If you ask me, I could come up with over twenty reasons to watch Downton Abbey, but as I am pretty sure after a few reasons you will already stop reading and start watching the show, it does not seem necessary. So, I’d like to present to you: Five reasons to watch Downton Abbey, which is a lot more than your average super British historical period drama.
It is unpredictable
One of the things that I absolutely loved about Boardwalk Empire, that coincidentally plays in the same era as Downton Abbey, is that it is always so unpredictable. I would not say Downton Abbey is as surprising as the HBO show about Nucky, because there are still a lot of predictable things (it involves a lot of romance, after all..). But it does seem to have one of the coolest ways of surprising its audience. It is funny to see young love sprout without the characters even knowing about their feelings, but before you know it out of nothing something is happening that completely shakes the family (and you as a watcher) off of cloud nine. Everytime you start being comfortable and everything is back to normal, this series will remind you pretty gruesomely of the unexpected turns life can take.
Especially the Christmas Special at the end of every season, that usually is a bit longer than a normal episode, shocks the hell out of people. Tweets that pop up on those days are like: ‘Downton Abbey you have just ruined my Christmas Day!’ Or: ‘I’m still not over the Downton Christmas episode, so I’m just going to rewatch all the happy episodes and pretend everything is swell.’ Two of my personal favorites are: ‘What is this, is this Game of Freakin’-Thrones!?!?!’ and ‘MY MOM CRIED, MY CAT CRIED, MY DAMN DOG CRIED WHAT THE ****’. The events in the Christmas Special have made a lot of Brits depressed during Christmas, but secretly we loooved the drama.
Because it is British
Speaking of Brits: this show is filmed in Newbury at Highclere Castle. Every intro involves the charming and eloquent Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) walking to the building with his labrador dog, which is extremely British. It is not just the Victorian castle that is working it’s Union Jack-charm here, it’s also the language usage that helps getting the tv show to perfection. The series is a really good example to use when trying to learn English. In The Netherlands we are so used to watching American films and tv shows, that we easily forget the beautiful expressions the British English includes. There is also a lot to learn about British culture in this show, as there are a lot of stiff upper lip moments at the dinner table, especially when the American family of Roberts wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) comes over.
Because the most beautiful tv show kiss is in it
Drama and romance often go hand in hand, and Downton Abbey is no stranger to that. A small spoiler that you can totally see coming from episode 1, is the possible romance between Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens). If you ask me, the kiss between the two of them is one of the most exciting moments I ever got to experience in a tv series. At one point the two have a bit of a quarrel going on, which is classic Mary-Matthew behaviour. Matthew then goes to Lady Mary’s room and they kiss in the doorway, a kiss that is like a ratification of their love. It does not happen often, but I have cried during that moment, and that is something that was going to happen a lot more when watching this show.
Because the Dowager Countess of Grantham is an epic lady
The comic relief in Downton Abbey is funny enough the lady that is the highest ranked, neatest and well brought up person in the family: Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith), aka the Dowager. At the start you might struggle standing her cynical, typical British remarks, but later she will have a lot of adorable moments with another character (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it) and she seems to soften up a bit. Actress Maggie Smith, that you might know as Professor Minerva in Harry Potter, is a first class actress and she portrays Violet exactly so that every episode you are praying for at least one appearance by her. She definitely is one of my favorite characters.
Because the ending is satisfying
I could go on and on about this show, but you should just watch it. Especially because after six seasons the ending is very satisfying. Sure, it is a bit safe and I would never say that the sixth season is the best one, but they really wrap things up pretty well, so you will at least have smile on your face while wiping the tears off your cheeks. And don’t worry love, there will be spin-offs. Possibly one about Violet Crawley in her younger years, which is obviously something that I would not want to miss for the world.
Enjoy, and don’t blame me for all those tissues and all those times you had to reapply your make-up.