Is One Permitted to Enjoy Downton Abbey?

I suppose it was inevitable that there should be a backlash against poor Downton Abbey. People who only glimpse the show assume it’s about the posturings of the upper class, in early 20th century Britain. To some extent, yes. But it’s at least as much about the servants, and middle class people; it’s about everyone around Downton Abbey. There were many scenes set in a prison. A recognition of social upset, even revolution, limns the drama. And being privileged is no security against tragedy…The stories are remarkably predictable. They are soap opera stories writ large. They are rather like carvings in a fine relief, on some old manor–of course they don’t surprise, or not much. One enjoys the costumes, the setting, the operatic formality, the distinct characters. Perhaps it’s the old school Wodehouse/Waugh aficionado in me. The secret Anglophile. But I do enjoy the show enormously. Is that permitted? Oh I say–I do hope so.


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