Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Apr 7, 2011
    70
    With only three one-hour episodes, screenwriter Heidi Thomas needed more time to do full justice to the large cast of characters and the many historical and melodramatic story lines she set up.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 11, 2011
    83
    There were moments during the first two episodes in which I wondered if the series was doddering along like a blindfolded Miss Marple. Have faith. Each episode swings in unexpected directions.
  3. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    Apr 7, 2011
    100
    Watching it was just bliss, and those of you who experienced the first five seasons in real time will probably enjoy it even more.
  4. Reviewed by: Aubry D'Arminio
    Apr 5, 2011
    75
    The acting is brilliant...But mostly it's just pretty people struggling with personal problems (love, money) and doing old-fashioned things (ironing newspapers) while historical events (George V's death) unfold.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Apr 11, 2011
    70
    While the narrative never quite coheres into a compelling whole, there are enough independently arresting, unexpectedly moving moments to carry you through, hopping from one to the next like stones in a river, on the way to a strenuously tidy conclusion.
  6. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 8, 2011
    60
    Fans will find much to enjoy here. At too many points, however, these first three episodes suggest that rekindling Upstairs Downstairs is not quite like riding a bicycle.
  7. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Apr 7, 2011
    67
    This three-parter often lacks finesse and sophistication. The story is rushed or clumsily told, and the tone discordant....Watch for Atkins only. She's brilliant.
  8. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Apr 5, 2011
    75
    Set on the eve of the 1936 abdication crisis, it has melodramatic bustle and tender affection for its characters--of all classes. [18 Apr 2011, p.46]
  9. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Apr 11, 2011
    80
    It's just a touch of the veddy, veddy humor that helps make everything so delightful before the world intrudes into Masterpiece Classic's revival of Upstairs Downstairs.
  10. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Apr 8, 2011
    80
    The new Upstairs gets off to a somewhat slow start in the first of three one-hour installments, but in its second and third episodes the dramatic engines rev as the political climate of the day begins to drive the story.
  11. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Apr 8, 2011
    80
    These three new episodes, which premiered in Britain last year, are engaging, tasteful and very well-made.
  12. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 8, 2011
    100
    The performances are precise and beautifully detailed, as are the characterizations in Thomas' script. Fans of the original series will see certain echoes in some of the characters in the sequel, but the echoes are faint enough to allow us our memories of, among so many others, Rachel Gurney and David Langton as the Bellamys, Angela Baddeley as the cook and Gordon Jackson as Hudson, who was so much more than just the butler.
  13. Reviewed by: Peter Swanson
    Apr 11, 2011
    50
    We're ostensibly supposed to see Eaton Place as a warm haven holding out against the cold wind of history, but a show built around the humanity of strangers would be more convincing if the characters displayed more humanness.
  14. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Apr 7, 2011
    80
    Upstairs Downstairs sticks to the rules established by the original and defies the odds by being as good, and in some ways, even better.
  15. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 11, 2011
    70
    With only three hours to develop character and story, it can't help but suffer by comparison to the Emmy-winning '70s series that helped put Masterpiece Theater on the map, as well as to the recent Masterpiece triumph of the similarly themed Downton Abbey. But there are considerable pleasures.
  16. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 8, 2011
    70
    After a slow start, the second and third chapters become pretty absorbing, showcasing a first-rate cast--including original series creators Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh--and an interesting subplot regarding the growing Nazi threat in 1930s Britain.
  17. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Apr 8, 2011
    60
    Over a mere three episodes for this season, it is difficult to know most of the characters. Some, like Sir Hallam, seem only half-drawn. Agnes's sister Lady Persie (Claire Foy)--a debutante who's become a fascist fangirl--is repellant in an uninteresting way. There are some plot touches, involving minorities, that clang as too modern. Then again, when the Duke of Kent cries over his brother Edward's abdication--"It's the sort of thing that happens in Romania"--memories of what was so entrancing about the original show come wafting back.
  18. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Apr 11, 2011
    50
    This new, more mild Upstairs Downstairs, which makes its American premiere on PBS on Sunday night, is a three-part epilogue that feels more like an unfinished afterthought.
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Apr 10, 2011
    10
    I really enjoyed the show tonight and from what I have read the 2nd and 3rd will just get better. Apparently the Nazi Regime will be integral to the story. Full Review »
  2. Apr 20, 2011
    7
    The house is the same, at Eton Place, and Rose is still there, this time asked to hire and run staff for a new household. It's 1936 so we know WW2 is lurking, which means Nazis and Jews will be featured. We do get a Sikh, a monkey, a fascist, and an aging colonialist in the stew. We get to dislike Keeley Hawes, which is possibly why she took on the role as Lady Agnes, a snooty counterpoint to her husband's more liberal bent.

    Somehow the place seems emptier and, despite the new interior, mustier. Perhaps it's the smell of imminent decay, the musk of change in the social order? Downton Abbey is much more fascinating.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 10, 2011
    6
    While it pales in comparison to its eponymous predecessor, this reincarnation of Upstairs, Downstairs is well-done. The acting is quite good. Jean Marsh sparkles as does Eileen Atkins, and Keeley Hawes is both endearing at times and infuriating at others. A pretty good story line is dragged down by just slightly above average dialogue. Also of note are Helen Bradbury and Art Malik. While I recommend it, I can't do so without mentioning that Downton Abbey is a far superior and engrossing experience in every way. Full Review »