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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Downton Abbey

I watched Downton Abbey - which I invariably referred to as "Downtown Abbey" from day 1 - last year and I seemed to remember enjoying myself. When I heard the new episodes were coming, I did not seem to thrilled for some reason.

I watched it Sunday night, staying up well beyond my usual bed time. It was awful. There is no depth to it. It is a shallow soap opera that has no interesting characters to hang one's attention on - save the Butler and the Housekeeper - but surely dramatic science has progressed sufficiently since Upstairs, Downstairs that we could have some other interesting people. Come to think of it, there were plenty of three dimensional characters in U,D.
Well, there are none in DA.

Why would a daughter who has just learned to drive an autocar fling herself into a tractor on a neighboring farm? Is a tractor no more than a motorcar running on arable land? To top it off, why would you have a fling with a gap-toothed yokel, who, by the end of a day's work, must has smelled rather ripe, and had no particular good looks?
The father wants to go to war, gets an honorary appointment and is disappointed he cannot do his bit, has some champagne and port with some other old soldiers and that's it for that particular story line.
Need some gay characters to bounce off each other? One must be reading Classics at Oxford, and the other must be in service. Tired of that? Have the University bloke kill himself.

Trite, trite, trite. Maggie Smith cannot possibly have enough funny faces and grimaces in her reptetoire to save us from the tedium.


Baysage said...

Guess that's what makes horse races. Susan and I rather liked it, and we'll be around for future episodes. Maybe they just got you on a bad evening.

What TV do you like?

Montag said...

Even my parallel universe Susan found the tractor episode a little odd, but you right about horses and equestrian contests.

The one part of the show which I liked was the daughter who learned some cooking and became a nurse; I found that character to be on the way to becoming three dimensional and compelling.

What TV do I like in the present day?
I like "House"... for obvious reasons, I guess. I was not actually totally aware of House until last October... about the last week of October 2011, and I became fascinated.
Not everything about it, just certain episodes that are very good.

I used to watch SciFi channel until they changed their business model to "Big Time Suck" and their name to SyFy.

Turner Classic Films doesn't count, because it is all old films.

I dodge most News on TV, since I cannot stand that "in your face headlines and we have no real information!" attitude they have.

I like Andy Cohen, but I dislike his shows... thank goodness, otherwise I would be spending hours looking at women who appear to be trying to closely define the term "floozie".

We have been toying with the notion of going down to the bare-bones subscription and joining Netflix

Baysage said...

Can you not describe any human drama portrayed by the media as a "soap opera"? Has this term outlived its usefulness?

Susan and I gave up on "House" because we could not stand the SOB's crudity any longer. It outweighed his medicinal gifts.

Montag said...

First, House: I know exactly what you mean, but I had the "advantage" of watching the series out of order, and things I did not like, I could just ignore, turn off, or not record.
So I was able to pick out certain episodes which had story lines and character depictions and outrageous humor that I considered superior...
but this was all within the individual episodes, and the over-all story line from season premiere to last show I can ignore if I wish.

House requires an enormous amount of willing suspension of disbelief.

Second, soap opera: I think the term is still good for describing a drama that (1) has a more or less set cast of characters, and (2) is recurring on a regular basis, and (3) has no pretensions to be any higher type of art (whatever that may be!).