Back in 2010 I was enchanted by such a glittering drama. A guilty pleasure indeed, when one can escape the confines of one’s life and escape into a different world where ballgowns were worn and the old system of class reigned supreme.
This drama has been limping on for 5 whole series so far. Its spanned from the years 1911-1924, while the actors remain porcelain skinned and seemingly ageless. Something obviously enthralls people about watching characters change clothes, eat, talk and occasionally brew scandal for 5 whole series. Or maybe a longing for days long since gone?
Having watched the series 5 finale, I must say it was rather good although nothing ‘happened’ during the series which particularly made me want to watch it again. I think originally, riding on the first flush of success, they had originally intended to stop around series 4. It shows.
Personally, I found the historical side of things to be handled quite badly. Ham-fisted in when it suited, at least to ground it in truth while the upperclass gossiping and scheming went on. Most of the characters seemed little more than tropes. Julian Fellowes obviously loved Lady Mary so much because she got the most attention throughout it all. Obviously as a 32-year-old widow with a child, in post-war Britain, she is a much better catch than all the younger wealthier childless women? No? OK, then. Maybe its just me being pedantic.
Most of the characters were just screwed over. They could have done so much with loads of them, when Fellowes ruined perfectly good characters and included archetypes with little or no fleshing out so you end up not liking or caring about those characters who remain.
The last episode of the series had promise, but I really don’t think they can continue the story for too much longer. There will never again be the same reaction to the show as there had been during the deaths of Matthew and Sybil respectively. People really don’t care enough anymore.
Need I also mention the bad murder mystery plot which has been unfolding over series 5?
MY RATING: ** / *****