Late to the Downton Abbey Party

by Elena on August 27, 2012 in Travel

Downton Abbey, for those that like me, have never seen it, is a Masterpiece Theater series (as in, it is British) about a family that lives on a the (fictional} estate of Downton Abbey near Yorkshire, England. Until just a few weeks ago, I had never seen an episode of this Emmy nominated show.  I had no idea truly what Downton Abbey was about. I had heard about it yes, and seen people tweet about it.  Other than my interest in the area as a travel writer that would love to explore the British countryside…..

(doesn’t it look stunning?)

Downton abbey marathon | Ciao Mom

Bolton Castle Gardens in Yorkshire Dales Photo by Dave Sag

Fountains Abbey, Yorkshire, England, 1971, photo by Phillip Capper

Given all of the great reviews and acclaim we bought season one on DVD in the late spring from Costco intending to watch it….at some point. And yet, there sat the DVD, on our kitchen counter (as in, it never even made it to our television room!) until finally, the DVD made it to our blue ray player late one Saturday evening in August.

What to expect when you watch Downton Abbey

The first thing to note, for newcomers to the show, like I was until just a few weeks ago, is that it is NOT DownTOWN Abbey. Somehow with all of the tweets, facebook posts, and hoopla about the show, I did not pick up on the lack of “w” until half way through the first episode. Yes, admittedly I am a bit slow sometimes.

The second thing that you should know, if you are new to the series, is that it is impossible to watch the show in anything other than a marathon format. As in, four episodes (or five if you start watching earlier than say, 9 pm) per night, two nights each weekend for a total of two weekends. Which in case you are wondering, significantly decreases the amount of sleep you will get on those nights.

I am a downton abbey marathoner | ciao mom

The third thing is well….the show is one of those epic shows. You will have characters that you love, characters that you loathe.  The story lines transport you back to England pre World War I, and you will dream about living in Downton yourself.

The fourth thing is that the Christmas episode at the end of season two, is not just a superfluous extra on the DVD like many of the special features that we (I) usually ignore. You need to watch it…it is a real episode, and a good one at that.

The fifth is that you will be annoyed, like I am, or maybe even revved up to start a new type of revolution against the British about the fact that season three comes out in the UK this FALL.  Season three does not hit the United States however until JANUARY.  As in months from now. Then again, you could go to Canada for the fall and watch it there. (I am seriously considering this, trust me). Or maybe I could take a weekly trip to a different Canadian or UK travel destination and just happen to have to stay in my room when it is on the air?

Yes, what my husband says is true. Had we only watched one episode each night, we could have stretched out our watching until season three starts. And, it is also true that waiting an entire week to watch each episode when season three does start, might be extremely painful. But?

But I wanted to watch. And I will be impatient each week in the winter when season three does air. And I will tweet about it. Maybe even facebook about it.

And I will dream of visiting the rolling hills and the many abbeys in Yorkshire sometime soon.

What about you? Are you a fan of Downton Abbey? Or have you had a similar experience with another series? OR….most importantly, who wants to move to Canada (or better yet, the UK) with me for the fall to watch the season in real time?

Ciao Mom

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Louise August 27, 2012 at 6:05 am

I live in the area where it’s supposed to be set and love Fountains Abbey (one of the photos you posted). I just moved here from New York and it’s every bit as lovely as you think. You need to come here!

angela August 27, 2012 at 8:32 am

I hear really wonderful things about the show, but I haven’t watched it :)

Chrysula August 27, 2012 at 9:34 am

We did Season 1 in 3 nights. Season 2 one week at a time just about killed us :). It’s been decades (DECADES) since I’ve had that much joy and fun from a television show!

Tammy L. August 27, 2012 at 11:28 am

Like you, I am new to Downton Abbey. I have, however, been forcing myself to watch only one or two (okay, sometimes three) episodes a week. I’m trying to make it last!

You are so right about there being characters that I wish ill will upon (as if that will change the plot line!) and others that I just wish things would work out for.

I’ll move to Canada with you to see season three that much sooner!!!!!

Michele August 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I haven’t had the chance to sit down and watch them yet. But I hear it’s an amazing show! Can’t wait to get into it. 😀

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