We Could Always Start with Lady Grantham and Mrs CrawleySo says Lady Grantham in the, I suspect will be wonderful, ITV series "Downton Abbey", which after a little more than one episode, I would characterize as 'Mad Men' meets 'Upstairs, Downstairs'. From the latter we get both worlds colliding in 1912, and from the former we get some interesting mix of history, and I sense some of the lovely care Matthew Weiner puts into his series.
The cast is amazing. Hugh Bonneville gets to be a sort of a lead but this is a real ensemble at work. The subject line is Maggie Smith to Penelope Wilton, and the line is dismissive, two of my favorite British actresses since the year I lived in England (ahh those Norman Conquests). And, to my utter astonishment, Elizabeth McGovern! I have asked myself where she went after her wonderful 'Ragtime' performance, and I learn from IMDB that she moved to England about 20 years ago. It is SO nice to have her back on my (computer) screen. (We don't get ITV here.) And she gets my favorite line of the first episode. Her husband (who married her for her money) is telling her why he has rejected an apparent suitor for his daughter, and asks "Do you think she would have been happy with a fortune hunter?" His wife (played by McGovern) responds "Might have been. I was". Her delivery is so perflectly flat that it tells the viewer a ton about their relationship and how great it is.
There is so much more to say about how fine their first episode is; I would not quite yet rank it with 'Mad Men' for care and precision but it is very close.