For the record, I fell in love with Brideshead’s Revisited back when it first debuted in 1982. The accents! The handsome men! The subdued (seeming) scandal. And, for the record, Pride and Prejudice was my favorite read in 8th grade – what with the feisty British version of Laura Ingalls and the perfect use of letter-writing and all.
Therefore, labeling Downton Abbey (which I watched quite happily last night) TV’s reigning aristo-soap and alluding to it as “Brideshead Regurgitated” doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for the drama and melodrama and Upstairs Downstairs class issues.
Similar to Pride and Prejudice, much of the inciting conflict in Season 1 had to do with the inheritance complications that developed when the aristocracy produces no sons. And similar to the original examples of flash fiction like “The Story of an Hour,” Season 3 addresses the issues that occur when women’s fortunes were turned over to their husbands.
Alright, well, that’s stretching it a bit. But watching the fictional account of the social change that has been expanding the world inside and around Downton Abbey since Matthew Crawley and his feisty mother arrived in the first episode has been fun. And I’ll take one well-acted, gorgeously dressed, and produced with polish historical fiction aristo-soap over another faux-competition or kind-of-but-not-really-reality show any day.
Here’s The Atlantic article deriding Downton Abbey that a friend shared on Facebook. Personally, I think it’s a case of someone wanting to be contrary for attention. But I’m jaded that way.