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I'm not a romantic, but even I concede that the heart does not solely exist for the purpose of pumping blood

Review of Downton Abbey
by Aaron Chuah
Posted on August 6th, 2020
Positive 9
Overall Rating

At the height of the glory of the British Empire, there was a family -- and though fictitious, this series conveys the pulse of the pinnacle of anglophilic "civilisation" back at the turn of the last century

Story: 9

A charming and eye-opening view at the decline of the gentry

Downton Abbey follows the household of an "heirless" nobleman at the turn of the 20th century, the in-house jostlings for position and the first-world-problems of the genteel. What struck me was the sheer number of servants and help required to "maintain" a manor, which made me wonder at the lives influenced by each of the parcels of land across England, and the extent of care proffered by the Lords and Ladies of the time to their indispensable help.

Visuals: 8

Beautiful views of Downton Abbey and surrounds

I especially enjoyed (strangely) the closeups of the silverware and numerous bells of all shapes and sizes -- the wigs were hilarious too. The undulating greens of the countryside are serenely calming. Throughout its 6 seasons, the viewer is transported to a different age and place, seamlessly and credibly.

Sound: 8

Crystal clear decanters and banter

Every nuance of the exquisitely-rendered British accents come across with perfect delivery and pacing, from the silent singular raised eyebrow, to the barely perceptible heaving sighs, and the acerbic squawking of gossipy ladies.

Character: 10

The irrevocable Dowager Countess carries the show (& her family)

One might flatly surmise that we "endured" six seasons of this series to witness in passing the impeccable delivery of Maggie Smith's brilliantly crafted and paced lines -- pursed lips, lilt, tilt and all. The rest of the cast performed wonderfully too, and my next favourite characters were in no particular order: dignified Carson, sassy Sybil, snippy Patmore, bumbling Molesley, and suitably-aloof Mary.

Enjoyment: 10

The singular reason for signing up for Amazon prime

Absolutely enjoyable, for a taste of Britishness that would be near impossible to replicate anywhere and anytime else. A panacea for those who cherish it, but possibly too old-worldish for others to appreciate. Nonetheless, this series is a landmark in modern period-drama production, and I can only wish that the scriptwriters go on to produce many other  works like this.

Aaron Chuah

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