Click here to enter my other blog: Jane Austen's World.

Sunday, January 2

Jane Austen Question Throwdown

Dear Readers: Downton Abbey will be shown on PBS Masterpiece Classic for 6 hours instead of the 8 hours shown on ITV. Here are some of the reasons for the downsizing, as written in the Daily Mail: Downton Downsized
Lady Sybil, Lady Mary, and Lady Edith
'Unsurprisingly, the lavish period drama has now been snapped up by an American network - although it seems the beautifully nuanced portrait of pre-First World War upper-class life could prove just a little too complex for the trans­atlantic audience.
For in the land of the notoriously short attention span, TV executives have taken a knife to the artfully crafted series, slashing its running time and simplifying the plotline for fear viewers will be left baffled.'
HUH!!!!? Show us the full 8 hours, I say. We who view PBS not only have the stamina to view long shows, but the background and historical knowledge to understand the nuances of British primogeniture and inheritance laws.
Rebecca Eaton, an executive producer for the PBS network - which will be airing it from next week - admits that American audiences demand a 'different speed' to their shows.
As a result, Downton, which ran for eight hours on ITV, has been slashed to six for the States, while the story­line about the inheritance of the Abbey has been downplayed.
Read more about this topic at the Daily Mail

Are we in the U.S. truly such short attention-spanned viewers? Please vote if you are interested in seeing the longer version of Downton Abbey (or not). We need to let PBS know our position.

UPDATE: Gentle readers, reader CharleyBrown left the following comment, which disputes the Daily Mail's article:
Vic, unfortunately the Daily Mail reporter chose to ignore, when it was explained to him by an American tv reviewer, that the running time in Britain is ALSO 6 hours once you take away the commercials. I have the British episodes and can attest to that.


Speaking to someone who has seen the new edited version, she told me that some NEW scenes have been added and the scenes that had been cut were only of repetitious dialogue, etc. and she indicated that she liked the changes.

And with regards to Ms. Eaton mentioning the appearance of Matthew Crawley in the first episode, that would happen with the new format. In UK, the first episode was 65 minutes, so with the 90 minute episode for PBS we would see the arrival of Downton's heir sooner.


It's a pity that the Daily Mail chose to greatly exaggerate the edits.

I am interested in seeing the
8 hour version of Downton Abbey
6 hour version on PBS as planned
program any way I can





  
pollcode.com free polls

13 comments:

bookwormans said...

If we Americans can watch 8 hours of Bleak House and Little Dorrit and love it, then we should be able to handle this.

As for the plot being complicated, Americans flocked to "Inception" and loved it. No way "Downton Abbey" can be more complicated than that.

I say, give us the full eight hours and let those who can't handle it watch "Jersey Shore" re-runs!

Jean at The Delightful Repast said...

Rebecca Eaton should know that the attention span problem she refers to does not apply to "her" audience! Shortening a BBC period drama to suit the type of viewer who will not be watching Downton Abbey anyway is absolutely ridiculous! I have no interest in watching a dumbed-down version, thank you veddy much!

Meredith R. said...

I'm very disappointed. Below the Daily Mail article sits a parody for American viewers to help us "understand" the series.

While I realize that PBS might be reaching out to a larger viewing audience, they are shrugging off their regular viewers by airing dumbed down U.K. shows. No wonder we are losing our competitive edge. We don't even have the respect of our public service.

Alexa Adams said...

"...although it seems the beautifully nuanced portrait of pre-First World War upper-class life could prove just a little too complex for the trans­atlantic audience."

How insulting! Is this why I support PBS? I will certainly be lodging a complaint.

Becky Roode said...

I have to admit that I find it rather insulting that PBS feels the need to "dumb down" any program for its viewers.
I say show the full 8 hours. If they won't I may wait until I can get my hands on a copy of the original, full program and not watch on PBS at all.

Charleybrown said...

Vic, unfortunately the Daily Mail reporter chose to ignore, when it was explained to him by an American tv reviewer, that the running time in Britain is ALSO 6 hours once you take away the commercials. I have the British episodes and can attest to that.

Speaking to someone who has seen the new edited version, she told me that some NEW scenes have been added and the scenes that had been cut were only of repetitious dialogue, etc. and she indicated that she liked the changes.

And with regards to Ms. Eaton mentioning the appearance of Matthew Crawley in the first episode, that would happen with the new format. In UK, the first episode was 65 minutes, so with the 90 minute episode for PBS we would see the arrival of Downton's heir sooner.

It's a pity that the Daily Mail chose to greatly exaggerate the edits.

Antiques And Teacups said...

I am offended by anyone who would feel the American audience can't support good drama. I am constantly offended by the current TV fare offering only reality (supposedly) about housewives, teen pregnancy,gangs and narcissitic power pranks. Give us some good drama!

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

I too had been looking forward to hopefully seeing the entire 8 hours! As a devotee of BBC period dramas, I too am appalled that they don't think we could handle the full 8 hours or follow the intricacies of the plotlines. Looks like I'll have to purchase the DVD after all to see the entire show. What a disappointment.

Alexa Adams said...

In a fit of pique I wrote a complaint to PBS. In response, they directed me to this article - http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2011/01/in-defense-of-downton-abbey-or-dont.html - which support's Charlebrown's comment regarding the Daily Mail's exaggeration of the changes.

I must say that I am feeling awfully ashamed at myself for not seeing through the blatantly anti-PBS agenda of the original article's writer, as he now appears to have intentionally attempted to turn loyal Masterpiece Theater viewers against the channel. Looking forward to Sunday!

Vic said...

Alexa, I agree with you. The Daily Mail was egregious in making such an accusation and misquoting PBS. I placed CharleyBrown's comment on this post as soon as she wrote it, to give folks another pov. But I still wonder, why tinker with the original show's format at all?

Alexa Adams said...

It does seems they always change the format when importing these period pieces. While I understand how some changes are needed to accommodate for the removal of commercials (of which I approve), I do not, however, understand why they need to trim any of the overall length. I suppose the need to conform to neat 90 minute segments is the excuse, but it seems a rather shabby one to me.

Nonna Beach said...

WHAT the...??? Do they really think that they are the only ones who know so called "nuances" of a particular dramatic piece and that they go way over the heads of American audiences ? This is a new high in our own and European snobbery !!! The American market is worth a kazillion dollars...a fact not lost on me, but obviously forsaken by Masterpiece powers that be !

I am totally exasperated and frankly glad I never gave a dime to PBS !