Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things I Stay Up Too Late Watching: Downton Abbey Edition

All I really wanted to do was watch the next season of Spartacus. But because I don't have the "Every Bloody Movie Channel in the Universe" package with my cable company, I was thwarted and started looking for another series to sink myself into like a hot bubble bath. It's been a rough couple of weeks here in the Snarky household...

I realize that many of my more recent posts could easily be labeled "Shit That's Currently Enabling My Chronic Debilitating Procrastination" - aka "Why I Haven't Written Christmas Thank You Letters." But recovering from the flu necessitates a decent amount of time spent on the couch just...waiting to feel motivated and well enough to have ambitions beyond killing whatever window of time there is between now and when you can reasonably throw in the towel for the day and go to bed.

But for better or for worse, I found I show I adore SO much that I'll stay awake just to watch one more episode. And as we all know, giving up sleep for something is the penultimate seal of approval. Please say hello to my new best friend, Downton Abbey (who I have finally stopped calling "Downtown Abbey").

Downton. Got it.

Until recently, I've only tuned into PBS for Antiques Roadshow. I mean, Masterpiece Theater? Sure, they've dropped the "Theater" and abbreviated it to "Masterpiece" in an effort to ditch some of the stodginess, but the shows they've featured have never really been a draw. Mostly because I have never heard of any of them before now. I suppose there might be some decent content to be found here, but honestly I can't help feeling like I'm back in school and the teacher is wheeling in the cart to screen some awful, boring movie when whatever-comes-on-after-Antiques-Roadshow starts playing. And I don't have Edward sitting next to me in the gloom, shooting sparks of barely-contained sexual energy my way.

Downton Abbey is definitely the only good thing to come out of me being sick last week. I also should come clean and admit that I started watching because I was home alone and don't know how to make our new television go. So I wound up Netflix on the laptop, desperate for something that could make me forget - for a little while - that my head wanted to explode and someone was prodding around behind my left eyeball with an ice-pick (don't miss you, sinus headache that lasted four straight days!). It worked! Aaaand now I am hooked.

Reasons you should watch, despite the fact that every episode starts off with a shot of a dog's butt -

 This guy.

 These three sisters.

Did I mention him? Yes? Okay good. 

The Dowager Countess steals every scene she's in. 

Hating on this guy could be a national pastime.

I don't want to ruin it for anyone by revealing much about the show, but the characters are ridiculously well developed (whether you love them or hate them, you feel strongly about it!), and plot twists are awesome and will leave you scrambling to go from one episode to the next. This is one of the best shows I have ever watched, period.

Season One is still streaming on Netflix (I think it was there and then gone and now it's back again). It might start a little slow, but stick with it and you'll be hooked! You can also watch on the PBS website, although only select episodes and not on an iPad (wtf, Apple? Can you PLEASE allow Flash Player already? thxkbye). But watch out - spoilers abound! Even a quick (almost accidental) scan of the show synopsis when setting the dvr could have a catastrophic impact on suspenseful viewing enjoyment. Trust me, I know. Season two is complete (and may have already aired in England?); but hasn't wrapped up yet here. But if you get impatient, you can find it online and watch the whole thing. YAY instant gratification!

Just don't blame me for those dark circles after you stay up too late watching! Now if you'll excuse me, I hear a British accent calling my name...

P.S. For those of you who like entering sweepstakes because - like me - you always think you might win even though you never do, there is a contest underway! You can win a trip to England and tour the castle featured in the show. But you probably shouldn't bother entering here because I've totally got a lock on this one.


  1. So addicted to this show. Last week's episode had my head spinning there was so much going on, I almost couldn't keep up. Did you want to smack the hell out of Lord Grantham as much as I did? Also, Lady Mary seriously needs to get the stick out of her butt and quick cause girlfriend is trying my patience, no joke.

    By the way, the BBC did a remake of Sherlock Holmes that was shown on Masterpiece last year that are spectacular. They've taken the classic stories and put them in modern times. They did three 90 minute episodes and the next batch are showing now in England but will be shown on PBS in May.

    1. I'm not quite that caught up - watching episode 5 right now! Isn't the finale this Sunday?! SQUEEE!!! Yes I just squeee-ed over a PBS/BBC/Masterpiece period piece... I think I will need to stick my pinkie out as I swig my cocktail lol...

      And I've also heard good things about Sherlock Holmes - will definitely be checking it out when I go into DA withdrawal in the near future...

  2. Yep, series 2 plus a Christmas episode aired on this side of the pond already. I started watching it with my mom, who has a freaking obsessive love of period dramas, and I totally got sucked into it, which kinda surprised me since I'm more of a fantasy/horror kind of girl. I didn't think series 2 was quite as good as series 1, but it was still pretty damn good.

    That dude who plays Thomas used to be in the only Brit soap I ever watch, Coronation Street, in which he wasn't a douche and was majorly hot. Seriously. I don't know if it was the douchiness, the costume or maybe he's put on weight or something, but I didn't find him remotely attractive in DA. Blech.

  3. Does it mean that were 'old' if we love this show? Cause if so, I'm ancient. The acting is BRILLIANT! And Maggie Smith, amazeballs. She rocks! I want to be her when I grow up!

  4. I LOVE this show. It is my life now. ;-) I started watching on PBS with the hubs who faithfully watches Masterpiece every Sunday night...the only reason I decided to watch it was because Maggie Smith was in it and I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Also, I love Julien Fellowes and Gosford Park.

    I am so glad others are watching this show. It is really deserving of all the praise. Plus, you know it has to be good (or popular) when SNL spoofs it. I apologize for the crappy quality, but I had to go to YouTube be/c hulu didn't have the clip.

    This clip kills me....enjoy!

  5. Dame Maggie rules! I have not kept up with the Harry Potter movies because I haven't kept up with the books and I want to do one before the other, but I did recognize her - she's brilliant in this show! I almost included a youtube clip showing some of her best moments, but I really didn't want to spoil anything and they're better in context anyway.

  6. The matriarchs of my family were all into this before I was and they were really pushing me to get into it. They really like most of the Masterpiece shows and inspite of my devotion to British comedies I don't usually care for Masterpiece at all. So I blew them off up until a week ago, literally. Then I saw Daniel Radcliffe and Kelly Ripa talking about it on her morning show.....

    Sidebar: if there is something to be all geeky about, I'm probably really into it, Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Star Wars, Chronicles of Narnia (the books not the movies, don't get me started) I'm a total geek.

    Anyway, so once Harry Potter mentioned it I had to see it. One week later it's on my addiction roster. I can't believe my grandmother was ahead of me on this one, score one for Memaw.

    I LOVE Maggie Smith, she is so great and always manages to make the most dull characters just wonderfully snarky which as you all know is an exceptionally endearing quality in our circle.

  7. Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Duchess is just perfection. I love her very tart observations and manuverings. They just announced that for season 3, Lady Cora's mother is going to be played by Shirley McClaine. I'm squeeing in my seat just imagining those two going head to head.

    As for the Sherlock Holmes series, two words, Benedict Cumberbatch - I kid you not that is the name of the actor playing Sherlock. He is really great in the part. Martin Freeman plays Watson (he's currently filming the Hobbit - he's Bilbo Baggins) and he's a joy to watch interacting with Holmes. Great casting all around.

  8. Oh no...I don't need another distraction...I really don't badly...I shouldn't even had read this post!!!

  9. Oh dear :-( Am I really the only Brit not to get caught up in this whole 'period piece' thing?

    To be honest, I don't see the appeal--despite the pics you've posted here, Snarky. I just don't see it....

    Actually, scratch that. There is ONE period drama I'm looking forward to seeing in the near future, and I promise to share my experience with you after I've seen Bel Ami on 9 March ;-)

    CC x

  10. Yay Snarky! So much more fun to watch when you know others you know are watching too.
    Am I the only one old enough to like Bates?

    Scared to see that Season 3 will add the new character of Elizabeth "Countess" McGovern's mother...played by Shirley McLaine. She's meant to be a foil for Maggie Smith, but I am so afraid that Shirley will just be a giant load of ham.

  11. I'm pretty sure ML will kill me if I get another distraction but... I'm VERY tempted. VERY.

  12. Also, I feel I am remiss in not giving a nod to Bates. I LOVE Mr. Bates!

  13. OMG I am SO addicted to this show! I just finished episode 1 of season 2 and it's killing me that I can't waste the whole day watching the rest!!

    LOVE: Mr. Carson and Mr. Bates and Lady Mary and Lady Sybill.... oh, and the Dowager Countess. Shit, I love lots of them.

    HATE: Thomas and that horrid O'Brien. And Lady Edith too -- I really want to punch her in her face.

    And I thought it was Downtown Abbey at first too. Duh.


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