Masterpiece Classics has started their 40ths year with Downtown Abbey last night.  Dowtown Abbey is set in Edwardian England, pre-WWI.  Within Downton Abbey, many lives and dramas are intermixed: the “upstairs” (the rich and powerful) and the “downstairs” (the servants and poor). 

The first episode starts with the Crawley family learning about the Titanic disaster sinking.  The Crawley heir went down with the Titanic.  This is unfortunate for the Crawley family, as Lady Mary was set to marry Patrick, one of those that sunk with the Titanic.  Not only does this leave Lady Mary’s future in question, but it also leaves the Abbey’s and whole family’s future in question.

At the same time, a new staff member has arrived: John Bates.  John Bates is to be Robert’s, the Earl of Grantham, valet.  However, Mr. Bates has arrived handicaped and has trouble fulfilling his position.  This alone creates talk amongst the “downstairs” people.

A new heir is discovered in Matthew Crawely, a 3rd cousin, who arrives at Downton with  his widowed mother, Isobel Crawely.  It is apparent that Matthew Crawely is automatically different from the rest of the Crawley family: he prefers to dress himself, serve himself his own food and drinks, and wants to continue to work (shocker!!).

My Review:
I am a sucker for period pieces, specifically 17th-20th century pieces.  I fell in love with this series immediately.  Not only is there an All-Star cast (Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Penelope Wilton)
 but the plot grabs your curiosity right away.  There is gossip between the “downstairs” servants and the semi-scandal with the “upstairs” royalty.  There are even some “inter” relations between the 2 classes (scandalous!!). I’m very curious about John Bates, and why the Earl is so adamant about him remaining his valet, despite his handicap (it has to be more than war-connections).  I am also intrigued by a scandalous scene and the potential blackmail by Thomas, the first footman.  There also seems to be a spark between Anna and John Bates….

If you missed the first episode, head on over to Masterpiece Classics and watch it for FREE!
Don’t forget to watch the 2nd episode on 16th January.