A Letter Regarding Downton Abbey

Dear Julian Fellowes,

I have watched Downton Abbey since its inception.  And for many reasons.  One being that I was a huge fan of yours since the days of Gosford Park.  As you are extremely aware, the movie was directed by Robert Altman, one of a handful of directors that are in the upper echelon of greatness.  It is documented that he also assisted in the writing.  But I imagine that you had the most influence in that respect.  After all, you won an Oscar for Best Screenplay for that particular film. To me, the movie was a lighthearted caper and I enjoyed it immensely.  Gosford Park provided the atmosphere that has won several million people over to Downton Abbey.  

Like Gosford Park, part of Downton’s charm has to do with the fact that it is a period piece.  The early 1900’s have become something of a yearning point for us.  With you as our eyes, that particular era beckons us back to grand mansions, luxury, and privileged society.  But as you know Mr. Fellowes, most were not privileged nor lucky enough to be born into that sort of thing as evidenced through the eyes of the wonderful assortment of characters involved in serving the Grantham family 24/7.  Also to be fair, let it be said that the privileged  addressed in the series are not always lucky. 

I easily fell in love with the fashion, the beautiful surroundings at Downton, and the people.  Carson being my favorite. Isobel Crawley not too far behind.  But I also love Mary, Sybil, and of course, Matthew.  Then there’s Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess. I googled the Dowager and her large supply of funny, wise, and thought provoking quotes on the show.  There are at least 100 sites dedicated to her sayings.  You should be proud.

I cried when William died.  I sobbed incoherently when Sybil died.  I fell on the floor kicking and screaming (not really but it was so sad) when Matthew died.  But I think my favorite scenes almost always involve Mr. Bates and Anna. Their chemistry lights up the screen.

So please Mr. Fellowes.  Do not jump the shark with Downton Abbey.  I am putting my trust in you.  Along with millions of other viewers.  We do understand that story-lines get harder and harder to come by.  However, we also know that with your creativity and knowledge of bygone days you give us interesting characters and ingenious plots with every episode.

But there can come a time when the story threads get convoluted. The original characters get stale so new ones are brought in.  But the new additions somehow look a little tarnished next to the fine silver that intrigued us originally. Relationships begin to resemble those on afternoon soap operas in which they marry and remarry each other and have children you never see again.

Gathering up the Grantham family and giving them new life each season has to be exhausting but at the same time exhilarating.  You literally have their lives in your hands. I see you are exploring many new roads that their motor carriages can travel. The opportunity for new themes is there what with all the changes England and the rest of the world go through after the first World War.  I have much faith in you Mr. Fellowes.  Apparently a gazillion other people do too.  So make us proud.  And, don’t go killing anyone else off.  At least this year.

An avid fan.

– So, what do you think fellow DA fans?  What would you like to happen on the series this year?  Who is your favorite character/  Are you as much a fan now as you were when you first started watching it?  Or are you a DA virgin? And if so, what made you decide to start watching?

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