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Downton Abbey - (S01E01)

Romance . Drama

April 1912:- The heir to the title of Earl of Grantham,long time inhabitants of Downton Abbey,perishes on the 'Titanic'. Robert,the benevolent current earl,owes his wealth to his American wife Cora but they have only three daughters,who cannot inherit by law,so another heir must be found by marrying off Mary,the eldest girl. The Duke of Crowborough is a possibility but he is a closet gay who only has eyes for Thomas,the handsome but obnoxious footman,and soon departs. Robert's mother,the dowager,and Cora decide that the next best candidate is Matthew Crawley,a distant cousin,but Cora knows that the spirited Mary will not be happy with their choice. Downstairs there is also unrest as Thomas is passed over for promotion to valet in favour of Robert's batman from the Boer War,John Bates,who now limps due to a war wound. Along with Cora's maid Miss O'Brien, Thomas schemes to discredit Bates in the eyes of butler Carson and forces his resignation but Robert intervenes and keeps him on.Thomas vents his anger on second footman William but he has an ally in the sensible housekeeper Mrs. Hughes.

Episode Title: Episode 1
Airs: 2010-09-26 at 09:00 pm
  • Mary McNamara

    Downton Abbey, which premieres Sunday, is this generation's "Upstairs, Downstairs," both in theme--the daily dramas of a titled British family and their many servants--and in stature.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    The next great "Masterpiece Theater" series has arrived.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Fellowes does know how to write some tasty dialogue, especially for Maggie Smith....The other performances are equally winning, but beyond that, you can't help feeling these actors are having a jolly good time with all this overblown fluff. And so will you.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Watching Downton Abbey is like curling up with a really satisfying book, and I can't think of a better way to get through one of the crueler months of winter. This is one of those shows that after finishing it, I immediately began to envy those who had yet to experience the pleasure.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    There are worse sins than looking like a Jane Austen movie. In fact, with PBS' latest British hit import, the unfailingly entertaining Downton Abbey, it might even be a blessing.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    There is no mystery about the potency of this series, slathered in wit, powered by storytelling of a high order.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    From virtually any angle, though, Downton Abbey is an almost peerless piece of real estate.

    Variety Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    This extraordinary upstairs-downstairs drama, written by Oscar-winning "Gosford Park" screenwriter Julian Fellowes, is a dramatic, intelligent, soapy, comic, and wise piece of work, one that explores social shifts on the eve of World War I while delivering a remarkably engaging cast of characters.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    As a new year begins, viewers will be hard-pressed to find a more sumptuous, engaging drama than the "Masterpiece Classic" miniseries Downton Abbey.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    Snobs may sneer that the series could more accurately be called "Remains of the Gosford/Upstairs/Brideshead Revisited Park." But there are times when a sincere imitation is not only better than nothing--it's nearly as good.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Swanson

    For every Mrs. Patmore, the cook who wants nothing more than to stay in service the remainder of her life, there is a housemaid such as Gwen (Rose Leslie), who dreams of becoming a secretary in a modern office. It's these dichotomies, and the way they exist within both the Abbey itself (half the rooms have electricity and half don't) and its multifaceted inhabitants that make Downton Abbey not only the best soap opera currently on television, but one of the most relevant as well.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Jeanne Jakle

    There are plenty of jolts throughout: bigotry, rape, a possible murder. However, as is normally the case with Downton, it's the quieter moments that shine brightest.

    San Antonio Express-News Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    If some plot elements in the third season seemed forced (and they did), then Fellowes seems to have completely regained his balance in the fourth season. And that balance means expertly bouncing between the upstairs and downstairs worlds of Downton, letting the plot turns flow naturally, carrying us along joyously for the posh ride.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • June Thomas

    Downton Abbey manages to be reassuringly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh.

    Slate Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    It's quibbling to say that it feels at times as if Downton Abbey had been custom-designed for those of us for whom period romance is mother's milk, studded as it is with plucky heroines, accidental heirs and scheming dowagers, with just enough history thrown in to make the melodrama seem highbrow. It's not, really, though. It's simply delicious fun.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Now, I wouldn't say I loved it. Parts of it I didn't even like. I became quite engaged with what was going on downstairs with the servants, while I found virtually everything having to do with the Granthams (at least the parts unrelated to how they dealt with the staff) a chore to get through.

    Hitfix Full Review
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  • class differences

  • kitchen

  • family act

  • location in title

  • husband wife relationship

  • american

  • mother daughter relationship

  • father daughter relationship

  • walking stick

  • feminist

  • sister sister relationship

  • sibling rivalry

  • homosexual

  • gay

  • smoking

  • reform

  • earl

  • fictional town

  • employer employee relationship

  • boer war veteran

  • butler

  • upstairs downstairs

  • costume drama

  • aristocrat

  • period drama

  • yorkshire

  • servant

  • england

  • country estate

  • country house

  • class system

  • high society

  • aristocracy

  • manor

  • housekeeper

  • cook

  • domestic servant

  • ensemble cast

  • snobbery

  • chambermaid

  • cane

  • chauffeur

  • countryside

  • biracial

  • estate

  • valet

  • maid