Over the past week or so, I've been having a wonderful time catching up on a couple of period shows based in the last era of elegance but before the world came to a crashing change.
Of the three shows, One is from the 70's, another from the 90's and the final one from this year. I love well done shows but these three span approximately the same historical time period, from the teens to the twenties.
I got hooked on this type of drama when I saw Upstairs, Downstairs a show that gave us a peek into the happenings of the two different classes who inhabited the same house. The rich who lived in the upstairs and the servants who lived below and made sure everything ran smoothly.
I remember the cook who ruled the kitchen, kept her helpers working and managed to produce good food every day, even during war time. I laughed with them, cried with them, and just loved it. When the show went off the air, I felt as if a good friend had died. I know they tried to resurrect it years later to cover the 30's and perhaps the 40's but I never actually got a chance to see that version.
I just discovered a lovely show that only lasted two seasons about a family run hotel called The Grand. The story line focuses on the family who owns the hotel, their trials and tribulations along with the serving staff who kept the place running.
Although it is a period piece, the overall story lines that show a darker edge than Upstairs, Downstairs. It explores those who marry for convenience, those who make choices that may not be accepted societal, those who survived the war, even a how a family continues its way of life while trying not to lose money
The writers do an excellent job of showing the mind set of some of the war veterans, the sniping and gossiping staff members, and the calculating family members. The writers show both the strong and weak points of the characters.
Finally, the most recent of the three. Its all the rage and is finishing its final season at least overseas. Yes, Downton Abbey, a show that provides a different view of the same society that both Upstairs, Downstairs and The Grand gave us. Although it takes place away from London, you see the same class distinctions but the difference is the American element.
We see a change in members of the family as off spring marry, have children of their own, live and die. It is lovely watching the growth of the characters from the early teens to the twenties. I booed the man who was after a fast buck, who operated on both sides of the law.
The common thread for these three shows simply boils down to making the audience care about the characters. They drew us into the richness and ambiance of the times. We laughed with them and cried with them. They made us feel something for the characters to the point, the characters could have been real.
The writers put the words on paper, the actors brought the words to life, and when the film is played, it becomes a reality for many of us. I love any show that is well written, makes me a part of it so I care about what happens to them. There are other shows I love. Perhaps, I'll share more another time.