Monday, January 2, 2012

Masterpiece: Downton Abbey, Season 2

So many wonderful PBS shows on Masterpiece for 2012, starting Sunday night with Downton Abbey, Season 2. I was lucky enough to screen episodes 1-6 this past weekend. What a great way to greet the New Year, don't you think? Downton Abbey will air on your local PBS station, Sundays, starting January 8 and go through February 19.

I enjoyed Downton Abbey's first season, but I found the second season even better, if that's possible. O.K., Downton Abbey revisits many themes we've watched before: the Great War, Upstairs/downstairs relationships, the Spanish Flu, change. It's a soap opera, but such a beautiful and well written soap opera with terrific actors and great cinematography that I only lamented the end to the season. As I said, the acting is superb, the costumes fabulous, the cinematography outstanding. This is classic MASTERPIECE as well as Masterpiece Classic!

The second season of Downton Abbey starts several years after Series One ended. It's about love, intrigue and the trauma of war both in the trenches and back at the estate. And, change is definitely afoot. Add to that a bit of mystery, intrigue and romance. Several new characters fill out the cast with a new beau for Lady Mary and a fiance for Matthew. Below stairs Mr Bates continues his relationship with Anna and tries to deal with Mrs Bates, his wife. Thomas is off to war and much more. The Dowager Countess played by Maggie Smith is one of the best character in my opinion. She has so much to say on so many matters. Above and below stairs there's lots of intrigue. 

Returning cast includes Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Hugh Bonneville, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Siobhan Finneran and many more. Downton Abbey, produced by Carnival Films and copproducted by MASTERPIECE, won 6 Emmys, including Outstanding Miniseries or Movies, plus awards for Supporting Actress Dame Maggie Smith, Writer Julian Fellowes and nominations for Direction, Cinematography, and Costumes.

If you weren't one of the thirteen million MASTERPIECE viewers who watched the first season, you can watch episodes online at PBS HERE. Be sure to tune in Sunday night for Downton Abbey or set your DVR or watch next week on PBS, streaming. Don't miss it!


Janet A said...

So did you Netflix the show from England or what in order to see this season?

Janet Rudolph said...

I have the screeners. Great new season!

The Passing Tramp said...

I wonder whether PBS will cut five to ten minutes from the episodes like the usually do. I probably will get the unedited DVDs in February.

I found the first series highly enjoyable, though I did get a bit tired of the self-centered daughters (not the youngest one, who is a saint, of course). Maggie Smith is awesome though. And all the servants had interesting stories. So glad the unhappy and devious Thomas is returning to cause more trouble.

kathy d. said...

I really enjoyed the first season, of which I saw most.

I just adore Maggie Smith. Every word that she says and how she says it makes me laugh.

A favorite quote, "We can't have the Turkish ambassador assassinated, can we"?

Anne K Albert said...

I loved this series and am looking forward to the next season. I've been a fan of Maggie Smith FOREVER and the rest of the cast is superb.

Can't wait!

Dr Holden said...

I found Series Two of Downton to be less good than the first series. Without giving away any of the plot, I found it more 'mechanical' and just a little more obvious. Having said that, it was still hugely enjoyable, well produced, well-paced etc. The Christmas special, which aired here on Christmas Day, was better than the series.

Janet Rudolph said...

What was the Christmas special?

Susan C Shea said...

Whoa - there's a Special too?

Like other commenters, I love Maggie Smith, who chews up the screen as she did in Gosford Park and is a great satirist as an actor.

The costumes were spectacular in season 1 and I hope army drab and wartime sobriety doesn't drown the late Edwardian couture completely.

Can't wait for Sunday!

Janet Rudolph said...

Costumes are sensational in Season 2

Dr Holden said...

The Christmas special of Downton Abbey aired on ITV1 on the evening of Christmas Day here in the UK and was a 2hr special. It followed on from Series 2. It was, according to the statistics, the most watched programme over the holiday season in the UK.

Janet Rudolph said...

Oh my.. I want to see that! Must be the third disc that PBS is sending to reviewers. Can't wait. Thanks for letting us all know!

France said...

DOWNTON ABBEY, a period drama set before and during WWI, centering around the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants continues to entrance and beguile in the second season. Period dramas are a mainstay of Masterpiece Theater and BBC dramas in general but most are based on classic works of literature rather than originally scripted dramas. The fact that this is originally scripted by Andrew Davies allows Downton Abbey to examine the period and the enormous social changes taking place with a modern sensibility that wows viewers.

The Crawley family has adjusted to the fact that a distant cousin is now the heir to Downton and that he and Lady Mary will not marry. Now the heir is threatened by WWI; Matthew may die as so many young men did in that terrible war. The scheming Thomas is also in the trenches of WWI, but in true Thomas fashion plots to get out and find himself a safe sinecure in which to ride out the war. Lady Mary is seeking a suitable husband as Matthew has chosen elsewhere and Lord Crawley is coping with the fact that his war will be on the homefront. Bateses wife returns with consequences to all memebers of the household both upstairs and down. The younger girls are doing war work. Indeed, the set-up for a marvelous dramatic season is in place.