Tom Garvey, writing in The Hub Review, tries to sort out our current culture's fascination with Downton Abbey. In his contemplation, he gets into the class/race issue:
"A series like Downton Abbeywould be unthinkablein America, even on cable - and even though a very close parallel would bepossible in, say, a Manhattan co-op. There's a doorman there, after all,and of course a janitor, and many maids and nannies and au pairs tendingthe privileged few who reside within its walls. You could do an American Upstairs,Downstairs in the Hamptons, or on Beacon Hill, or in Kennebunkport or anynumber of other American enclaves.
And yet it never occurs to us to produce such a show. We don't evenreally allow ourselves to ponder it."
At the end of his post he poses a question:
Can you think of a successful popular novel or movie in thelast generation that has been driven by economic concerns, as half of Dickensand all of Trollope and much of Eliot is? If you can, email me!