This weekend was a productive one. Besides two ginormous headaches (literally), the house got cleaned, meals got made, some laundry was done, I ironed, read, finished my current chapter, had a meeting AND watched ALL of Downton Abbey. SEVEN HOURS WORTH. Granted, we spread it out over three days, but the girls and I watched it all.
Downton is...well, I can't think of any miniseries I've seen that compares. And it's showing right now on Masterpiece Theatre so I will not spoil anything for those currently watching. I thought about watching it this way but I had heard too many good things about it and Michelle Styles insisted it was wonderful and I trust her judgment. I ordered it in November from PBS and it was delivered this past week. It is wonderful and I'm so glad I was not forced to wait a week between episodes. Sweeping and grand, and yet also warm and intimate. I don't think anyone can resist Bates - Brendan Coyle is not your typical hot hero but I swear that man can do things with his eyes. It is no wonder Anna has a soft spot. We just rewatched Sense and Sensibility recently so the girls were thrilled to see Dan Stevens (even as a blond). Elizabeth McGovern - they loved the Scarlet Pimpernel so were very excited. And of course Maggie Smith. She is a brilliant dowager duchess. Personally I think besides Bates, my favorite character is Sybill.
I was worried about Hugh Bonneville, though. The two roles I remember him playing most are not flattering - the bumbling Bernie in Notting Hill and as the horrid Mr. Grandcourt in Daniel Deronda. After you have seen an actor as a villian it is hard to trust him again (as I experienced after Alan Rickman in Robin Hood. It took me a very long time to warm up to Colonel Brandon). And Grandcourt was a first class bastard. So I wasn't sure if I would like Bonneville in the lead role.
BUT he is brilliant and lovable and funny and humble. Any man who sees himself as curator of an estate and title and not an owner... clearly he loves his wife and his girls and his mother. It is a credit to him as an actor, I think. He just became Lord Crawley and that was it.
There are funny bits and gasp - scandals - and secrets galore. And now that we've seen the ending, I am so relieved to know there is another series coming next year.
Brilliant. Just brilliant.