Last night we said goodbye to Downton Abbey after 6 seasons of shocks and awww’s. It has been a wild ride. And I can’t help feeling that we (the fans of Downton) will be hard pressed to find a replacement for this show! There is really nothing else like it out there. And while PBS promises new and exciting programming in our future, unless it’s a Downton Abbey spinoff, I just have my doubts since the bar has been set so high.
With that being said, I have some ideas for Downton Abbey spinoff concepts that I think PBS should really be considering. Here they are…
Finale spoilers ahead…
Charlie and Elsie
The madcap story of Carson and Mrs. Hughes after life at Downton Abbey. I’m thinking they finally open that bed and breakfast they were talking about and adventure ensues. Think of all the wayward stragglers that Carson would have to contend with. It has Emmy written all over it!
Lady Rose Takes America
Lily James is primed to take over the world right now after the successes of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So why not throw her a spinoff? She and Atticus go back to America where they are raising their daughter, Victoria Rachel Cora Aldridge. Rose being Rose, she would absolutely be in the thick of it over there, probably in New York City. And while there she would obviously hook up with Shirley Maclaine’s Martha Levison. Sure, they aren’t actually related by blood or even marriage, but everyone is family when it comes to Downton Abbey and I’d love to see the sparks fly when Rose and Martha interact.
Isobel and Violet
No one deserves a spinoff more than Lady Grantham and her (begrudging at first) bestie, Violet Crawley. Sure, Isobel is primed to marry Lord Merton, but this duo would undoubtedly remain close. They have been through so much together and have come so far in this hilarious and tumultuous friendship. They deserve second life! Perhaps they start solving murders in England. Not sure what they would be doing, but I know that they should be doing it together and that it would be amazing!
The finale of Downton Abbey finally saw a happy Thomas Barrow…FINALLY!! Sure, he’s taken over as head butler for Carson, but I think he’s better suited as Master George’s manny. Imagine the absolute adorbs that would come from that pairing! Outings in the park, visits to the city and hopefully one day, Thomas would find romance with someone special pushing the limits of the time period.
Talbot and Branson
Branson has long been my favorite character on Downton Abbey. And while Henry Talbot is no Matthew Crawley, I have come to like him and appreciate his friendship with Tom. The fact that they are now in business together makes this concept the easiest of all to accomplish. Mary would obviously make an occasional appearance to check on her husband and her, I’d venture to say, best friend. The automobile industry in the late 1920’s going into the 30’s would make for incredibly interesting story lines.
Downton Ghost Stories
Of course there’s the guilty pleasure spinoff that sees the return of the favored dead. Matthew Crawley and Lady Sybil return to haunt the halls of Downton Abbey. It would have to be funny because anything else would just be wrong. Sure, it’s the least plausible of the spinoff concepts, but you can’t fault me for trying!
I confess. As I’ve watched Downton Abbey the last 2 seasons, I’ve come to wish that Branson and Mary would try and make a go of it. After all, they get along famously and make each other genuinely better people (especially in Mary’s case.) Plus little Sybbie and Master George are growing up together anyways. Why not just go ahead already?
But, after Sunday’s episode, I have finally accepted that it isn’t meant to be. Mainly because Mary married another dude. So all my dreams of the perfect ship have drowned.
In the aftermath of disappointment, a new feeling and deeper understanding of Mary and Branson has taken shape. Theirs is the perfect example of a platonic friendlationship done splendidly right. Possibly the only one on TV that I have ever witnessed. (Arguments could be made for Jerry and Elaine from Seinfeld or Phoebe and Joey from Friends.) See, what happens most of the time (and especially on soap operas) is that man meets woman, man loves woman, man loses woman, man finds new woman, man loves new woman. And the same is true on the women’s side as well. Anyone with television watching history knows that the best couples start out either on opposite ends of the spectrum (hating each other) or as the very best of friends (and not realizing they love each other.) Enter Mary Crawley and Tom Branson. Not only did they start out at opposite ends of the spectrum (he a chauffeur, she a rich aristocrat and them hating each other) but after the deaths of not one, but both of their spouses, they became the most unlikely pair of best friends. Hence the thought that they might end up together.
Instead, they remain dear and devoted friends. (In fact, Tom was the best man at both of Mary’s weddings. Chew on that one!) They are friends who love one another deeply, but who didn’t so much as look sideways at one another in a romantical way (despite my fervent prayers for it to happen.) Perhaps it was because he was married to her sister. It could be that the class lines just couldn’t be crossed. But I think it’s because sometimes, every once in a while, men and women can truly just be friends and nothing more.
I have to say, this has not been my experience. If I haven’t had feelings (unwanted or otherwise) for a guy, a guy has had feelings (unwanted or otherwise) for me. In fact, the best friend I have, who is of the male species, is my brother.
Platonic Friendlationships are very hard to come by. And harder to keep. Which is why Mary and Branson not getting together (and fulfilling my hopes and dreams) is a really, really good thing. I often desperately need to be reminded that men and women can be friends without the mushy stuff getting in the way. That it isn’t all about roses and rainbows and kisses in the rain. Sometimes it’s about honesty and kindness and a person you can rely on to always be there, even when it’s hard.
(Deep breath and shoulder shrug) I wish it was as easy as having a team of writers craft the perfect scenario and just being directed to follow a script. If that were the case, then maybe I could have written it so that the men who’ve come into my life could have just been my friends. There would be no suspicion of ulterior motives. There would be no longing for something more. Just friendship at it’s finest. Honestly, I don’t even know what that would look like. Girl friends, I get. But boys? I’m 33 and I still can’t figure them out!
I will take a lesson from Tom Branson and Mary Crawley (I suppose I need to get used to calling her Mary Talbot now?) I will keep hope alive that men aren’t always trying to get into my pants. That maybe there’s a Branson out there who just wants to be in my life and see me happy, even if it isn’t with him. Perhaps especially if it isn’t with him. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I wanted to take a look at one of the most romantic figures in all of literature…Mr. Darcy himself. I’m hard pressed to find anyone that matches up to this paragon of moral fiber. So instead of pitting people against him. I’ll pit him against himself and share some of my favorite Darcy’s with you.
I admit, it was hard to rank them, if only because everyone who I’ve seen take on the role has brought something delightful and fully their own to the great visage of Mr. Darcy. And has only managed to cement my love of Darcy with each and every scene. From movies to television mini series to the You Tube phenomenon. Here are the Darcy’s I know and love. Let me introduce…
#1: Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy
No one more embodies the qualities that I look for in a Darcy, than Mr. Colin Firth from the BBC mini series version of Pride and Prejudice. These days when I read the book over and over again, it is Firth’s face that I picture offering Elizabeth his hand in marriage. It’s Firth that saves poor Lydia’s reputation from the evil clutches of George Wickham and it is Firth that comes to Elizabeth again and asks if her heart has changed towards him. He is THE Darcy for me. So he deserves his place at the top! I dare you to defy this!
#2: Colin Firth as Mark Darcy
Is it any wonder that when Helen Fielding wrote Bridget Jones’ Diary she was inspired by Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy as the hero of her story. BJD is a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (for those of you who didn’t know.) And in casting Fielding’s homage to the original Mr. Darcy, who better than the original Mr. Darcy. Enter Colin Firth…again! For all the reasons that he makes a truly great Darcy, not only in a period drama, but in modern times, I refer you back to point #1!
#3: Sir Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy
Next up is the classic, the incomparable (I know, I am in fact comparing him) Sir Lawrence Olivier. This 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice was actually my first introduction to the Jane Austen story. (I admit I never read the book when I was supposed to in high school.) One night this treasure came on TCM (my favorite channel in college) and I was enchanted. Starring Lawrence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth Bennet, it was the first time I gave Pride and Prejudice a real chance. And yes, you read that right, it wasn’t until college that I truly fell in love. And it was Sir Lawrence who did the wooing. This adaptation actually strays from the book in many places. Lady Catherine comes to like Elizabeth and even recommends her to Darcy. We never even see Georgiana Darcy. And the costumes are not representative of the correct time period. But it just goes to show that sometimes accuracy does not always entreat the deepest of loves. This film sparked my love of all things Austen, which is probably why Olivier holds so high a placement on this list. I won’t apologize for it. He belongs here. And I still have a copy of this movie on VHS to prove my love!
#4: Daniel Vincent Gordh as William Darcy
As each adaptation is released and spun in a new direction, I find brand new ways to love this age old story. Enter The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. A You Tube web series that in fact inspired me to try my hand at telling my own stories through the use of a web series. Lizzie Bennet is a grad student in mass communication and starts a vlog. Charlotte Lu, her best friend, helps her shoot and edit the videos. William Darcy is the haughty owner of Pemberley Digital, a media company that Lizzie eventually visits as part of her study. Darcy doesn’t even get screen time till Episode 59. The viewer relies on Lizzie’s retelling and reenacting of events and is the better for it, because Ashley Clements’ Lizzie Bennet is definitely one of my all time favorites. Will Darcy is significantly more hipster than his predecessors, but the result is simply delightful.
#5: Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy
While Macfadyen makes a very good Darcy, I have so many issues with this version of Pride and Prejudice. The line “Well then, your hands are cold” said by Elizabeth Bennet after Darcy confesses his love a second time, irks me to no end! And his declaration of “I love-I love-I love you”… BLECK! Even Mr. Bingley telling Jane Bennet that he’s “been an unmitigated and comprehensive ass” rubs me the wrong way. But Macfadyen makes so high an entry on my list, not based on the merit of the entire film, but on his performance as Darcy alone. There is a moment when he and Elizabeth are flirting about Lizzie’s proficiency at piano and he smiles at her…that smile alone earns him a high ranking! But the rest of his performance is sufficiently Darcy-esque. And it should be noted that I also really enjoy Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, it’s just the other liberties that grate.
#6: Martin Henderson as Will Darcy
I have such a soft spot for this Bollywood adaptation, Bride and Prejudice. The flourishing musical numbers alone sold me on it. But the way they weaved the story into the culture of India’s Bollywood is effortless and maintains the integrity of the original work. Martin Henderson’s Will Darcy is appropriately charming at times, but can also play a snobbish prig as well. His chemistry with Aishwayra Rai’s Lalita Bakshi is straight out of an Austen novel and it just works!
#7: Matthew Rhys as Mr. Darcy
This Darcy is a newer entry for me. I never read the P.D. James novel, Death Comes to Pemberley (mystery novels are more my mother’s speed.) But I can never seem to pass on an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. So when Netflix suggested that I watch it, I did! And boy am I glad that my Netflix knows me so well (scarily well!) Matthew Rhys has everything one could want in a classic Darcy. This PBS Masterpiece mini series is a continuation of the story of P+P. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam have a son and are living in marital bliss, until there’s a murder at Pemberley and the infamous George Wickham is a suspect. Darcy starts to question everything, including his devotion to his beloved Elizabeth. I have to tell you, this is a sexier Pemberley than Austen lovers are used to. There’s even some Darcy and Elizabeth make-up sexy times. Didn’t see that one coming! If you haven’t seen this movie…head to your nearest Netflix and do it!
#8: Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy
I already shared all my thoughts about Pride and Prejudice and Zombies earlier this week. (Click Here) But I’ll reiterate the merits of Sam Riley’s hardened, zombie-killing Darcy. He is prejudiced. He is prideful. He is a charming bad ass!! Look at that gif…oh the brooding!! He has what it takes to earn the Darcy title. He is only so far down on the list because all of his Darcy predecessors stole my heart first. Else, I’d say he definitely deserves higher placement. There just isn’t any room. Sorry, Sam!
#9: Elliot Cowan as Mr. Darcy
Enter Elliot Cowan’s Mr. Darcy in the mini series, Lost in Austen. Cowan is also an excellent Darcy, but again…he suffers the number 9 spot because everyone else beat him to it. But excuse me…there is an homage to Colin Firth’s Darcy that cannot go unmentioned. When Amanda Price trades places with Elizabeth Bennet and finds herself smack in the middle of a story she has grown up knowing, watching and loving, she takes it upon herself to try and keep the characters true to their story lines. And even interjects some deliciousness here and there. Including this moment where Mr. Darcy emerges from the water (after Price told him he had to jump in and do this to appease her.) YUM!
#10: David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy
Ah! Poor David Rintoul. Here he is rounding out the end of my list. David is an excellent Darcy, as Darcy’s go. What he suffers from is a very slow paced, 1980’s version of Pride and Prejudice that I find much harder to watch then every other adaptation on this list. Rintoul has all the appropriate airs and looks darn good in a top hat and ascot, if I do say so myself. But this is not a version that I pop in on sick days. In fact, rewatching it for this list was mildly painful and I didn’t make it through the whole thing…just skipped to the good parts. If you don’t know what the good parts are, then you have homework to do and better get to it!
There you have it. My comprehensive list of Darcy’s. I’ve got a crush on all of them, but how about you?
Ladies, which Darcy floats your Valentine’s boat?
Men, is there a Miss Bennet that you prefer above all others? One of these days I’ll get around to ranking the Elizabeth Bennets of the small and silver screens.
In the meantime, don’t miss Friday’s #NerdySlumberParty. We are talking all about crushes! Which means Darcy will definitely have to be mentioned! 😉
Yeah… I couldn’t just pick 5 couples. Because I don’t just watch 5 shows. And even if I did just watch 5 shows, there’s more that one couple per show sometimes. So I’m just gonna go ahead and pick as many as I want, breaking the 5 Fandom Friday rule, but it’s Valentine’s Eve/ Friday the 13th/ I-don’t-care-I’ll-do-what-I-want-day. But I think that The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick would approve!! Not only did I do a list of current couples that I’m shipping. I also went ahead and made a list of couples that I ship from shows that are no longer on the air. Click Here for that list (also couldn’t choose just 5 couples for that one either!) PS, spoilers ahead so tread lightly! You’ve been warned!
#1 – Brary from Downton Abbey
As of right now on the show, this has not even been hinted at, but I know I’m not the only one who dreams of the day when Lady Mary and Tom Branson just join forces to become a serious Downton Abbey power couple. And I think the late Lady Sybil and the late Matthew Crawley would approve of this union. Plus Tom and Mary are equally better than the people they have individually been courting or been courted by!
#2 – Captain Swan from Once Upon a Time
If anything happens to break Emma and Hook up, I will be boycotting Once Upon a Time. I have loved their story and they are such a great couple. She makes him a better man, he makes her a better woman. It’s everything a fictional relationship should be!!
#3 – Zade from Hart of Dixie
In the same vein as the Emma/ Hook union, if anything happens to break apart Zoe Hart and Wade Kinsella I will be boycotting! I love them together. Incidentally, they also make each other better people and with a baby on the way, they are truly becoming a wonderful and inspiring couple to watch!
#4 – Raylicity from Arrow
All you Olicity shippers out there are going to hate my life, but I don’t dig Ollie and Felicity together. I liked him with Laurel, before she lost her edge! And I loved him with Sara, before she lost her life. But Felicity… I’m just not feeling it. But there’s something so delightful about the growing tension of Raylicity!! And I ship them so hard!! So, sorry my lovely Olicity shippers, but Raylicity all the way!!
#5 – SkyeWard from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Sure, he’s gone rogue and is working for the bad guys, but do we really believe that he’s gone bad? And do we really believe that his love for Skye can’t totally redeem him? We do not believe that! Not for one second. There is good in him… I can feel it!
#6 – Jemily from Revenge
Ok.. Revenge is killing me on the Jack and Emily front. Why, why, why would she even consider a relationship with Ben when good old Jack has been biding his time. When he walked up that hill to Ben’s house and saw them kissing… NOOOOOOOOOO!!!! After all this time. Here’s hoping they get things together before the end of the series.
#7 – JessNick from New Girl
Jess and Nick have certainly had their ups and downs. And I’m gonna go ahead and admit that I refused to watch their break up. REFUSED. Especially after THAT kiss and the fact that they belong together. They just do!! Sure, Ryan is adorable and a wonderful distraction till Nick gets his shiz together, but there is a serious expiration date on that relationship. And it’s because Nick and Jess belong together. They are like Ross and Rachel, like Toast and Butter, like Netflix and Mac and Cheese!! Meant…To…Be!
#8 – OutlawQueen from Once Upon a Time
HEARTBREAK! That’s how I felt at the end of the winter finale of Once Upon a Time. Rumpbelle and OutlawQueen both took a hit this season. But I can’t believe that Regina and Robin have seen their last steamy kiss. Magical town barrier or not! Keep hope alive for this couple, because the powers that be over at ABC know what we want!!
#9 – FitzSimmons from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
They are literally called FitzSimmons on the show. They belong together. Their names make up the perfect shipper name. Did I flirt with the idea of Trip and Simmons? Sure. But all along I knew that Fitz belonged with Simmons and Simmons with Fitz, plus Trip is dead now (RIP) so there’s no chance f0r Trimmons.
#10 – Caryl from the Walking Dead
This one is one that we have been waiting for for a long time! It’s been building and building and so far we only have cursory glances and that reunion that brought all Caryl shippers to tears! Why didn’t he kiss her then? WHY? I tell ya, AMC may just be the Kingpin of the will they won’t they at this point in the list.
#11 – Jacknye from Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
I take it back. Detective Inspector Jack Robinson and Miss Phryne Fisher hold the title for biggest onscreen teases!! Chances are you haven’t seen this one as it’s a show that airs in Australia, but thanks to the magic that is Netflix, you can catch up on the two current seasons available. Season three is currently in production. Do yourself a favor and get on team Jacknye right now!!! It’s completely worth it.
#12 – Snowborn from Game of Thrones
This one may be a surprise for you. Seeing as they have had zero onscreen moments together. She’s off in Westeros raising dragons and conquering kingdoms. He’s over in Castle Black battling the impending doom of that winter that keeps on coming along with all the creepy threat of the White Walkers. But their paths are drawing closer together and the entire series is called A Song of Fire and Ice. Hello?? Fire-breathing dragons… huge wall of ice?? You do the math on that one.
#13 – SnowBarry from The Flash
And last but not least we have SnowBarry. Now the relationships on The Flash are tricky. If we’re talking comic book canon, everyone knows that Barry marries Iris. But is that the direction that The CW is going to take? Will WestAllen ever get it together? Personally I don’t ship Iris and Barry (sorry WestAllen shippers!) I also don’t ship Caitlin and Firestorm, though I know that according to comic book canon Caitlin is destined for the dark side. But I still loved the episode, Crazy For You where they grew closer and flirted with the idea of SnowBarry.
Shipping a couple doesn’t always mean that they will end up together. Much like real love and emotions, it’s not always rational. But the heart wants what it wants!! And I apologize for nothing! Every ship has it’s place.
To talk more about the couples we ship on this Valentine’s Eve, come on over to Twitter @nerdinthecity tonight for my #NerdySlumberParty where we will be talking all about that four-letter word, Love. The party starts at 9pm EST and there will be giveaways and nerd talk. You do not wanna miss it!!
After a much too long hiatus, Downton Abbey finally returns. And it is back in full force.
The 1920’s are in full swing at Downton. Lady Mary and Matthew’s wedding has the entire house bustling for the big day. Mr. Bates continues to cool his heels in prison as devoted wife Anna scours the country side for evidence of his innocence. Lady Sybil and Branson return to Downton for the big wedding with the help of a certain mysterious Dowager. All the while, Lord Grantham faces financial ruin.
The story lines are as compelling as ever. Filled with intrigue (courtesy of Thomas and Mrs. O’Brien), romance (courtesy of Edith’s eager pursuit of Sir Anthony Strallan and of course the happy couple, Mary and Matthew) and splendor (courtesy of the big wedding.)
There are new characters in the form of Alfred Nugent, the new footman and nephew to the meddling Mrs. O’Brien. And of course, Cora’s mother, Martha Levinson , played to perfection by the much anticipated Shirley MacLaine.
There is plenty to be excited about concerning this new season of Downton Abbey. So if you haven’t been bitten by the Downton bug yet, then get on Netflix and catch up!!