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Sunday, April 10

PBS Movie Throwdown

PBS aired the first episode of Upstairs Downstairs tonight. This week's throwdown asks a simple question: How well does this series stack up against Downton Abbey? Curious minds want to know.
Servants in Upstairs Downstairs

Upstairs Downstairs vs Downton Abbey
UpDown is better
Downton is better
I like them both
No opinion free polls
Servants in Downton Abbey


Charleybrown said...

UpDown was a quality production however I had to force myself to finish all 3 episodes. It simply lacked the magic of Downton. I had expected more from a screenplay by Heidi Thomas but I never connected to the characters and felt they tried to cram too many key historical events into the episodes. Even removing Downton from the comparison, it just wasn't one of my favoured dramas. I'm guessing that if I sat down to watch the original UpDown that I would find more satisfaction from all the rave reviews I've read of that series!

Nonna said...

I like them both because of the different vs city and the time frame differences makes for great costumes, hair styles and just the general flavor of each series. This new Upstairs Downstairs is on film rather than being videotaped like the 1st series so it has a new texture just because of that.

Now I am wanting a new version of "The Pallisers" which I loved !

M (@notarevolution) said...

I voted "no opinion" because I don't think I can fairly judge.

I've only seen one episode of Upstairs, Downstairs, and I never saw the original series. I'm certainly intrigued by a few of the plotlines of the first episode, particularly that of Rose (now that I want to know her backstory, I'm more inclined to give the original series a try) as well as the young couple. However, there were moments when I stopped the recording (I DVR'd it) to check how much time was left, and was a bit dismayed to find there was more than half or half still left to go.

UpDown was a beloved series and it seems obvious that with the remake, the creators would not want to alienate old fans. I think they have more of a challenge than Downton to create new fans, and attract a younger demographic, though. Though the first episode of Downton was a crash course in the English master-servant dynamic, and there were way more characters to keep track of than we get in UpDown, I somehow felt that Downton was immediately more accessible.

I do think UpDown has an advantage in terms of time period. I don't know if it's just me, but I think the younger generation is more familiar with World War II than with World War I (in fact, it's only since watching Downton that I've been reading up on the Edwardian era and WWI). Furthermore, given the recent success of The King's Speech, references to the royal family drama add a bit of interest.

I'm not writing UpDown off. I'd like to see the two remaining episodes and try to watch the original series. I have a feeling that I'll probably end up liking both in different ways.