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January 5, 2014

Local fans prepare for 'Downton Abbey' season premiere

PLATTSBURGH — The new season of “Downton Abbey” premieres tonight, much to the excitement of North Country fans.

The popularity of the show, which is written by Julian Fellowes and chronicles life in an English manor house during the early 20th century, is undeniable. So what draws viewers to “Downton Abbey?”

Elle Berger of Plattsburgh feels that the allure is hard to define.

“That is a mystery that everybody who is drawn to the show asks him or herself: What is it about this show that’s so addicting?

“I think it’s because the show is so colorful. The characters are colorful, and you get to live in another era.” The historical aspect therefore piques curiosity.

Berger compares the appeal of “Downton Abbey” to that of a good novel, noting that it is a combination of mood, character, tone and other elements.

And, she adds, “Downton” has “a secret ingredient”— its understated and quiet nature. This is a refreshing contrast, she feels, from the “noisy and fast-moving” television shows common today.

ENGROSSING CHARACTERS

Last month, Mountain Lake PBS, which airs the program locally, held a 1920s Gala & Premiere inspired by “Downton Abbey” at the West Side Ballroom in Plattsburgh. Berger, who attended the event, said she thought it was “splendid” and believes there is a parallel between the show’s English countryside values and Mountain Lake PBS.

At Downton Abbey, she explained, “the family that lives there is responsible to the community — they provide employment and protect the landscape.” Likewise, she feels, Mountain Lake PBS is about “protecting and preserving what is good in the community.”

Many “Downton” fans have a favorite character — while others can’t decide.

Berger recalled that at the PBS gala, she picked Mary as her favorite. Now, she adds: “I’ve changed my mind in the past few weeks. Now I think it’s Mrs. Hughes. She is kind and caring; I think she is a gentle woman, and I really like that.”

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