Ever since the end of season one on DVD I have been waiting for the release of season 2 of Downton Abbey. I think every review I read was more negative than positive so I was prepared to be disappointed. Sometimes I regretted having preordered season 2. Then on Thursday evening late season 2 arrived. Now, less than 48 hours later, I am longing for season 3.
I enjoyed the development of the story lines carried over from season one. Trying to tell a story with so many characters is a daunting task. And most probably terribly expensive. I have always regretted only one season of Berkeley Square, a series about the same time in history, with just as huge a cast of characters. Maybe the huge success of Downton Abbey will revive Berkeley Square, just as the Abbey has awakened nostalgia for all things Edwardian, including clothing styles.
I appreciated the softening of some characters and the hardening of others. For me, the process of personal change and cultural change is most interesting. Sybil's enthusiasm, impulsivity, is tempered by hard work over time, and leads her to strong convictions based on her own experience. Edith is rewarded from time to time for her devotion to others, but one still wonders why she is so pliable, so willing to seek a place to belong. Are there people who come into the world incomplete unless they have a place to lavish their love? And Mary; she is strong, aware of her peers and what is expected of her, but even when she takes the road always travelled, she does it in her own way.
In my opinion, the acting during season 2 is better than season one. Yes, there are a couple of places where reality leaves and people sing like in old time movies, but this is a movie of a bye gone era so I think it has the right to not only have historical content but historical style. And although one could say that Downton Abbey is no place to learn history, even the Bible says to tickle the baby's palate with honey to get him or her to eat solid food.