TV News

Downton Abbey Marathon on Christmas Day

It’s time to get hooked on the British TV hit.

By Allison Williams December 20, 2011

If you have to ask about their dry cleaning bill, you can’t afford it.

Forget 24 hours of A Christmas Story on TBS—there’s a new holiday tradition in town. Local PBS channel KCTS 9 is running a marathon of the British TV show Downton Abbey, showing the complete first season (only four 90-minute episodes) starting at 6pm on Christmas Day.

If you’re not familiar with the show—or, gasp, still calling it DownTOWN Abbey, you commoner—here’s a primer: It’s 1912. The Crawley family is the one percent, living in an English manor house the size of a Boeing hangar. They have really excellent clothes. Their servants are a dramatic bunch, spying on their bosses and each other, and having lots of conversations that boil down to "Wow, our strict class system is starting to feel a little unfair, innit?" Downton isn’t quite a soap opera, but it’s not the stuffy drama you’re imagining either.

Highlights include the great Maggie Smith as the Crawley dowager countess (that’s British for "rich old lady"); many remember her as Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter flicks, but she’s even better here as a snippy upper cruster, spitting out questions like "What is a weekend?" No, really, she doesn’t know what that is.

The second season of the Emmy Award–winning show finally makes it to American shores on January 8, so this is your chance to get caught up on the British upstairs-downstairs shenanigans. It’s either that or hang out with your family on Christmas Day.

Downton Abbey airs Dec 25 at 6pm on KCTS.

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