‘Downton Abbey’ gains steam

    What television series will cause a buzz in 2012?

    Even in the age of Hulu, what’s old-fashioned sometimes can seem fresh. Critics are saying a British historical drama, full of fox hunts, butlers and tweed, might be one of the hits of the year.

    It’s called Downton Abbey. Its second season began last Sunday on PBS. And, yes, WHYY is a PBS station, so just don’t take our word for it.

    Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, is one of the nation’s leading scholars of TV. And he calls Downton Abbey the best period piece since Upstairs Downstairs and Bridehead Revisited.

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    Set in a British estate on the eve of World War 1, Downton Abbey follows the lives of the Earl of Grantham, his family and servants as they adjust to social upheavals that threaten their traditional English country life. Add to that romantic entanglements and war flaring across Europe and you have the makings of memorable drama.

    Downton Abbey is produced by the British commercial channel ITV and will air on PBS for seven Sundays.

    If you missed the first season, don’t fret…..you can watch it on line until January 17 at PBS.org . And it you have streaming Netflix, it’s available there.

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