Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Downton Abbey

No TV series has fascinated me as much as Downtown Abbey. The setting, the plot, the characters, the language, the costume design are so seamlessly woven together into the story it captures my imagination. It is a story of nobility, romance and coming of age.

In the 1920s, the world has just started to stir from the traditional notions of women's roles in the society, the acceptable fashion of the times. In the series, it is very evident that in spite of being old world-- principle, integrity and compassion were time-honored traditions that would have been handy in today's progressive world, the series presents a springboard of how individual and collective character shapes the culture of the times.

In one of the episodes, the plot revolved around the resolution of the conflict between industrialization and people's welfare. Lord Crawley cannot be prevailed upon using new technology if it means that people would lose their livelihood. It spoke volume of what progress has brought us. Yes, we are modern (in thoughts, ideas, culture) but then our side of humanity diminishes whenever we lose sight of the balance between progress and human development. 
The Crawley ladies. Non-working (it was unthinkable at the time) but they're well-educated. So well-read!

I am enamored with the way women dressed at the time. They certainly dress for the occasion. And the concept of less is more is consistently portrayed in the lives of the leading characters. No make-up, just appropriate jewellery. 

There were two weddings in the past season. One, of Mary Crawley and then of her sister, Edith (although she was jilted at the altar). What amazed me was their concept of a grand wedding celebration. On both occasions, the series showed considerable restraint in decor. There was an economy of ostentatious display of wealth. These are nearly absent in today's world. 

Today, a wedding has turned into an arena to show off money. Which makes me sad. The reason for the celebration kind of gets lost in the fireworks and production numbers.

It's nice to be taken back in time and learn from the lessons of the past. Catch Downton Abbey for old world romance, love, family and the wonderful world of a bygone era.

Can't wait for the season premier of season 4 in February. Until then, you've got ample time to watch all three seasons.


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