A Post-Downton Distraction

image from Downton Abbey Season 3 Christmas episode, from The Jane Austen Film Club. SPOILERS IN THE LINK

Who else felt like they were punched in the gut after Sunday’s Downton Abbey? I promise no spoilers here, and ask everyone to please not leave any in the comments. But at this point it’s no secret that the ending left pretty much everyone distraught. I am starting to wish the show ended after three seasons like originally planned instead of continuing on for a fourth. Sigh.

After Downton ended, I noticed a preview for a new British period drama, Mr. Selfridge. I couldn’t really concentrate on it because I was in shock, but yesterday I looked that preview up online. I’m intrigued.

image from Mr. Selfridges, from The Arts Desk. SPOILERS IN THE LINK

Mr. Selfridge is about the founding of the British department store Selfridges during the late Edwardian Era. From the brief glances in the preview, it seems the costuming and hair look pretty good (maybe a little too much noticeable makeup), and it promises to be a gossipy drama.

It also reminded me that I have been meaning to read The Ladies’ Paradise, written by Émile Zola. The novel tells about the innovations of French department stores in the mid-nineteenth century.

Mr. Selfridge premieres in the United States in March on PBS. I’m looking forward to a new period drama to distract me from Downton‘s Season 3 ending. What do you think of this preview?

Downton Abbey Season 3 is Here

Downton Abbey Season 3 promo art from Downton Abbey Addicts

This Sunday, Downton Abbey is finally back with its third season! For those of us in the United States, it’s been more than a year since we’ve had new episodes.

Those lucky ducks in the United Kingdom got their dose of the third season in the fall.

I had hoped to throw a season premiere party, but then I remembered that my excitement level might not be appropriate for hosting people. You can ask my husband — I have a tendency to get extremely animated and respond dramatically to the show’s plot twists and turns.

It doesn’t hurt that season 3 is set during 1920-1921. Oh Downton Abbey, you are striking me with the ’20s right when I’ve never been more interested in them!

Downton Abbey should be on your local PBS channel at 9/8C on Sunday, January 6. Check your local listing to be sure!

Another Round of Upstairs Downstairs

production image from Upstairs Downstairs, Season 2

The second season of the revived Upstairs Downstairs started in the United States on Sunday, and I’m really excited. I enjoyed the first season on Netflix, which was only three episodes long. Luckily this new season is twice as long.

Upstairs Downstairs was originally a British television drama that ran from 1971 to 1975. The original show was set between 1903 to 1930 and told the stories of the residents of 165 Eaton Place in London — the wealthy, aristocratic family upstairs and their servants downstairs. I have never watched the original series but am quite keen to.

When the show was reprised in 2010, the story was picked up in 1936 with a new family moving into 165 Eaton Place. The second season continues in 1938. It’s no Downton Abbey but it does deal with some of the same themes — the modernization of England, world war, breakdown of class rigidity and order.

This new season seems to clip along at a faster pace than the first, and the first episode was much more serious due to the impending world war. A number of characters did not return, and little explanation was given. So the first episode was a bit confusing for me.

If you haven’t watched the first season, you can buy it here. And if you missed Sunday’s first episode, you can catch up on pbs.org.

I’m curious, if you have seen either the first or second seasons, what do you think? (And if you are one of the lucky Brits who have already seen it, please don’t spoil it!)