"Upstairs Downstairs" for intellectuals: that's how Downton Abbey has been described in the press. But that doesn't do justice to the power of this series, which is much more than just a guilty pleasure for fans of romantic drama, the British way. Downton Abbey depicts a hundred years of the British aristocracy, as seen through the trials and tribulations of the wealthy Crawley family. A fix for Anglophiles, hopeless romantics, and of course, lovers of guilty pleasures...
Apparently, even the Queen is a fan of Downton Abbey, which is hardly surprising since this is a "very British" and respectable series. This respectability is largely due to screenwriter Julian Fellowes, who gives the English countryside a starring role alongside the Crawley family, injecting a dose of nostalgia for the "Rule Britannia" era. Incidentally, Downton, the Crawley estate, actually exists in real life.
Hugh Bonneville is brilliant as the head of the family, Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, the guardian of the family heritage. But the real star of the series is Maggie Smith, who in her signature phlegmatic style plays the dowager countess Violet Crawley, his lordship’s conservative mother, who steals the show with laconic one-liners like: "At my age one must ration one’s excitements". If this piques your curiosity, be sure to watch the series!
Lady Mary is in mourning and Downton is having problems keeping financially afloat. But it's the roaring twenties, so there's always an excuse for having fun! The young Lady Rose discovers the glamorous jazz clubs of London and falls for a charming black jazz musician. Shirley Maclaine makes an appearance as his lordship's ravishing American mother-in-law.
Eventful, is how the British would describe this season, in which lots of things happen in and around Downton. Cora entertains an admirer, who is the British gentleman incarnate (thanks to actor Richard E. Brant), and Violet reconnects with an old flame: a once dashing, rich Russian prince who is now grey and destitute, but doesn't seem to have forgotten their love affair. And will something finally happen between Mrs. Hughes and the butler Mr. Carson?
The sixth and final season of Downton Abbey started in September 2015. So it won't be long before you can watch it on Netflix, with Proximus TV.