Not only did I wake up this morning feeling blue that Series Two of blockbuster best of British tele in decades, Downton Abbey drew to a belated Christmas cracker of a close last night, I have to confess to spending large portions of the day (well, it is a bank holiday this side of the pond) reading all sorts of reviews and motley assessments of the epic upstairs, downstairs-style period costume drama's outrageous success here in the States.
There's really something very smug-making for a longtime Brit-abroad to be able to relish in the ramblings of incredulous reportings such as yesterday's New York Times Magazine's RIFF, questioning at great length why we're so intent in the masses of indulging in a bygone era that we're actually (supposedly) thankful is gone.
Let's not over analyze Downton Abbey to an early death, for I for one, would be perfectly happy to tune in every bleak mid-Winter for the next few years.
Undoubtedly, it is the strength and collective community of this prime cast of characters who have captured the hearts and imagination of millions upon millions of viewers, here in the U.S as we've agreeably gone along for the ride of an extraordinarily fast-paced, largely dining room, family plot - in impeccable setting.
Last night's season finale served up all of the juiciest prerequisites to keep us coming back - traditional Christmas dinner (downstairs and upstairs), a murder trial, mischief, intrigue, suspense, snowflakes, romance and the Edwardian era's race towards modernity.
The question is, if you didn't Downton, it's time to hit your Netflix Queue and get yourself caught up. There's plenty open-ended plotlines to ponder for Season Three, starting here in the States in January of 2013. In the meantime, my take on Downton Abbey's broad appeal is precisely that of its comfortable routine and sense of place. If someone were to ask which character you'd most identify with, I doubt it would be an issue today of whether it were someone specifically designated to an upstairs or downstairs lot. Our modern lives are so interwoven with running the bases and juggling a multitude of roles, the whole idea of the cards falling in one specific designation of post are, perhaps, not quite as appalling as one might otherwise assume.
Main theme emerging from all the pre-Season Three media chat is the much anticipated shake up in splenndid form in the arrival of one Shirley MacLaine at Downton as classic and inimitable U.S. grandmama.