Tag Archives: progress

Downton Abbey: Season 2, Episode 1

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: The second season of the much anticipated “Downton Abbey” began with a literal bang, of guns and the grit-shrouded trenches that signify the horrors of World War I. A far cry from the continuously glistening elegance of the previous season, this episode made promises for a season that deals with more than the contained and aesthetically delicious drama of a single household. We are notified by the slightly dropped necklines and the re-costuming of a few footmen to wearing uniforms that this is a very different time than the previous season. Even with the announcement at the end of Season 1 of being at war with Germany, it was still at a lavish white garden party with little to indicate turmoil other than a few choice facial expressions. In the two hour premiere of the second season, we have seen war, death, politics, rejection, and regret under a huge umbrella of uncertainty.
HOWARD MEGDAL: What precisely is it that made the return of Downton Abbey such an emotionally rewarding event for me on Sunday night?

ZOË RICE: One would imagine two years of war changes everything. And yet, upon re-reading last year’s Perpetual Post review of the season 1 premiere of Downton Abbey, I realized part of the success of this season’s opener rests on the fact that the series has remained entirely true to its early roots. As Howard noted last year, at its heart, Downton Abbey is a lofty soap opera. One with excellent characterization, heart-stopping poignancy, and moments of pitch-perfect dialogue, but a drama all the same – and thankfully for us, not a Greek drama, “when everything happens off -stage.” The Great War has amplified last year’s themes of modernization, progress, and change for every character, both upstairs and down. Downton Abbey has always been as much about the conflict of change as it has any gripping plot point, and I’m more ready than ever to see how each character copes with the tangled effects of progress and loss. (I fear much trouble for Mr. Carson.) Continue reading

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Leno/Conan: The Last Late Night War

EMILY SAIDEL: The Leno-Conan debacle presents a soap opera whose main plot is the failed experiment of short-term planning. David Carr at the New York Times intelligently questions the continued relevancy of this television format and the changing styles of television viewing. But the core of the issue was short-sighted vision, compounded with a lack of understanding of the changing television environment.

HOWARD MEGDAL: The fascinating part of the Leno/Conan debacle, for me, is less about the serious series of miscalculations made by NBC, and more how within a few years, few people will understand at all the resonance of “The Tonight Show” at all. Continue reading

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