Downright Exciting — Not
Downton Abbey started as a drama that provided good solid entertainment that gave us a glimpse into the lives of the Upper Classes of England. Episodes then went on to show us the conflicts that such a family had to endure as the labour Government implemented its new social systems for the poor.
The problem is, and with such a great story and an array of characters that offer the writer such opportunity, it is turning into a melodramatic bucket of slosh. Each episode has wonderful story-lines that seem to be leading somewhere exciting. We would have thought, when Simon Bricker , played by Richard E. Grant started his ungentlemanly move into Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham’s marriage it would have been a prime opportunity to create conflicts that tear at the heart of characters and viewers alike. But unfortunately, the writers decided to do what a writer shouldn’t do, get the character to make the right decision and avoid the ugly heartbreak of torn feelings of lady Grantham between the two men – her husband and Simon Bricker, the art historian ,who had fallen for her. The story line culminates into a bedroom scene where Lord Grantham enters and we witness fisty-cuffs which causes a lot of noise, there is a knock at the door and Cora Crawley, the Governess opens the door while the two gentlemen pause in mid-fight to avoid any suspicion of untoward behaviours in the lady’s bedroom. End of scene. No ending with Simon Bricker admitting that he is an opportunist cad hoping for a bit of fun and leaving us to really hate this character, or Lord Grantham showing Lady Grantham how much she really means to him by horse-whipping the cad out of the house. Simon Bricker simply leaves, quietly.
It’s fiction, we want the conflict of character to be taken to the limits and the writer to avoid the melodramatic swamp of gush that only take us to the point of gasp that will only leave our emotions stunted and wanting for what should really happen. We know what should happen, life has taught us these things and our innate knowledge of story tells us that there should be several outcomes to a scene that will thrill us. But there isn’t, anymore, in Downton Abbey.
The mind boggles when we watch or read something that looks promising and then we witness the writer’s hand being reigned in by some Victorian ghost writer that wishes to avoid anything scandalous in the story.
I was enjoying Downton Abbey, but now it’s getting tedious and boring. I’ll still watch it though, because I’m not quite convinced that the writers and producers have lost the plot totally, but I can watch and eat my ice-cream and stare out the window at the sunset and know that I’m probably not missing an important plot point.