|Upstairs Downstairs Season 2|
Upstairs Downstairs Season 2 has just started on PBS, depending on your local station. My local station WNED in Buffalo is rerunning the first series and then starts the second series on October 28th, so CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS. In any case, if you need to catch up and live in the USA, you can watch on www.PBS.org.
Set in 1938, just before WWII begins, we get a big history lesson with each episode. Don't expect Downton Abbey here, as UpDown has always been more serious, and lacks the huge budget of Downton Abbey. And yet, if you can endure the ping-ponging between story lines and a bit of hilariously soapy expositional dialogue, there is quite a watchable series here.
|Alex Kingston in Upstairs, Downstairs|
After the death of Sir Hallam's mother Maude (a plot point to explain Eileen Atkins refusal to join the second season), her sister comes to stay at 165 Eaton Place. Alex Kingston is a welcome addition to season 2 as Sir Hallam's bluestocking aunt, Dr. Blanche Mottershead. She gives the series a bit of life and has some interesting secrets in her closet.
|Blanche and the Duke of Kent (Blake Ritson)|
If there is one reason to watch this series, let it be the gorgeous Blake Ritson as the Duke of Kent.
"I must ask you to furnish me with a cigarette. Forthwith."
If you have the foresight to record this (or go and watch online at PBS.org) I dare you not to rewind a few of the scenes involving the Duke of Kent. And pause them. And then watch them again. Damn, this man is underused in period drama. (Note to self- watch Mansfield Park 2007 and Emma 2009 again)
Oh, and an honourable mention goes to Adrian Scarborough as the Butler Mr. Pritchard for pure entertainment value. Keep an eye on his character and enjoy.
So, remember, keep your expectations low and you may really enjoy this series. Just maybe keep IMDb and/or Wikipedia handy to sort out the characters.
Let me know what you think. I have a feeling you will either love this one or hate it. I was happy to watch it but I wouldn't purchase it on DVD.