Upstairs and Downstairs: British Costume Drama Television from “The Forthsyte Saga” to “Downton Abbey” ($70 hard cover, $69.99 ebook so get it from your library) edited by James Leggott and Julie Anne Taddeo offers readers a means of considering their favorite imported shows with a slice of the scholarly. While the essays can be pedantic, none were hard to read and most made me consider new aspects of my favorite shows. I enjoyed the essays that examined Downton Abbey fanfiction, how shopping was glamorized and career women were portrayed in Mr Selfridge and The Paradise, and how something horrible (spoiler below*) was depicted and received in Poldark I didn’t read every essay, but no one has to. Pick and choose as you wish. The article by Andrea Schmict on Downton Abbey fanfiction has enticed me to explore FanFiction.net to see if there are any gems worth reading.
(I tend to expect fan fiction to be poorly written and not worth my time, but according to Schmidt there is some good writing to be found online. I don’t want to be a snob so I’ll read some. Share any suggestions below)
As those who’ve read the book or seen the BBC 1970’s series know, Ross Poldark rapes Elizabeth. The essay examines how the novels and television series differ in the portrayal of that event and how the audience responded i.e. Minimizing Ross’ wrongdoing in the TV show because the actor seemed so heroic overall.