ‘dark secret’ being in a song and dance show ? Even better.

Episode 1.3

Oh, Gwen’s ‘secret love’. There is so much going on in this show. So many secrets. The contrast between the servant class and the ‘family’ is so fascinating and bizarre. Which I suppose is the point.

Also, Crawley making eyes at Edith now. I expect she approves. But… all of them. It’s amusing.

Also also hooooly crap poor Mary. All the secrets and lies.

Episode 1.4

Lady Grantham: … she could get to know New York.
Dowager Countess Grantham: I don’t things are quite that desperate.

Oh Maggie Smith, you are a delight.

Dowager Countess Grantham: Good heavens, what am I sitting on?
Crawley: A… swivel chair.

Like I said.

Cute to see the staff out and about. Even if Thomas is a rat. I wonder how long that lasts… can’t be the whole show?

Mrs. Patmore dancing around telling Daisy that Thomas is gay is pretty hilarious.

Also also poor Mrs. Hughes. Carson is good people though.

Episode 1.5

Oy Mrs. O’Brien and Thomas. Yay Bates and Anna. Double yay as that goes on, I hope.

Yay Sybil. Hope that goes well but can’t imagine it.

Mary can be so cruel. I hope for her yet though.

So much going on in this show.

The highlight? Lord Grantham ‘yes dear’ing his mother. 😆

Episode 1.6

Oh the politics of politics. It’s fascinating to see basically everyone not hall Lord Grantham.

Lord Grantham: Poor Edith. We never seem to talk about her.

And the politics of the house staff. Oh O’Brien and Thomas… and poor Daisy in the middle of it.

Matthew: If you really like an argument…
Mary: Yes?
Matthew: We should see more of each other.

They’re cute.

Episode 1.7

Something something Archduke…

Wait. What year is it?


So much happening. It’s like it’s the season finale or something.

Oh poor Lady Grantham… O’Brien is terrible, but at least Thomas is probably going?

Yay Anna and Mr. Bates.

Yay Gwen.

All the things!