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Thread: Masterpiece Theater shows (PBS)

  1. #161
    FORT Regular ladygreco's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    I thought the editing in the finale was choppy too. I just ordered the UK versions of both seasons from Amazon and am looking forward to watching them again without the PBS editing.

  2. #162
    FORT Fogey Babbred's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Finally able to watch it today. What is it about Sunday nights? I had 4 shows recording on the DVR. I'm glad that Downton and another one of my shows is taking a hiatus now, so I can take a rest.

    Geesh, you could see Bates's guilty verdict coming from a mile away, because that was the lousiest legal defense I've ever seen. Where to begin? When the lawyer was talking to them at Downton. "Why have we been called by the prosecution?" "I don't know." Didn't they have depositions back then? Sharing of evidence between prosecutor and defense? And where was the cross-examination by the defense of O'Brien and Mrs. Hughes? At one point, didn't even the prosecutor say, "I'm amazed that the defense didn't bring this out." Yes, it was something negative against Bates, but that’s a fundamental part of lawyering: bring out damaging information about your client on direct examination so you can explain it away, and not give the opposition any ammunition for cross-examination. That's pretty darn sad when the opposition's lawyer is amazed at the incompetence of your lawyer.

    It was also interesting to see the plotline about Robert's sister and the fortune hunter. Although I agree that he needed to tell the truth, I also thought it was just a tad bit hypocritical of Violet and Robert to frown upon the whole affair. The only reason that Robert married Cora was for her money. They may have developed some affection afterwards, but Robert was basically a fortune hunter himself. He was hardly alone, though. Edith Wharton, the great chronicler of the Gilded Age in America, wrote a novel called The Buccaneers about the flood of American heiresses who married British noblemen—exchanging their money for a title. PBS even made an adaptation of it several years ago.

    Did anybody else find Matthew's martyred air throughout this episode just a tad bit irritating? I wanted to keep yelling, "Just get on with it, you silly git, and propose!"

    That ending with Robert's sister catching her lover with the maid just didn't feel right to me. Why in the world would he be fooling around with her maid when he was about to land the big prize? At the very least, it why do it there at Downton when there was such a high likelihood of getting caught? It just felt too contrived and awkward for me. Why did everybody else at Downton get to be happy but not her? I just didn’t get the point of that whole story.

    Ok, so much for the nitpicks. Now for the good parts...

    YORK! That’s where my husband and I lived! It’s a shame that they didn’t show any of the actual city, because it’s a very old, very lovely one. I remember it very fondly.

    Some of the most beautiful scenes of the entire show were in this episode. In order of my favorites:

    3. The scene with Daisy and William’s father. It almost made me cry. And notice how he called his dead children, “me bairns”? My husband’s family is from Northern England, and they talk like that, too!

    2. The scene with Mary and her father when he tells her to throw Carlyle over. That scene was SO perfectly written and acted. No hysterics, no melodrama. Deep emotions were being expressed but in a quintessentially British way.

    1. What else? The proposal. Beautifully written, exquisitely acted. Romantic but in an understated, British way. It actually reminds of hubby’s proposal. We had gone walking in a field near his house, when it started to rain (typical England!). He later told me that he had planned to propose in the field, but that it would have been too messy to kneel down in the mud. So he did what any good Englishman would do—proposed over our drinks in the pub.

    Any speculations for the next season?

    It's interesting that Robert and Cora talked about their "Fenian grandchild" and "having a contact on the other side." Pretty soon the Irish War of Independence is going to explode. If I remember correctly, this is when the IRA was born, and between the terrorist bombings and the savage British reprisals, it wasn’t pretty. Since Fellowes is a Tory, I'm sure that he'll give Branson's views short shrift, but it will be interesting to see if he somehow has Sybil get caught up in it--perhaps have Branson get killed and Sybil return to Downton with her baby, begging to be reinstated? That would fit with what Cora was saying about allowing Sybil and Branson to return. Foreshadowing, perhaps?

    There’s going to have to be some more obstacles to Matthew’s and Mary’s happiness. After putting it off for two seasons, I can’t believe Fellowes would just let them settle down and live happily ever after. That would pretty much remove the main conflict upstairs. What would replace it? Edith shocking the family by learning the Charleston and drinking bathtub gin? Maybe joining the women’s suffrage movement, which was very active at this time?

    And speaking of which, will there be any romance in her future? Like the benighted Lavinia, will she chase after the man she loves and refuse to be parted with him? Will Lavinia come back as a ghost and inspire Daisy to find a new love?
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  3. #163
    CCL
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Were they going into 1920 in the last episode? I thought so. In which case the Irish War of Independence would have been going on for a year and you'd think it would have been mentioned. While I'd like to see Sibyl again I don't want it to be at the expense of Branson dying and her returning to Downton all downtrodden.


    David Boreanaz was campaigning to get a role as an American cowboy who seduces Mary (campaigning might be too strong a word). So there would be a distraction for you. I hope they don't keep throwing up obstacles in their path ; it has been two seasons and it's enough. If Fellowes can't write them interesting story lines without it being about them being broken up...and then together...and then not...etc it doesn't bode well.

    Yes it probably would have been unrealistic for Bates to get off so quickly but events seem to happen quickly on this show...years go by in the blink of an eye.

    Matthew has been acting the martyr for several episodes. Oh Lavinia, you must leave me as I am a poor feeble cripple. Oh, Mary, our kiss was the cause of Lavinia's death, not the flu, so I can never be happy. I wouldn't have been surprised if there were scenes of him flagellating himself.

    The scene with Daisy and William's father was lovely. I'm so glad the cook "tricked" her into going.

    York, The Bucaneers...memories.

    Critical - is The Old Curosity Shop the one with Little Nell? I think so...I like Dickens but that is one of the more maudlin ones. I just find her " too" perfect.
    Last edited by CCL; 02-22-2012 at 11:27 PM.
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  4. #164
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Babbred View Post
    It was also interesting to see the plotline about Robert's sister and the fortune hunter. Although I agree that he needed to tell the truth, I also thought it was just a tad bit hypocritical of Violet and Robert to frown upon the whole affair. The only reason that Robert married Cora was for her money. They may have developed some affection afterwards, but Robert was basically a fortune hunter himself. He was hardly alone, though. Edith Wharton, the great chronicler of the Gilded Age in America, wrote a novel called The Buccaneers about the flood of American heiresses who married British noblemen—exchanging their money for a title. PBS even made an adaptation of it several years ago.
    I think the difference is that Robert and Cora were going into that knowing that they were building something together and each were getting something out of the deal - he wanted to maintain the estate and she wanted that English legitimacy....and really, who wouldn't rather marry an Englishman and live at Downton than be stuck with some boorish nouveau riche American? I think Rosamund assumed she would be marrying for love and money and didn't realize it was ONLY for money on his part.

    CCL - You're right - it was New Year's 1920 in the last episode

    Yep, it's the one with Little Nell. I just have a fondness for it because I liked the book and because of Derek Jacobi. When we read it for my book club, I did reading about the history of it and the response by the public. I enjoyed it more thinking of it like a serialized drama, with the public was clamoring for each new installment and fans at the docks when it was being delivered shouting "Does Little Nell die!?" They couldn't get enough!
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  5. #165
    FORT Fogey Miss_Griss's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Babbred View Post
    It was also interesting to see the plotline about Robert's sister and the fortune hunter. Although I agree that he needed to tell the truth, I also thought it was just a tad bit hypocritical of Violet and Robert to frown upon the whole affair. The only reason that Robert married Cora was for her money. They may have developed some affection afterwards, but Robert was basically a fortune hunter himself. He was hardly alone, though. Edith Wharton, the great chronicler of the Gilded Age in America, wrote a novel called The Buccaneers about the flood of American heiresses who married British noblemen—exchanging their money for a title. PBS even made an adaptation of it several years ago.

    [extra stuff snipped.]

    That ending with Robert's sister catching her lover with the maid just didn't feel right to me. Why in the world would he be fooling around with her maid when he was about to land the big prize? At the very least, it why do it there at Downton when there was such a high likelihood of getting caught? It just felt too contrived and awkward for me. Why did everybody else at Downton get to be happy but not her? I just didn’t get the point of that whole story.
    I thought that the point of that whole story line was that the fortune hunter and the maid had a long-standing relationship, and they had set out together to prey on Violet and gain her fortune for the two of them. Wasn't the maid fairly new to service with Violet and pushing her into the impoverished noble's arms?

    There were several things that happened that made me suspicious of her right from the beginning and that indicated that she and the guy (wish I remembered his name) were involved with each other. From the way the maid talked when they'd been caught, it was pretty clear that she was the master-mind behind the whole thing.
    Last edited by Miss_Griss; 02-23-2012 at 12:43 AM. Reason: Left out an important part of the quote
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  6. #166
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Miss_Griss View Post
    I thought that the point of that whole story line was that the fortune hunter and the maid had a long-standing relationship, and they had set out together to prey on Violet and gain her fortune for the two of them. Wasn't the maid fairly new to service with Violet and pushing her into the impoverished noble's arms?
    There were several things that happened that made me suspicious of her right from the beginning and that indicated that she and the guy (wish I remembered his name) were involved with each other. From the way the maid talked when they'd been caught, it was pretty clear that she was the master-mind behind the whole thing.
    That was my take on it too. When they finally did get caught and he was trying to dig his way out, I loved when she just cut him short. I'm sure they'll move on to the next con.

    I couldn't stand her from the moment she made those nasty comments about Bates. She got exactly what she deserved. I also hated how she manipulated Daisy. I was glad that William's father set her straight and gave her good advice. I loved that the advice WORKED!
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  7. #167
    FORT Regular ladygreco's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    You can just see the confidence blooming in Daisy after her visit with William's father. The look on her face when he said would she be his daughter and that William thought she was special too, was priceless. Her conversation with Mrs. Patmore at the New Year's Eve party showed even more strength. I loved this storyline in the last episode. I also loved that Rosamund's maid and her lover got caught and that all Rosamund could say was that she was upset that her mother, Violet, would be proven right about him!

  8. #168
    50 years and counting! AZChristian's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Quote Originally Posted by Babbred View Post

    Point 1: It was also interesting to see the plotline about Robert's sister and the fortune hunter.

    Point 2: The scene with Daisy and William’s father. It almost made me cry. And notice how he called his dead children, “me bairns”? My husband’s family is from Northern England, and they talk like that, too!

    Point 3: What else? The proposal. Beautifully written, exquisitely acted. Romantic but in an understated, British way. It actually reminds of hubby’s proposal. We had gone walking in a field near his house, when it started to rain (typical England!). He later told me that he had planned to propose in the field, but that it would have been too messy to kneel down in the mud. So he did what any good Englishman would do—proposed over our drinks in the pub.

    Point 4: And speaking of which, will there be any romance in her future? Like the benighted Lavinia, will she chase after the man she loves and refuse to be parted with him? Will Lavinia come back as a ghost and inspire Daisy to find a new love?
    Point 1: The way Violet looked whenever she spoke of Hepworth's father had my mind going to a strange place. Apparently he was also quite the roue. I was half expecting Violet to take Rosamund aside and say, "You can't marry him. He's your half-brother."

    Point 2: There was no "almost" for me during the Daisy/William's father scene. I'm from a family where no love or support was shown towards the children, and I envied Daisy that she now had William's father wanting to consider her his daughter. I cried both times I watched it.

    Point 3: Thank you for sharing your proposal story. Our family heritage is British, and I am a true Anglophile. If I ever win the lottery, I've told my husband that the first thing I'm going to do is buy a home in England, where I'll be spending great amounts of time every year.

    Point 4: I thought the Edith/Sir Anthony tea scene just kind of ended weirdly, with no indication of where (if anywhere) their relationship is going. "I don't accept anything you just said, because you called me 'lovely' in your speech." Here's your tea and we're going to go see what other people are doing now. See ya. Huh?

    I can't wait for next season. Will Shirley Maclaine be a "Molly Brown" kind of rich person? Will she be even snootier than Violet? Will they clash, or will they be allies against the rest of the world? It's going to be a great ride!

  9. #169
    Vidiot 13 is a Winner Champion Poppy Fields's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Another scene that tickled me: Daisy and Anna (?) and the Ouija Board right before the proposal scene.

    "May they be happy. With my love." Both accused the other of moving the planchette on purpose and neither could say what it meant. Except maybe the spirit was wishing happiness for a "couple." Maybe the spirit of Lavinia?
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  10. #170
    FORT Fogey Babbred's Avatar
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    Re: Masterpiece Theater

    Lots of great points! I’ll comment on them in just a bit. First, though, I’m watching the behind-the-scenes special, and some thoughts occurred to me.

    Fellows says something about women's sole function being to marry well since they couldn't inherit anything. It's ironic, because in 1925 the Law of Property Act will be passed by Parliament, effectively abolishing entails and allowing somebody to leave their property to whomever they wished. Of course, that wouldn't make for a romantic show!

    Elizabeth McGovern (Cora) says: "We have three grown-up, very rich girls who are bored out of their skull. All their energy is turned into this sibling rivalry and fighting and jealousy." In her biography of Princess Diana, Tina Brown talked about the difference attitudes between Diana's era and her grandmother's (a Countess like Violet and Cora). She says something like:

    "Women back then were used to being treated as second-class. Most of the education went to their brothers, and they were used to sitting around drafty country houses while their menfolk traipsed around in dismal weather on hunting expeditions." I wish I had the book in front of me to get the exact quote, but I gave it away.

    I actually thought about that quote over the season as I watched Sybil's story play out. Yes, it was a radical change in lifestyle for her. OTOH, I can understand her wanting to have some meaning to her life. While it might be nice to live in luxury, I think that sense of ennui, that feeling of having no real purpose to your life would drive me crazy. Even when Mary and Edith were being nasty to each other last season, I felt kind of sad for them, because McGovern was right. They were bored to tears, and knew they had no real value unless they married well, so no wonder they turned their frustrations on each other.

    Watching the WWI scenes now. Oh my goodness, when my husband and I were on holiday in Belgium a few years ago we went to the war museum in Ypres. It was so, so sad seeing how soldiers like Matthew and William suffered. Reading their diaries and letters home made me cry. At one point, you go into a semi-dark room with a glass floor. Then the floor suddenly illuminates beneath you and you see that it's a reconstruction of a trench. It really sinks in then that those were trenches, holes in the ground. No wonder those poor soldiers were always so covered in mud and no wonder they were miserable.

    Usually I like these "making of" features. Whenever we watch a DVD, I usually bug my family by wanting to watch the extra stuff, or do the voiceover commentaries. I was kind of disappointed in this one, though. It was basically a recapping of the past two seasons, and there was so much more I would have loved to have known about the show and the period. I will say, though, that it was fascinating seeing the actors out of costume.

    It was also fascinating the hear the ones who played the servants speaking in their normal, middle-class accents. I wonder if they had to practice speaking a different way? When I was in high school, I was in a British play, and our drama teacher insisted that the cast had to master a British accent. I remember some of the older students telling the rest of us, "Go home and watch those shows on PBS!" I did and that's how I became hooked on stuff like Downton! I also spent quite a bit of time in front of the mirror trying to talk like the characters on those shows. The first time my voice popped out as British, I nearly freaked. Now, though, since I lived there for several years, I can rattle it off without any problems, and even occasionally have somebody tell me that I sound British when I'm just speaking normally. Subconscious influence, I guess!
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