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So, I've started catching up on season 8 of Smallville and the fact is... I love this show. I don't even know why I ever stopped watching, although I think I got disillusioned by just how much of the original cast had left by the end of season 7. I'm really sorry that SV is going off the air after this season and I'm going to miss it. That may sound kind of silly, but I feel like, even though SV and me haven't always been on the best of terms, it has become a standby over the years and I don't like the fact that there won't be a new season. ::sigh::

In other news, I watched the last four episodes of Downton Abbey today and plan to start watching the first season again from the top tomorrow. squee!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] executrix.livejournal.com
Downton Abbey is so Trollopey! Robert is like Planty Pall--a solidly decent man in a milieu that isn't always.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-09 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sydni-64.livejournal.com
Hmmm... I've actually never read Trollope! Now, I may have to!

I agree with you about Robert. I think it seems a little "forced" at times, though--could anyone in that milieu be that decent? I hope to see more of his backstory, and I hope that's coming in season two. On the other hand, Mary is this perfect representation of the most sinister aspects of aristocratic life--superficially beautiful but rotting at the core. And of course there is the fact that she is the personification of the aristocracy's terror of losing its privileges. I think her character is really fascinating, although she is my least favorite in the whole house!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 02:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] executrix.livejournal.com
Well, if somebody who has plenty of money, power, and respect can't be decent, then who can be?

As for Trollope, I have to say that although several people on my flist are actual Victorianists, not even all of *them* like Trollope. However, there's a TV adaptation of Barchester Towers that's on DVD...with one Alan Rickman as someone who is actually named Mr. Slope. Just two letters away...

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 06:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sydni-64.livejournal.com
What I find contradictory or at least, incongruous or in tension, is that a large part of Robert's decency, as it is portrayed in the series, is tied directly together with his love of tradition and his role as an exemplar of the best aristocratic values.

I submit that aristocratic values are highly indecent in our modern world, and certainly already were indecent by 1912. The lives of the staff of Downton Abbey are, let's face it, limited and monotonous, and lived largely vicariously through the Granthams. Robert sees nothing wrong with this (to be fair, very few people, upstairs or downstairs, seem to see much wrong with it, but that's another story). He would be happy if life went on like this, with a genetically fortunate few "living a life," as Mary puts it, and the unlucky many devoting their lives to changing the beds and sorting the cuff links, forever.

It's hard for me to accept Robert as the overwhelmingly positive figure that the series presents him to be, although I do think Robert as a loving father and husband and Robert as a "fair" employer, at least by the standards of his day, comes across quite well. (Sybil as good-hearted and yes, decent, makes a lot more sense to me because she is more in tune with values appropriate to the historical moment.)

If the series were set, oh, a few hundred years earlier, I might be more sold on Robert. (In any case, I'm glad it isn't, since a large part of what makes the series so very interesting is the collision of old ways with modern times.) But insofar as the series as a whole seems to want to make me sorry or wistful that the aristocracy does not still hold the same social position it once did, or that the aristocratic way of life is not as dominant or widespread as it once was, I find it problematic.

I enjoy the fantasy being created and love the luxurious eye candy of the house, the outfits, and oh, yes, the very gorgeous people. But for me, Robert is in some ways the most fantastical element, almost purely an expression of aristocracy's self-conception, while Mary's own cold beauty together with her haughty, selfish and brutal manner expresses the seedy underbelly of aristocratic entitlement at its most ugly and hypocritical. Cora, Sybil and Edith, though, feel to me like the most flesh-and-blood characters in the family in part because they are motivated by a combination of duty, friendship and self-interest. I find myself cheering for Edith all the time.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 01:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] executrix.livejournal.com
It's tough luck for the servants (who probably grew up with eight siblings in a tumble-down cottage) that they're at the mercy of whether the bloke raising three kids in a palace on 30,000 quid a year is a nice guy or not. I was going to say that there's only so much Robert can do as a decent individual, but of course he's also a member of the power structure. Although I suspect his brand of paternalism is considered rather old-fashioned by the more modern "Greed Is Good" types surrounding him.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivy03.livejournal.com
Oh, man, I haven't watched Smallville since season 5. Which was better than 4, but not good enough to win me back. It seems the second and third season of that show were the apotheosis.

I still hold out hope that I'll watch the rest of it someday. If for no other reason that get to Michael Shanks as Hawkman. Cause that just looks like the perfect balance between awful and AWESOME. There needs to be a word for that.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-10 12:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sydni-64.livejournal.com
OK, omg I did not even know Michael Shanks comes on the show?!? Yes!!

I agree, 2 and 3 were the high point of the show. But there is still something wonderfully cracky about the later seasons and I love the slick, dark mood of the show, especially as more of it starts to take place in Metropolis. To me Chloe is the heart of the show and I think it would be harder to stay if she weren't there throughout the series, though.


...


OK, I went off and looked at some production stills of Shanks as Hawkman... BWAHAHA! ITA, mix of awful and AWESOME! Awfulsome! Awesomeful? Awesul?!

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