‘Downton’ fanatic

Posted January 22, 2014 at 11:51 am

BABBLING BROOKS column–Express Editor Kim Brooks

It’s Hollywood award season! So far the People’s Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice Awards and SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) Awards have all been broadcast. After you see one award, basically you’ve seen them all.

There is always a common theme. Once the actors and actresses win at one award show, the rest are fairly predictable.

For instance, during the Critic’s Choice Awards, Best Picture went to “12 Years a Slave,” Best Actor went to Matthew McConaughey, Best Actress went to Cate Blanchett and Best Ensemble went to the cast of “American Hustle.” The exact same awards were handed out to these top few at both the SAGs and Golden Globes. Imagine that! (There’s a bit of sarcasm there.)

With the Oscars/Academy Awards over a month out, who wants to place bets on the biggest awards of the night? My hand is on “12 Years a Slave,” McConaughey, Blanchett and “American Hustle!”

One show that has not received much love at from the award elite is “Downton Abbey.” However, longtime actress Dame Maggie Smith, who portrays the Dowager Countess, has garnered many awards for her role.

“Downton Abbey” is currently in its fourth season. It’s season premiere just a few weeks ago racked in the record number of viewers for a PBS show ever! How is still lagging behind when it comes to awards?

After its first season, “Modern Family” won big during award season, and continues to do big. Yet, “Downton Abbey” keeps chugging along…

This show is very addictive. I was not an immediate fan myself, like many diehard Downton fans. Before the third season ended, I saw the Monticello library had the first two seasons in its DVD collection. So, I checked out the first season. I was hooked!

I couldn’t wait to watch the second season, but unfortunately had to wait until it was returned to the library. Then the library bought the third season. You can tell this show is quite popular because it was hard to get my hands on the other DVDs. I guess I wasn’t the only late Downton bloomer.

I finished the first three seasons mid-summer last year, awaiting season four. But, just my luck, I was going to have to wait several months till January!

All summer and fall I tried catching updates of the show online, tidbits and sneak peaks of the new season. Unlike some, I don’t mind spoiling a show before I get the chance to see it.

The all-British cast, minus a few actors like Elizabeth McGovern and Shirley MacLaine, is one of PBS’ all-time hit shows, minus long-time running children’s variety show “Sesame Street.” So many viewers anxiously await the Sunday evening broadcast.

If you’re a huge fan, you can always download the BBC episodes. Those always air months in advance of the PBS episodes, sometimes spoiling it for us Americans who have to wait a few months.

The show features the pampered Crawley family, known for their royal ways. You also have the downstairs cast, the male and female servants to the Crawleys. Life is artfully depicted both upstairs and downstairs, showing the break in classes from owners to servants and those in-between. Yet, despite the class break-up, it’s great to see that all those who live within Downton care for one another, no matter life’s stature.

I’ve grown addicted to “Downton Abbey” so much so that I’ve started reading books that the TV show was inspired by and vice versa. The lives of British royalty and servitude is actually quite fascinating.

If you want to join the Downton bandwagon, I encourage you to check out the first three seasons at the library fast, before season four comes to an end.