Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

January 6, 2013

01/06/2012 — Lee Ward: To the telly straight away to return to ‘Downton Abbey’

ASHLAND — It’s unlike me, but I’m devoted to the British drama “Downton Abbey.”

I’ve been hooked on British television before, but it’s been more in the vein of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and “Faulty Towers.” 

I’ve also been so enamored of a television show I wouldn’t answer the phone or schedule activities during the time slot, but that kind of respect went to programs like “The X-Files.”

“Downton Abbey” isn’t like any of those. There is no bathroom humor. There are no space aliens. “Downton” tells the story of an aristocratic British family during the early 1900s, showing how historical events affected their lives and holding them out as an example of how life as a lord and lady declined at that time in history.

The first two seasons of the show had aired in the United States before I saw it.

I saw a couple of humorous skits making fun of the show, which piqued my interest.

I also took into account some of the people I know who are “Downton” devotees, viewing them as having fairly dependable opinions about movies and television shows.

When I learned one of those people had the two seasons on DVD and that is the person from whom I mooched a room for three weeks while the plumbing in my house was out of commission, I realized I had the perfect opportunity to try out the show.

After the first episode, I was impressed. After the second one, I couldn’t wait to get to the next one, and the next one.

Yeah, I know it sounds stuffy and high brow, but it’s not. It shows that some of the problems upper-crust people have are the same problems everybody else has. Even when their problems are different, their emotions are the same.

The show also is about the servant class; the family has more servants than members.

The travails of the servants are perhaps more dramatic than those of the family. Their stories will tear out your heart, especially the romance between the loyal servants Anna and Bates.

I’m very much looking forward to the first episode of the third season, which will air tonight. Rumor has it a major character will die this season.

While preparing to write about “Downton Abbey,” I did a little research online. Unfortunately, I mean very unfortunately, I ran across a spoiler and learned that, yes indeed, someone important will die this season. I learned who it will be. I’m devastated, not because of my love for the character as much as because I’ve ruined the surprise for myself, and life, just like television, holds few surprises.

Nevertheless, tonight at 9 I will turn off the telephone and the lights, pop some popcorn and curl up under a quilt and take in every juicy shred of my current broadcast obsession and, like the popcorn, I will savor every kernel.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.

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