Typically, whenever someone tells me about a show I “just have to watch,” I instinctively don’t want to watch it.

It drives my husband crazy, but he’ll admit it is so rewarding when he finally convinces me to sit down and watch something he loves.

I’m not sure where this rebel streak in me originated, but I know it has probably caused me to miss out on a lot of good television and movies over the years.

When I was in my junior year of college, I lived with three other girls who were – and are still – my best friends. We did everything together in those days: grocery shopping, hosting game nights, cooking dinner, and even decorating our apartment for Christmas (imagine four 130-pound girls shoving a 6-foot real Christmas tree through their front door). There was really just one thing I couldn’t make myself do with them, and that was watch Downton Abbey.

They loved that show. They would watch it together each week when a new episode came out, and the next day they’d talk about it at the table during breakfast. They even had inside jokes with each other from the show.

Despite their TV-borne bond, I never really felt left out, because I just wasn’t interested. The name of the series sounded cheesy and boring to me, and at the time I didn’t care much for shows set in other time periods.

My sweet friends would beg me to give it a try and watch it with them, tell me it was so good, and that I would be hooked if I just watched one episode. In the end, I just couldn’t be convinced, and for years I did not dare start watching the show.

Fast forward to 2020, the year I burned through every show and movie I thought looked good on Netflix and Amazon. There wasn’t much left, except for the shows others had raved about in the past that I couldn’t get behind; among them was Downton Abbey.

It all started with The Crown. I started watching it after my sister-in-law mentioned it on a family Zoom call. I trust her judgment on these things, so I thought to myself, “if she is watching it, it had to be good!”

So on my days off, I would work through a couple episodes in the afternoon, then a few more, and a few more.

I was hooked.

It only took me about a month to finish the series, and to keep from having withdrawals, I started watching every documentary about the royal family that I could find and every British period show I could find.

I started Downton Abbey a few weeks ago, and though I struggled through the first episode while cooking dinner, it wasn’t long before I started really getting swept up in the plot line (and their outfits!).

It is definitely a show you have to pay close attention to at first, to make sure you understand who each character is and what’s happening. However, the attention it requires is worth giving as you observe all of the drama happening around them.

If you haven’t given Downton Abbey a shot yet, you’re missing out – and if you’re one of my friends who have been trying to convince me to watch this show for years, I am sorry it took me so long.

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