Downton Abbey is different with American accents

I have to admit I’ve never watched much Downton Abbey: what I have seen makes it look like it’s just a period ITV soap opera in which posh people are the saviours of the poor working class people who toil for them. 

But it’s very big right, particularly in the US. Part of the charm is that the English accents make it seem like a very ‘classy’* show. Now Steven Colbert’s got Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville and Allen Leech to try to do a scene of the show with American accents, to see if losing the accents affects the US viewer’s perception.

It basically all sounds as badly written as I suspected, but how about you, American readers? Does it reduce Downton‘s classiness to hear it in a variety of US accents?

* Different sense of classy there, but how ironic

  • benjitek

    I've always considered it a prime-time soap veneered with British accents and nice scenery. That isn't necessarily bad; if done right, prime-time soaps can be fun to watch even if a year later you can't seem to clearly recall the plot. I watched the first season, found it moderately entertaining but after that it was pretty bad — the writing didn't support the visuals. It wasn't addicting and the story was uninteresting — lacked a good vixen or something. I was surprised that so many here in the states thought they were watching something cultured because it was British, part of Masterpiece Theatre and airing on public television's PBS. I read somewhere that it was a last ditch attempt to prop up Masterpiece Theatre's sagging ratings. Seemed like a new genre, stuffy-soap, lacks the OMG fun-to-watch quality. Takes itself too seriously or something. Their writers should watch every episode of the old black & white Peyton Place with a young Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal and try again 😉

    On the other side of the coin, for anyone who enjoys the genre — Australia scored a bullseye with A Place to Call Home. The series was cancelled after it's 2nd season, but thanks to fan-activism it was picked up by another station for 3 additional seasons, season 3 just finished up. The final scene of November 29th's finale was some of the best prime-time soap I've watched — they've got an over-the-top vixen who really knows how to act the role. The first 2 seasons are streamable for anyone who subscribes to AcornTV, and the 3rd will wind up there soon. Pure OMG fun-to-watch prime-time soap 🙂

  • Place To Call Home's one of those shows where I missed the first season (I think it was before I was trying to properly do Australian TV) so never bothered to try it. I heard about the campaign and the pick-up though, and Foxtel's clearly a different beast in terms of network, so whether it'll stay the same or not, I don't know.

  • benjitek

    Very much the same — all of the cast returned, great season. 3 additional seasons in all were picked up.