Upstairs Downstairs Recap: No Going Back

Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: Hallam tumbled fast and probably irretrievably down the douchebag rabbithole by jumping into bed with his sister-in-law, who seems to be a Nazi spy, in addition to an all-around gross human being. Pritchard got a crush, which was then, well, crushed when his lady love realized he didn’t fight in the last war, and Spargo and Beryl decided it was about time to hit the road and head to America.

A bell rings belowstairs, where the detritus from the previous night’s party are laid out on the table. Said detritus includes, oddly, a shoe. What were they all up to after that party? Spargo gently wakes Beryl, who’s asleep in his bed, and gives her some OJ. Aww.

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Upstairs Downstairs Recap: The Last Hurrah

Previously on Upstairs Downstairs: Everyone and their Aunt Blanche told Hallam his inexplicable douchery was ruining his marriage. Equally inexplicably, he chose to ignore them all and start hooking up with Persie, who’s hanging around being as useless as ever. Oh, and Spargo finally managed to score with Beryl by beating the crap out of some guy in the boxing ring. Apparently, to her, that’s social progress.

Pritchard’s at the movies, alone, watching something I feel I should recognize, but I don’t. I think it’s a Katherine Hepburn movie, but that’s all I got.

Oh, ugh, God. Hallam and Persie are actually now doing it. Or post-doing it, and acting all gross and post-coital, like this is supposed to be the cutest thing ever, when it’s adultery that makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. This is actually turning my stomach. Persie tells Hallam she wants to go out for a good old fashioned tea, and he gets playful with her. I go throw up.

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Monarchy-The Royal Family at Work: To Virginia!

It seems that periodically (usually around the time the monarchy experiences a surge of popularity), there’s some vocal whiners that raise their voices and bleat: “But what do they do? The royals just laze around and we pay for it!” Well, actually, working members of the royal family do quite a lot, and you don’t pay for all of it (only expenses incurred on official business can really be paid by the taxpayers). The queen regularly carries out something in the neighborhood of 400 official engagements and audiences every year, which means she’s doing more than one of these per day. The woman’s 85 years old. How many 85-year-olds do you know who are still doing their day jobs? Which they’ve held their whole damn lives?

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John Adams: Peacefield

Previously on John Adams: John got to be president, which ended up being an exhausting, endless fight, so he more or less willingly handed the position off to Jefferson and headed home, a private citizen once more.

It’s 1803, and John’s at his bucolic home, Peacefield. Dr. Rush arrives and is happily greeted by John, who thanks him for coming as he shows him upstairs to Nabby’s room. Seems the daughter of the house is having a health crisis. Rush sits down with his new patient and John and Abigail excuse themselves, closing the door behind them. Once they’re alone, Rush asks Nabby to tell him what’s bothering her. She informs him she feels a lump in one breast that pains her. Oh, dear God. Early 19th century breast cancer?! Yikes!

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John Adams: Unite or Die

Previously on John Adams: John and Abigail reunited and spent a few years in Europe, then returned home to find their oldest son in a relationship they don’t approve of and their second son well on his way to having a drinking problem. And then John got elected Vice President.

John is with the congress, trying to decide how Washington will be addressed. He thinks just calling him ‘president’ isn’t impressive enough. The congress is impatient but John won’t yield the floor. He proposes several methods of addressing Washington, almost all of them royalty related, aside from the last, “his excellency, the supreme commander in chief.” One of the congressmen (actually, I guess they’re senators and John’s acting in his capacity as president of the senate) reminds John that their constitution explicitly forbids the granting of titles of nobility. John says this is no such thing, it’s just a title that goes along with an elected position. They call for a vote, and only one guy is in favor of the president being referred to as “his highness.” Motion failed. One of the senators rudely pokes fun at John as they get up to leave and he just looks frustrated and defeated. Vice president is such a thankless job, isn’t it?

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Titanic: The Miniseries

Some time ago, I reported a rumor that Julian Fellowes was writing a miniseries based on the Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage. Turns out it was more than just a rumor: It’s been written, cast, and started shooting in Hungary. I was once on the fence about this miniseries, but I’m getting excited now. Once upon a time, I was a huge Titanic nerd. I knew … Continue reading Titanic: The Miniseries

John Adams: Don’t Tread on Me

Previously on John Adams: The colonies banded together and started to produce a real army, under Washington’s charge. John decided it was time to cut the cord with the mother country and declare independence, and with Franklin’s and Jefferson’s help, he managed to convince the other delegates to go along with him. On the homefront, in an attempt to protect the kids from smallpox, Abigail…nearly killed one of them with smallpox.

The Adams farm is buried under snow. John and Abigail stroll through, chatting. She exposits that the British have taken Philadelphia and that they’ve been married 14 years, only half of which they’ve actually spent living together. That sucks. Or maybe it’s the key to a successful marriage, who knows? It definitely led to some great extent letters between these two.

It’s now 1777. That night, John gently breaks the news to Abby that he’s leaving, meeting with the congress in New York. Well, that’s a little closer to Massachusetts than Philadelphia, isn’t it? You know what isn’t closer? France, which is where he’s likely to go next, to help Franklin secure French aid in the American cause. Abigail is not on board with that idea at all. She forcefully tells him he’s needed at home, because his kids need a dad and she needs a husband. Fair enough. But she knows there are bigger issues at stake, so after a tearful interlude, she asks him how long he’ll be gone. He has no idea. Bad sign.

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John Adams: Independence

I realize I should have had this up yesterday, but the thing is, my husband and I just spent the weekend moving from New Jersey to Georgia, and I was just too knackered to sit down and fight with our new cable setup and get a recap up. I’m sorry. I’ll try to be less lazy in the future.

Anyway, previously on John Adams: Boston lawyer John Adams just wanted to run his law practice and enjoy his family, but then the British started making trouble and treating the colonies like an endless ATM, so he reluctantly agreed to join the Continental Congress gathering in Philadelphia.

We open with the congress in Philadelphia, and…it’s about as boring as anything you see on CSPAN today, so it’s good to see that some things never change. One of the reps is blathering on while everyone else, John included, struggles to stay awake. The speaker proposes the colonies stop importing or exporting anything from or to Britain and that they prepare a nice little note for the king to read. John and Sam snark away about the futility of these steps and the speaker glares at them before stepping down. The congress is adjourned and John takes a minute to complain to Sam that the congress has achieved nothing, which is pretty much what he anticipated when he joined up, isn’t it?

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John Adams: Join or Die

With Independence Day right around the corner and all, I thought this was a good time to turn my attention to my own country’s history for a change. And since John Adams seems to be pretty much the only founding father with a decent miniseries detailing his involvement in the founding of the United States, that’s who I’m going with.

This miniseries basically had no choice but to be good. It’s got a great cast full of “hey, look who it is!” types, it’s based on the book by David McCullough, backed by Tom Hanks, written by Graham Yost (who did such a great job with Band of Brothers and The Pacific), and directed by Tom Hooper, who most recently helmed The King’s Speech. I think this crew would have been hard pressed to put out a crappy product, and thankfully, they didn’t. The American Revolution has never really been my historical period of choice, but this miniseries might have changed my mind. I loved it. I keep watching it (obviously), and it’s given me a whole new appreciation for one of our crankier founding fathers.

Boston, 1770. We meet our man on the cold, snowy road, riding along, slumped in the saddle, looking tired and cold. He passes a recruitment poster that says “Join or Die”, as well as two skeletons strung up with signs that say “Tory” around their necks. He barely gives them a passing glance.

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South Riding: Bad Romance

Previously on South Riding: Lydia’s mom died, and she had to leave school to take care of her siblings. Sarah almost seduced Robert, but he was too overcome with guilt over making his wife crazy to seal the deal.

The morning after the affair that wasn’t, Sarah comes tripping down the stairs to the front desk of the hotel and asks them to ring Robert’s room. They inform her he checked out early that morning. She asks if there are any messages. There aren’t. Honestly, what did she expect? Does he seem like the type to leave love notes around hotels?

Sarah drives to Mrs. B’s house, and Mrs. B’s pretty confused, because it’s Christmas Eve and she knows Sarah’s supposed to be with her sister’s family in Manchester. Sarah says she changed her mind. Probably because she wore and therefore essentially ruined her sister’s gift.

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