Downton Abbey: Season 1 (2010)

Season 1
Downton Abbey

Critics Consensus

Downton Abbey transcends its soapy plotting with witty dialogue, lavish costumes and sets, and an outstanding cast.



Critic Ratings: 20

Audience Score

User Ratings: 0


Air date: Jan 9, 2011
Air date: Jan 16, 2011
Air date: Jan 16, 2011
Air date: Oct 24, 2010
Air date: Oct 31, 2010
Air date: Nov 6, 2011

Downton Abbey: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

The acclaimed costume drama opens in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic, which punctures the succession plans of Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville), the Earl of Grantham?his title and estate are legally entailed to only pass to a male, and he and his wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) have only produced daughters Mary ( Michelle Dockery) , Edith ( Laura Carmichael) and Sybil ( Jessica Brown Findlay). Mary, the eldest, had been slated to marry a distant cousin who was aboard the doomed ship with his father, the presumptive heir. And although Cora and Robert's tart-tongued mother ( Maggie Smith) think he should break the entailment so that the family's fortune can be left to the children, to do so would likely mean the end of his beloved estate; British laws at the time excluded women from inheriting property. Thus, he instead undertakes a search for a new heir, and finds one in the form of young middle-class solicitor Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens), who arrives at Downton with his own outspoken mother (Penelope Wliton). As the first season progresses, Mary and Matthew come to share something of a love-hate relationship; Mary weathers a potentially scandalous incident; and Sybil begins to show an interest in politics. A la the classic "Upstairs, Downstairs," the series also delves into the lives of the estate's staff, including by-the-book butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), first footman Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier) and Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle), Robert's former batman-turned-valet.

News & Interviews for Downton Abbey: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Downton Abbey Season 1

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (13)

It will satisfy the commoner in all of us, and for the toffs, Downton Abbey is as bracing as a good day's hunting.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Tonal breaches are what gives the series its vitality, what makes it the playful, irresistible melodrama it is, rather than the stuffy or rote history lesson it might have otherwise been.

Sep 26, 2010 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
Top Critic

Downton Abbey captures everything that viewers loved about Upstairs, Downstairs or Pride and Prejudice.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Downton Abbey will transfix viewers with a story, a feeling, a lifestyle that has proved to have limitless appeal.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Downton Abbey seems to have transformed from self-aware period drama to theme-park time-capsule - a land where things are kind of frozen.

Sep 26, 2010 | Rating: C | Full Review…
Top Critic

The story is so smartly written by Fellowes, and the characters are so well-acted, that it all feels engagingly fresh - and poignant, too.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Very early on, it seemed the show was going to be an unapologetic ode to this type of living and the notion of noble masters and humble servants, but things proved to be more complicated than that.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

As a new year begins, viewers will be hard-pressed to find a more sumptuous, engaging drama than the Masterpiece Classic miniseries Downton Abbey.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Watching Downton Abbey is like curling up with a really satisfying book.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

The quotient of melodrama is through the roof.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

The superb cast manages to rise above the often-terrible writing, though sometimes you can almost catch them wincing as they deliver the truly awful lines.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

It's simply delicious fun.

Sep 26, 2010 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Downton Abbey: Season 1

News & Features