The Downton Abbey.. a "MUST WATCH" British Masterpiece Classic‏

The Downton Abbey is an ITV drama set in 1912 about the Crawley household. It is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, and Elizabeth McGovern.
The show is the most successful British period drama since Brideshead Revisited.The series - which is regularly watched by around 10 million viewers - follows the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants at the start of the First World War.

Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship's domineering, conservative ma the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwile the butler presides over a staff which serves the family but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants quarters, intriguing amongst themselves.
Highclere Castle (filming location)

Here are five reasons you should catch up with Downton Abbey

The romance:
No British period drama is complete without romances, and Downton Abbey has scores. More often than not, the love stories are painful affairs  so, so many longing looks  whether they are among the aristocrats, the servants or a mingling of the two. One of the most surprising catches is Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens, pictured), a distant cousin to the Earl who becomes heir to the estate. A solicitor with an upper-middle class upbringing, Matthew begins as a bumbling intrusion into everyones life but slowly grows on the family. Especially Lady Mary.

The stoicism:
 Speaking of Mary (pictured), she has tortured looks down to a science. When shes not cold and calculating, shes trying to put up a solid front to hide her conflicting feelings. And isn't that the British way? From the top of the social ladder to the bottom, each Downton dweller knows how to present a brave face when adversity comes calling. Honor and duty aren't simply platitudes for most of them, although some of the servants are sneakier than others. The way of life is presented so genuinely by creator Julian Fellowes, viewers can't help but be charmed as well as moved. His treatment is respectful, not romanticized. Set during World War I, Season Two certainly ups the drama by showing how no estate, much less family, went unscathed during the period. Everyone has to sacrifice, but everyone soldiers on.

The classes:
 The household staff of Downton Abbey is just as fascinating as the noble residents, and Downtown works by weaving the two worlds together to show how each side relies on the other. While Lord Grantham and his family certainly believe in social stations, they are kind toward the service staff, sometimes even going out of their way to help them out. But the classes can clash, especially as society and politics change. As the years pass, the aristocrats see their way of life, if not entirely threatened, at least questioned, even among their own.

The costumes:
 Downtown Abbey is period fashion porn. The attention to detail is stunning, and with the first two seasons set in years 1914 to 1919, the costumes help tell the story of the changing times. The gowns began to be a bit shorter and a bit looser, and with the upcoming Season Three (to debut next fall in the U.K.) to be set in the 1920s, we can expect even more radical change.

Dame Maggie Smith:
 As the Dowager Countess, Lord Grantham's mother, Smith does her best to steal every scene with a wisecrack here and an eye-roll there. (She won an Emmy for Season One.) The Countess is old-fashioned, to be sure, but she's realistic. You can rely on her to provide quips at the dinner table and to meddle in people's affairs. And she's fabulous.
So is Downtown Abbey.

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