I love period drama. I can put Pride & Prejudice* on a loop and have it on all day (while my husband is at work) and actually write with it in the background. But I reached a quitting point a couple of weeks ago on Downton Abbey, which I'll attempt to explain below. (This is not about the thing in Ep #3 that most people found objectionable, by the way, which I will avoid mentioning to prevent spoilers. I stopped watching after Ep #2.)
So I'm going to blather on about fiction in general for a moment, and talk about the difficulty of carrying off a series. Here's my main point up front: The further along a series goes, the more viewers or readers will get put off by....something. Anything. It just takes one thing..
Jericho? Season 1 was AWESOME....and then Season 2 fell apart in a rush to squeeze everything into 6 episodes. Characters got inexplicably dumb, people died (because of the dumb), and there were a couple of real hail-mary shots that didn't work for me.
The Anita Blake novels? I loved loved the first three....but then they went in a direction I didn't care for.
Firefly? Got cancelled before anyone had a chance to object to anything....which made it more awesome. It never had time to let viewers down.
Downton Abbey? For me it ended at the end of Season 2--that lovely scene on the veranda in the snow.
I'm going to forget I saw the first two episodes of Season 3 and go on with my life. Because I liked it where it was. Mary had finally come clean. (After all, her lack of forthrightness could possibly be blamed for much of what happened to Bates. Notice that his wife came back only because she'd figured out she could blackmail -him- by indirectly blackmailing Lord G....because of Mary's secret.) So I was pleased that she'd owned up to her mistake (covering up the death). Edith seemed to be getting her act together. Sybil and Tom were happy. Daisy was getting promoted, etc...
Yep, that's where the series ends for me. Once they started manufacturing a new set of problems, I didn't enjoy how the characters were reacting to them.
Again, I suspect this is an impetus behind a lot of fanfic.
(I would like to imagine instead that Edith went to America, married a cowboy**, and became a sharpshooter for Wild West shows (as Patrice Sarath suggested). But I predicted she would get into Women's Suffrage....which is a tamer version of the above. Too tame for me.)
So for me the series is over, no matter how much I like looking at the costumes.
On a writing front, I'm stuck in the middle of a scene, trying not to have one of those endless drawing-room conversations. That's why I'm on the internet instead of working like I should be. I'll get back to it now...
*The Jennifer Ehle one. That's the one I like. Period.
**Some people will ask, "Why would she have to get married at all?" I think that to Edith, marriage was the ultimate achievement for a young woman, so she would be looking for a husband no matter where she ended up...(Note how many guys she fell for in just two seasons.)
Anything Can Happen Thursday, or Why I Stopped Watching Downton Abbey
February 7th, 14:28