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Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: The sequel of the 1970s classic show about an affluent family and the servants who work for the family is set five years after the original series concluded.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Apr 8, 2011
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 11, 2011
    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: Rob Owen
    Apr 8, 2011
    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.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 8, 2011
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Apr 11, 2011
    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: Verne Gay
    Apr 7, 2011
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Apr 11, 2011
    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.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Apr 10, 2011
    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. Expand
  2. Apr 10, 2011
    Everything felt like the original. The complicated individuals and their relationships with one another have been presented skillfully and at a good pace. I loved how upbeat the show is even though there are sad, bad and ugly issues making me upset, mad and disgusted. There is a lot of good in most of the characters with their flaws being brought out just a bit and those you just know you are not going to like but can't wait to see the wreck they make of their lives. It seems one already has made a mess of things and you feel badly that is happened to someone who seemed so nice. Well done. Collapse
  3. Apr 20, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I agree with jeremyp: "Downton Abbey" is much better. The last few minutes of the first series demonstrates why: though Lady Agnes and Lady Maud have spent most of the series as bigoted self-centered cows, now, as the Christmas tree is lighted and the soundtrack reaches a crescendo rarely heard outside commercials for long-distance telephone service, both ladies rock their inner madonnas, beaming beatifically at the little orphaned Jewish girl they just conspired to get rid of. The good are good, and the evil are redeemed, all but the rebellious Nazi sister, who remains evil but whose list of psychic wounds has been rehearsed so often that no doubt she'll abjure National Socialism long before Poland becomes a gleam in Hitler's eye. "Downton Abbey," on the other hand, abounds in subtle, complex characters, who do not turn into saints at the sight of a Christmas tree or the sound of a violin. Also odd, in a series that purports to be about employers and employed, is what looks like reluctance to engage seriously with issues of class. Of the "downstairs" crew, only the chauffeur struggles with questions of privilege and privation, which put him on the manifestly incorrect path of fascism, whence he correctly extricates himself and comes to heel. The rest mostly bask in the reflected glow of their betters, who regard them with paternalistic affection. When the tables are turned, as when the butler delivers Lady Agnes's baby on the bathroom floor, there's no dissonance, just a whopping pile of yes-we're-all-an-extended-family-here warm fuzzies. But some of the characters are genuinely likable, and it's fun to see the veterans from the earlier series (which I barely remember, so, for me, not too much fun), and the pre-war era is interesting, so the new series is a diverting enough way to spend a few hours. Just don't expect too much. Expand
  4. Apr 20, 2011
    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.
  5. Oct 10, 2011
    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. Expand