Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey is described on the PBS Masterpiece Classics website (where Series 1 aired in the United States, albeit in an edited format) as “a spot-on portrait of a vanishing way of life”. This description is, well . . . spot on. A period drama set initially in April 1912, with the sinking of the Titanic kicking off the action and setting the Crawley family into crisis, Downton Abbey is at its heart a study of juxtaposition — focusing as much on the serving staff as it does the family whose kept it for generations.