Downton Abbey was one of the biggest British television imports of the past decade, and it had millions of younger viewers flocking to PBS for perhaps the first time in their lives. The series ran for six seasons, and chronicled the life and times of the aristocratic Crawley family through the sinking of the Titanic until the mid-1920s. Essentially a period soap opera, the series still found a way to talk about the incredible changes in British society that were taking place at the time.
Now, the residents of Downton Abbey are returning for a big screen reunion, hitting theaters on September 20th. But can Downton newbies make heads or tails of the events of the film? Two of the series’ most prominent actors, Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes) and Jim Carter (Mr. Carson) have made a video recapping the events of the series. This “Cliff’s Notes” version serves as a refresher for longtime Downton fans, and as a primer for first time viewers who just want to see what all the fuss is about.
More than anything, Downton Abbey was a show about how people can choose to overcome rigid social standards, and allow themselves to just be good humans. When the show began, the world its characters inhabited was ruled by a strict class system that minimized the relationships between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots.” As the series progressed, those distinctions began to erode a bit, and the characters began to treat each other as human beings, not just “masters” and “servants.” Hopefully, the big screen continuation can remember these qualities the show had, and not just be overdone examples of the extravagant lifestyle of the Crawley family. And if it is a fitting continuation, hopefully it’s not the last time we get to visit this grand estate.
Downton Abbey opens in theaters everywhere September 20th.
Images: Focus Features