Titanic leaving Southampton, April 10, 1912
As family and close friends will attest, I went through what one might call a “Titanic phase.” It struck just before James Cameron’s film came out, which was rather conveniently timed, given that the popularity of the movie sparked all sorts of documentaries and books about the ill-fated maiden voyage of the ship. I could spout off all sorts of random facts about the Titanic, from its construction to its sinking. And I could tell you just about anything you wanted to know about the passengers and crew who were on board.
Eventually the phase passed, and many of the random facts were emptied from my brain to make room for stuff I had to learn in college so I could earn my degree (though I will point out that I managed to make the Titanic the subject of three term papers).
But now that the 100th anniversary of the sinking is fast approaching, I have a reason to dust off the books and put some of those random facts back in my brain. So get ready people, because we’re going back to Titanic!
It’s been almost a year now since we were first introduced to the Crawley family and their servants who inhabit the sprawling British estate known as Downton Abbey. It is one of the finest works of historical fiction created directly for the screen that I have seen in a very, very long time (no wonder it was just nominated for 4 Golden Globes, including best miniseries).
While the characters may be fictional (from the imagination of Julian Fellowes, screenwriter of Gosford Park), the Edwardian world in which they live is very accurately recreated. From the organized chaos in the kitchen to the lavish dining room where the family and their guests adhere to rigid societal rules (and those who do not are subject to severe scrutiny), it is easy to lose yourself in their world. But Fellowes has also managed to convey in his characters the kinds of human emotions that are timeless, and thus we can all relate to one character or another, even if they lived nearly a hundred years ago.
Now Downton Abbey is returning for a second season on PBS, and this time we will see the world as they know it fall apart with the onset of World War I. This time period is one that I’ve always been drawn to, but more on that later. If you have not seen the first season, PBS is giving you a chance to catch up starting this Sunday. The new season begins on January 8. I will be posting my thoughts on the episodes as they play out, and I’d love to hear your opinions too. Until then, I will be anxiously counting down to Downton’s return.
Visit PBS’s Downton Abbey website.