Pop Rocks: Downton Abbey and PBS Are Screwing Up My DVR

There is no point in denying how much I enjoy Downton Abbey. The drama, the stiff upper lips, the pale British complexions...the freaking Dowager Countess, I'm enthralled. Which is exactly why PBS's delivery of the Sunday night period drama is absolutely killing me, at least from a modern, first-world-problems, technological standpoint.

You see, I set the DVR for most shows I watch. This is not because I want to watch them over and over -- though, watching Maggie Smith's character snipe one more time at anyone is worth saving -- but because it gives me the opportunity to watch at my leisure and, best of all, avoid having to see commercials. With Downtown the latter is irrelevant but the former is certainly convenient.

Unfortunately, PBS airs Downton as part of its Masterpiece Classics series. While this might be good for them and may even make the show sound more prestigious than it is, it means that my DVR cannot figure out the difference between Downton Abbey and some Sherlock Holmes mystery. The end result is a DVR full of stuff that I am not going to watch and have to sift through to find the Granthams.

Try to understand that I'm a guy. Sundays, at least some of them once the new delayed season of Downton starts, are often filled with manly pursuits like football. While I appreciate the delicate subtlety of British aristocracy scandals as much as the next dude, I am not apt to go so far as delving into a marathon of adaptations of Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters. This is all, mind you, completely ignoring the fact that my most recent Saturday was spent addressing thank-you cards, eating baked tofu and watching the remake of Flowers in the Attic because I am obviously husband of the year material.

Downton represents a soft ending to the weekend. There are certain things that are just good for curing the Sunday Blues. Watching Mrs. Hughes drop some truth on Mr. Carson in that deep Scottish brogue is most definitely one of them. Sunday Night football is another. Margaritas might be one, too, but I digress.

My point is that I want all the charm of early 20th-century England but the convenience of 21st-century technology. If PBS could only accommodate me, I might consider watching more public television, even during the pledge drive!

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