Monday, November 19, 2012

Downton Abbey’ vs. ‘The Walking Dead’

In a recent discussion in this paper about the Emmys, I mentioned that I thought “The Walking Dead” was a better show than “Downton Abbey.” Needless to say I got more than a few irate emails from folks who could not believe I would even dare to compare the two shows. But when you think about it, they are eerily similar in construct.


‘Downton Abbey’
‘The Walking Dead’

It's the end of the world:

Faced with the pre- and then post-war upheaval of traditional hierarchy, a disparate collection of Brits struggles to find their place in the new social landscape.
In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, a disparate group struggles to find their place in the new world order.

Main threat to old ways:

Newly ambitious servants, women and working class.
Newly voracious flesh-eating zombies.

Claustrophobic setting:

Downton Abbey
         Hershel Greene’s (Scott Wilson) farm last    
             season, an abandoned prison this season.

Embattled authority figure:

Robert, Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), so confused he almost cheats on his beloved wife.
Former Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), so confused he is no longer speaking to his wife.

That wife and her issues:

Cora, Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), peskily American, with a family agenda different from her husband’s.
Lorie Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), irritatingly narcissistic and carrying a child who may not be her husband’s.

Surprising voice of reason:

Violet, Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Her former aristocratic snobbery has softened over time, but she’s still quick with well-aimed barbs.
Daryl (Norman Reedus). His former redneck viciousness has softened over time, but he’s still quick with the well-aimed arrows.

Forbidden love:

Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) runs off to marry the Irish chauffeur (Allen Leech) despite her father’s objections.
Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) falls for Glenn (Steven Yeun) despite her father’s objections.

Disruptive love triangle:

Bates’ ex-wife (Maria Doyle Kennedy) threatens his relationship with Anna (Joanna Froggett). When she winds up dead, Bates (Brendan Coyle) goes to jail.
Shane (Jon Bernthal), Rick’s former partner and Lori’s former lover, threatens Rick’s relationship with Lori and the group. Shane winds up dead, because Rick kills him.

Housekeeping issues:

Lord Grantham is perpetually broke and wondering how he can sustain life at Downton.
There is never enough food or medical supplies and Rick wonders how he can sustain life at all.

Great costumes:

Period dress of all classes provides a window on early 20th century Britain.
Shreddy-to-wear and covered with gook evokes a truly rotten world.

Technological difficulties:

Rising age of automation and mass communication upends gracious manorial living.
Loss of electricity and mass communication upend modern life.

Rising Alpha female:

Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) finds a spine and surrenders to love.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) finds Andrea (Laurie Holden) and surrenders to no one.

Lots of extra work:

Unwashed masses for mob and street scenes.
Unwashed zombies for mob and country scenes.

No comments:

Post a Comment