Monthly Archives: February 2012

Downton Abbey and Maggie Smith, my patron saint of costume dramas

So like everyone else who grew up with a love of costume dramas, I am hooked on this show. It finished its second season on the BBC in the UK and is now running on PBS in the US.

It’s a soap opera, so they’ll probably drag some story lines on for way too long and never resolve others. But the clothes are such fun! If i were back in high school with my lack of self awareness and embarrassment about all the wrong things, I would totally be cobbling together my version of the look.

As it was, my anachronistic style cues back then were “Anne of Green Gables” and “Room with a View”, looks from an earlier time than “Downton Abbey”.

Actually, about twenty years earlier! How oddly apropos, since that is about how long ago high school was for me.

“Room with a View” featured Maggie Smith as does “Downton Abbey” and I think it’s so nice to have consistent company in my multiple costume drama phases. I now decree that all fussy, disapproving characters always be played by Maggie Smith. She has a patent on silent disdain, and everyone else just ends up looking like they’re doing a Maggie Smith impression.

I’ve periodically looked up other actors from that long ago movie and I do think Maggie and Helena Bonham Carter have held up the best, even of the latter often dresses like a crazy person.

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