With mysterious music, a gorgeous setting, and tons of drama, the new PBS Masterpiece Classic miniseries Downton Abbey unfolds splendidly. As I watched the first episode, I went sailing back in time to the age of the Titanic--a world full of discovery and tragedy.
This story is about more than heirs and inheritances. It is a story about friendships, loyalty, betrayal, and second chances. It is a story about identity. And I have become invested in the lives of numerous characters, wanting to know what it is they find on this four episode journey.
To be honest, there are some characters I am wary of, and some that have secrets I really didn't want to see spotlighted. Of course, I was frustrated watching the rivalries brewing both upstairs (with the wealthy) and downstairs (with the servants). But what really bothered me in this episode was a rather explicit scene of homosexuality, involving kissing between two males. Instead of just suggesting their feelings, the scene was quite shocking and, I believe, unnecessarily upfront. I'm not sure whether this will be addressed in later episodes, but if anything it does show that homosexuality is not anything new. However, whatever the eventual point of the scene is (or will be), I think it could have been expressed without showing the kiss to the viewers.
*End of Potential Spoiler*
Although I did have my qualms with certain characters, I've already grown fond of others, especially John Bates and Anna. Bates (actor Brendan Coyle) was destined to be a favorite of mine after his brilliant role in North & South, and Anna's compassionate heart towards his character, along with her gentle but strong personality, won me over. I'm still a bit unsure about the Crawleys and the supposed new heir, but I'm eager to learn more about them.
Overall, I have again been thrilled by the grandeur of a Masterpiece Classic miniseries, and I'm looking forward to watching the second episode, which will either bring more secrets to light or plunge me into more dark intrigue (or both!).
*Click HERE to watch the first episode of Downton Abbey on the PBS Masterpiece website for a limited time.*