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10 REASONS WHY DOWNTON ABBEY IS THE NEW CRACK

It took me a year to finally hunker down and see what some of my friends were raving (or tweeting) about back in 2011. A British costume drama? On PBS? Is it a remake? Well, at least it's got Dame Maggie Smith, and you know I just looooove me some Dame Maggie Smith...

Ladies and gents, I can honestly say that after watching - no, consuming - all seven episodes from the first season on Netflix and catching the two-hour second season premiere earlier this week, I am hooked. Actually, more than hooked. Obsessed.

And it looks like Brian Moylan over at Gawker has already articulated why my Downton Fever is growing by the day. Check out his explanatory breakdown here. I couldn't have said it better myself.

That said, allow me to offer some other explanations as to why I, and the rest of America, can't get enough of this engrossing slice of British television:

1. I consider myself an Anglophile, and for me, this is almost like porn.

2. The producers and writer/creator Julian Fellowes have created a miracle: electrifying chemistry amongst all twenty - yes 20 - characters and a pacing style that keeps us hanging on every scene, every line of dialogue, every inquisitive stare.

3. It's a more intelligent Dynasty...with British accents: Love affairs. Scandalous secrets. Oh, and World War I.

4. The opening theme song. It's an elegant score that perfectly captures the drama and melancholia which runs throughout that countryside manor.

5. Those piercing blue eyes of Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens).

6. The sinister schemes and seductive glares of Thomas, the repressed footman (Rob James-Collier, right).

7. Those dinners in the dining room make me salivate every time a dish is served (not to mention those finger sandwiches with afternoon tea).

8. The star-crossed romance between Bates and Anna.

9. The star-crossed romance between Mary and Matthew.

10. Two words: Maggie. Smith.

H.P.M.

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