Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Masterpiece Magic

     With the terrible lack of Downton Abbey looming over the US right now, Masterpiece Theater is showing not one, but two of their other mini-series. Call The Midwife and the remake of Upstairs, Downstairs. My mom and I watched the pilot episode of Midwife on Sunday and that was followed by season one of Upstairs, Downstairs. We had both seen season one when it premiered last year, but we were thrilled when we found out that season two is premiering this Sunday!!!

     The hard truth about having a show as popular as Downton Abbey is that eclipses everything else around it. Like what Harry Potter did with Lemony Snicket. I had read that Call The Midwife was a smash hit in England when it premiered last year and so I was really excited to see it. Upstairs, Downstairs has had a harder time because it came out the same time Downton Abbey did and was totally left in the dust.

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     Call The Midwife is based on the memoirs of Jennifer Lee (Worth) who becomes a midwife in the East End of London in 1957. She leaves her family, friends, and home to live at Nonnatus House, a nursing convent with several nuns and two other young midwives.

     Now, this show is about as far away from the glamor and beauty of Downton Abbey as you can get. You get a real hard look at the working class life in the 1950s. It's about childbirth, so the stories are painful and brutally honest. 

      Jenny is a great protagonist character and you really just jump into the storyline. The other nuns she lives with are hilarious and her two other co-workers are just as passionate about the midwifery profession as she is.This is a show you probably wouldn't want your younger children watching. There are some circumstances during the childbirth scenes than can almost cause you to get ill, but like I said, it's a very real story. They don't hide or cover anything up.

     This show is going to be a definite favorite.

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      Upstairs, Downstairs is a remake of the popular 1971 show that has become a classic in British media. It takes a time span between 1903-1930 and follows the lives of the wealthy Belamy family on 165 Eaton Place in London.

     Season 1 of the remake takes place in 1936 with Sir Hallum and Lady Agnes Holland. Hallum is a diplomat who is ready to settle down in the busy life of London and Agnes is more than eager to make their name a popular one.

     Rose Buck, served at Eaton Place as a maid for almost forty years before the house was emptied. Now she comes back (same actress as well) as the housekeeper and most of the Downstairs life is told through her experienced point of view. Eileen Atkins also guest stars as Hallum's sometimes overbearing, but well meaning mother, who grates on Agnes' nerves at every opportunity, at least it seems that way in the beginning.
     Similar to Downton Abbey there are characters you grow to love and you grow to hate. The only actual love story (for now) is between Hallum and Agnus, but season 2 might change that. I can't wait for season 2 which has six episodes, so I'll be in a happy Sunday heaven for quite a while.

Sir Hallam and Lady Agnes Holland

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