For those who were so unfortunate as to miss Upstairs Downstairs, PBS has made the series available online one day after the initial airing. Click here to watch Episode One.
Ten points to ponder as you contemplate the first episode of Upstairs Downstairs:
1. Rose is back. She is the bridge between the old series and the new. (Jean Marsh was one of the original creators of the show.) Time has not been kind to Rose. Although only six years have passed since the Bellamys left 165 Eaton Place, the poor maid turned housekeeper seems to have aged three decades.
2. Co-creator Eileen Atkins was committed to another project when filming of the original series began, but she was available for this series. Her turn as Lady Maude Holland, the dowager mama does not quite rival Maggie Smith’s Violet in Downton Abbey, but unlike Maggie, Eileen was given a most interesting, very capable, quite mysterious and handsome secretary – Mr. Amanjit Singh.
3. Few series feature a monkey or a fledgling in a nest. This one has both.
4. Agnes and Hallam are passionately in love. I wonder if her bitchiness when talking to the servants turns him on, or is it her thriftiness?
5. Like Downton Abbey, there seems to be a foreshadowing of a relationship between the chauffeur and his young mistress, in this instance, Agnes’s sister, Lady Persie, a rebellious though uneducated minx.
6. What self-respecting viewer can resist a series that features both the family jewels and a home renovation?
7. We are given one more reason to despise Wallis Simpson.
8. A mystery is afoot. Will Johnny the footman, whose passion for the nubile (but very underage Ivy) has put him in the clinker, be able to highfoot it back to Eaton Place?
9. Will we ever warm up to Pritchard and Mrs. Thackeray? Or will our fond memories of Mr. Hudson and Mrs. Bridges stand in the way? And where was Georgina (Lesley Ann Downe)?
10. Shall Episodes 2 & 3 firmly answer the question: Which series is better, Downton or UpDown? Inquiring minds want to know. Vote here.