Monday, December 19, 2011

The Netflix Files: December 12-17

Downton Abbey - Season 1 (2010) created by Julian Fellowes:Though he won an Oscar for his screenplay for Gosford Park (2001), writer Julian Fellowes clearly wasn't done exploring the upstairs/downstairs dynamic he brought so vividly to life almost 10 years ago. Opening in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, Downton Abbey focuses on the Crawley family and their staff. The tragedy at sea has left the family (and therefore, the property of Downton) without a male heir. The search for a husband for eldest daughter Mary (Michelle Dockery), however, is but one of any number of juicy plots, some sustained, others wrapped up in individual episodes. And even though the overwhelming majority of the action takes place inside Downton, the writing and pacing are swift, constantly bringing characters in and out of focus, so as to never become dependent on any specific plot thread to the point of detriment. Performances all around are excellent, though the most fun comes from watching Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton take understated swipes at each other. It's all good fun, some of it verging on overwrought, but at the end of the day, it's an engaging look at the struggles of two very different levels of wealth and power in a time when those two factors meant just about everything.

Grade: B+/A-

No comments: