"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, February 18, 2013

In Lieu of Jumping the Shark, Downton Abbey Now Feeds Its Best Character to the Shark in a Ritual Sacrifice

I stayed with Downton Abbey through the idiocy of the Ouija Board episode, the insipidity of the "Matthew is injured in the war in a way that leaves him entirely unscarred and yet paralyzed from the base of his pecker out to the end" storyline, the ludicrous Bates imprisoned for killing his wife storyline, the oddly unaging daughters (was Sybil 12 at the beginning of the series?), the implausibility of the Lavinia Swire dying of flu and her father leaving his own estate to Matthew, even though he had jilted her to marry Mary, etc.

I stayed with Downton Abbey this year even though they stupidly killed off the prettiest character among the daughters (Sybil again).

No more.   Matthew and Mary finally had their baby last night.

Then Matthew went happily driving off to Downton to tell the family the news.

Then he had a car accident and died.

Wait, what?

Mister Matthew, he dead.

But he didn't just happen to die.   The writers killed off Matthew Crawley last night.   On purpose.   As a creative choice.  

Are you kidding me?  

The entire show was built around Matthew.   He was the moral center, the voice of middle-class decency, the only one on the show other than the servants who knew what it was to work hard, a hero and victim of the Great War, etc.   His coming to Downton as heir in the first season set the whole show in motion.   His love affair with Mary was the reason we watched season 2.  

Now he's gone.  

What's left?

In the past year I have seen two of my favorite shows, Homeland and Downton Abbey, completely jump the shark because their writers seem to not know how to write drama, but instead can only write melodrama, and insipid melodrama at that.   Haven't they ever seen The Sopranos, or The Wire, or Breaking Bad or Mad Men?   Do they really not have a clue how to construct a story arc that can last and be coherent over several seasons?

I need to go back and re-watch the 1960s version of The Forsyte Saga to cleanse my palate.

No wonder England is a dying culture!

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