Downton Abbey – Review

Like many others I have been eagerly waiting for the return of Downton Abbey and as I sat in my living room,glued to my TV screen 10 minutes before the first release of it’s trailer the excitement rose to a state that meant every advert that went past that wasn’t Downton became rather frustrating. Yet once my impatience subsided, the classy, dramatic treat that is that first trailer came up. Montages of varying emotions within the Downton universe were accompanied ever so perfectly by the soft, delicate and as always cinematic performance from Lauren Aquilina with her version of ‘Time to say Goodbye’, a trailer, and in my opinion a rather cruel choice of song that brought the realisation back…. this is the last series. It always amazes me watching trailers because one wrong choice of music, of singer, of shot order, of length can change the entire intention and mood of a trailer and of the show, but as ever the Downton trailer was spectacular as would be expected. Those characters we had grown to miss were once again returned to our screens in more dramatic situations, and an overbearing feeling of finality, it wasn’t just any trailer, it was the last one, and you could feel it, it was a trailer that in a short amount of time managed to actually have me near choking up. A truth that felt as ridiculous as it sounds.

Yesterday the first episode aired and it felt like a lovely start to the last series, it allowed us to be welcomed back into the family, into the lives of both upstairs and downstairs and to give us the time to remember everything that had happened over the past 5 years of its existence. As an episode despite blackmail, and the continuation of the Mr Green story it wasn’t a terribly dramatic or continuously thrilling episode … but I’m kind of glad it wasn’t. When it comes to the start of a series finale many shows would do well to have an episode full of drama and suspense and debauchery but with Downton it’s always been about the state of the characters and their relationship to each other, so it only makes sense to re-establish that understanding. I have always believed that Downton is one of the few shows nowadays that is so predominantly successful in it’s writing, many other shows have good writing while they focus so much of their efforts on the cinematography. Whereas Downton Abbey being such a character led show relies on it’s writing to be more than just good, it is a show that has had in its time some exceptional writing, with continually on point character development.

The passing of time, and changing of times is subtly being presented as we begin to see estates sold, and workers let off, and we begin to see changes in the views both of upstairs and downstairs as the mid 20’s begins to take its toll on the running of the house.

Downton has always been funny but as more of a side-note to the story, for the last series it seems the creators are trying harder to include even more humour in the series and it comes across well, rather than desperate. Awkward conversations relating to marriage (no spoilers), the classic back and forth between Violet and Isobel, the cheeky scaremongering between maids and servants and more keep us laughing constantly and annoyingly enough it is bringing us closer to them. Building even a bigger relationship with characters as we prepare for them to be gone from our lives forever is a cruel trick from the creators, but also a clever one because it stops us from getting bored and keeps us watching while also knowing that within a few episodes they will be gone… FOREVER!.

Overall a nice start to the series finale, one I’m sure will have mixed reactions from both fans and critics as personal tastes differ when it comes to the speed of progression in series etc but for this fan I enjoyed it!

4/5

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