“Downton” Plays Vicious Games

I’ve been catching up with the first series of “Game of Thrones” (more on that at a later date) and have been astonished (pleasantly, excitedly) at the amount of sex and blood that the show manages to pack in. The other show I’ve been watching is the new season of “Downton Abbey.” “Downton” and “Game” couldn’t be more unalike. “Downton” is a bit of a shock with its lack of sex, violence or action of any note. What hooks everyone is a fantastic web of stories about love and class wrapped in superb, nuanced dialog, exquisite detail in both location and costume, and wonderful acting throughout. But don’t be fooled: the “Downton” folks are every bit as steely as the constantly throat-slitting barbarians on “Game of Thrones.” Viciousness can be verbal as well as pugilistic. In a war of words, I’d bet on Maggie Smith over Peter Dinklage any day.

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