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Downton Abbey Zombies

January 12, 2013

Variety: “Of lords and ladies — and zombies ‘Downton,’ ‘Walking Dead’ have lots in common” by Brian Lowry:

What attributes could an early-20th-century British drama presented under the imprimatur of PBS’ “Masterpiece” possibly share with a post-apocalyptic zombie gorefest on AMC?

Look a little closer, and the parallels are more than passing. Both “Downton” and “Dead” are essentially soap operas in an unexpected, exotic setting, featuring large casts and boasting a strong element of unpredictability. (Yes, guys, even though there are zombies and blood sprays, you’re watching a soap.)


The social order is undergoing a period of major upheaval, involving wrenching changes to the traditional power structure.

The program’s central patriarchal figure finds his authority questioned, and must re-examine whether he is still equipped to lead his extended family.

And also: prisons, unexpected deaths, institutional health issues, and “significant caste system”, plus:

really first-rate writing, strong casting and gutsy serialized storytelling, reflecting a willingness to take chances. Human relationships are at the core, even if the time, place and circumstances are unusual.

I would also note the connection of war and memories of the past – see also Paul Fussell’s “The Great War and Modern Memory“, from wikipedia:

the collective experience of the “Great War” was correlated with, and to some extent underlain by, an enduring shift in the aesthetic perceptions of individuals, from the tropes of Romanticism that had guided young adults before the war, to the harsher themes that came to be dominant during the war and after

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal has “Apocalypse Tips, From Antibiotics to Zombies” from Sam Sheridan including suggestions on stealing cars, eating rabbit stew and building snow shelters:

remember that survival is a group endeavor. People don’t degenerate into wild animals when disaster strikes. That’s a myth pushed by Hollywood and people trying to sell you something. Sociologists find that the vast majority of people behave well in a crunch. So get to know your neighbors. The ideal components for a survival kit are a doctor, a mechanic, a farmer. Society, it turns out, is useful in times of disaster, too.




From → politics, war

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