Set in the early 1900s, immediately following the 1912 sinking of The Titanic, Downton Abbey follows aristocratic family the Crawleys and their domestic servants as they navigate war, scandal, disease, and death in the Yorkshire countryside.
Though they live together, the lives of the servants and the Crawleys are very much separate and are used to show the changing social hierarchies in England and the world. Through seeing relationships develop between characters both upstairs (the Crawleys) and downstairs (the servants), viewers are immersed in the lives and personas living in Downton Abbey and truly feel a connection to the characters.
Along with the characters, the set and period-appropriate dress draw viewers into the abbey more. Sweeping scenes of Yorkshire accompany shots of grand entryways, rolling gardens with gazebos, and dressing rooms to make the cinematography of Downton Abbey just as enthralling as the plot. Although it includes many references to historical events occurring at the same time and often incorporates these events into the plot in some way, Downton Abbey is much more a drama than a historical fiction and really showcases the social changes occurring as a result of the times rather than the events that caused change.
Overall, Downton Abbey masterfully blends set, photography, and character development to create six seasons, and a film adaptation to come, of the perfect show for any viewer.