Paolo Braga e-mail(Login required)

Main Article Content

Authors

Paolo Braga e-mail(Login required)

Abstract

475
The article analyzes the key ideas that allowed Downton Abbey to become one of the most iconic series in the British landscape. By focusing on the show’s narrative rhetoric, we especially learn about all those aspects that find their roots in American TV shows. Downton Abbey’s creators, producers Gareth Neame and screenwriter Julian Fellowes, asserted that they modeled their show after series like ER and The West Wing. Inspired by the movie Gosford Park, Neame and Fellowes were aiming to reboot the genre of period drama. The article specifically identifies Downton Abbey’s elements of international success in the unity between its procedural arena and characters web as well as in the ability to focus organically on a general theme and to keep its tone emotionally consistent. The article ends by questioning all those lectures that look at Downton Abbey exclusively as an escapist and utopic piece. On the contrary, the article highlights the proactive nature of the show. At its dramatic core, Downton Abbey can be considered very similar to a seemingly different show like The West Wing.

References

Baena, R. & Byker, C. (2014). Dialects of nostalgia: Downton Abbey and English identity. National Identities (DOI: 10.1080/14608944.2014.942262).

Byrne, K. (2014). Adapting heritage: Class and conservatism in Downton Abbey. Rethinking History. The Journal of Theory and Praxis 18 (3): 311-327 (DOI: 10.1080/13642529.2013.811811)

Booth, W.C. (1961). The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Booth, W.C. (1988). The Company We Keep. An Ethics of Fiction. Berkeley-Los AngelesLondon: University of California Press.

Bordwell, D. (1999). Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema. Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press.

Braga, P. (2003). Dal personaggio allo spettatore: il coinvolgimento nel cinema e nella serialità televisiva americana. Milan: FrancoAngeli.

Braga, P. (2008). ER: sceneggiatura e personaggi. Analisi della serie che ha cambiato la TV. Milan: FrancoAngeli.

Braga, P. (2014). La crisi del padre nelle serie cable statunitensi. I casi di ‘Mad Men’, ‘Breaking Bad’ e ‘In Treatment’. Comunicazioni Sociali 2, 439-451.

Braga, P. (2014b). Il reframing argomentativo su istituzioni e valori nella pratica di sceneggiatura. Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del linguaggio. Numero speciale: Linguaggio e istituzioni. Discorsi, monete, riti, 26-40.

Braga, P. (2015). Words in Action. Forms and Techniques of Film Dialogue. Bern: Peter Lang.

Chapman, J. (2014). Downton Abbey: Reinventing the British Costume Drama. In J. Bignell & S. Lacey (Eds.). British Television Drama: Past, Present and Future. Second edition (pp. 131-142). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Epstein, A. (2006). Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box. New York: Owl Books.

Fahy, T. (2005). Considering Aaron Sorkin. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company.

Fellowes, J. (2012a). Julian Fellowes: Screenwriters Lecture. BAFTA Academy Lectures (http://guru.bafta.org/julian-fellowes-screenwriters-lecture).

Fellowes, J. (2012b). Julian Fellowes interviewed on the success of Downton Abbey by G. Doogue. ABC Radio – Saturday Extra. Retrieved from: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/saturdayextra/downton-abbey/4412354

Fellowes, J. (2014). Julian Fellowes interviewed by N. Harrington. Television Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television. Retrieved from: http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/julian-fellowes

Fellowes, J., Froggatt, J., Mackie, L. & Neame, G. (2011). Deconstructing Downton Abbey: A Masterclass, hosted by N. Midgley, Edinburgh International Television Festival YouTube Channel. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge7YoiGi2Ww.

Fumagalli, A. (2003). Le dimensioni retoriche del testo. In G. Bettetini, S. Cigada, S. Raynaud & E. Rigotti (Eds.), Semiotica II. Configurazione disciplinare e questioni contemporanee (pp. 459-495). Brescia: La Scuola.

Fumagalli, A. (2008). L’happy end fra logiche narrative e richieste del mercato. In M.P. Pozzato, G. & Grignaffini (Eds.), Mondi seriali. Percorsi semiotici nella fiction. LinkRicerca (pp. 139-157). Milan: RTI.

Fumagalli, A. (2013). Creatività al potere. Torino: Lindau.

Fumagalli, A. (2014). Conciliare il conflitto drammatico con un approccio positivo alla paternità: alcune esperienze. In E. Fuster (Ed.), La figura del padre nella serialità televisiva (pp. 93-119). Roma: Edusc.

Gale, B., Lloyd, C. (2013). Back to the Future. Script to screen, hosted by M. Ryan. University of California Television. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmIRh4DoUYo

Grodal, T. (1997). Moving Pictures. A New Theory of Film, Genres, Feelings, and Cognition. New York: Oxford University Press.

Leggott, J., Taddeo, J.A. (Eds.) (2015). Upstairs and Downstairs. British Costume Drama Television from The Forsyte Saga to Downton Abbey. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Lunn, J. (2014). In conversation with… John Lunn, hosted by R. McAllister. South Hill Park Live. Retrieved from: https://vimeo.com/109338937

Lunn, J. (2015). John Lunn on Downton Abbey, interview produced by H. Hirway.

Songexploder.net, Episode 37. Retrieved from: http://songexploder.net/john-lunn Marks, D. (2007). Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc. Studio City: Three Mountain Press.

McCabe J., Akass, K. (Eds.) (2007). Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond. London, New York: I. B. Tauris.

McKee, R. (1997). Story. Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principle of Screenwriting. New York: Harper Collins.

McNamara, M. (2014). TV Showrunners Roundtable: The Full, Frank Interview. Los Angeles Times YouTube Channel. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsubAF1lZkY

Mittell, J. (2015). Complex TV. The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling. New York and London: New York University Press.

Nicolosi, B. (2014). Choosing life with Downton Abbey – Season Four. Retrieved from: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/churchofthemasses/2014/01/talking-downton-abbeyseason-4/

Nussbaum M. C. (1995). Poetic Justice. The Literary Imagination and Public Life. Boston: Beacon Press.

Parker, R. (2010). Downton Abbey, ITV 1. Retrieved from: http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/downton-abbey-itv1/5017439.article

Paskin, W. (2012). Why it doesn’t matter that the second season of Downton Abbey was mediocre. Retrieved from: http://www.vulture.com/2012/02/why-it-doesnt-matterthat-the-second-season-of-downton-abbey-was-mediocre.html

Redvall, E.N. (2013). Writing and Producing Television Drama in Denmark: From The Kingdom to The Killing. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Snyder B. (2005). Save the Cat. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

Shapiro, B. (2011). Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV. New York: Broadside Books.

Smith, M. (1995). Engaging Characters. Fiction, Emotion, and the Cinema. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Tan, E. (1996). Emotion and the Structure of Narrative Film: Film as an Emotional Machine. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Thompson R.J. (1997). Television’s Second Golden Age. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Truby, J. (2007). The Anatomy of Story. 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller. New York: Faber & Faber.

Vogler C. (1992). The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

Wells, J. (1994). Writing in America. In J. Friedmann, P. Roca (Eds.), Writing long-running television series. Lectures from the first Pilots workshop (pp. 96-106). Barcelona: Fundación Cultural Media.

Metrics





Search GoogleScholar


Details

Article Details

Section
Articles