BY JULIETTE HUGHES
Why are people even bothering with The Shire? The genre is ‘dramality’ something that we should all be wary of. You could empty a thesaurus looking for the exact combination of descriptors that would distil the putrid essence of this program but that would be to expend far too much energy on it.
So I will only tell you that its ethos, its look, its very concept made me depressed and also worried that its values might infect a whole generation of schoolkids with even more vapidity than they already have imbibed from our trash culture.
It’s not that the morals of the characters in The Shire are any worse than those of fictional characters or of real people, however. But somehow the dramality format makes them more toxic.
Why? Let’s explore a proper drama to compare.
The writer of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes, is often accused of snobbery. But he has a neat way of making the viewer compare the actions and ethics of the different classes, and many of the servants come off as far more moral and admirable than the aristocrats.
The flawed characters of Downton Abbey are presented in a way that encourages us to contemplate and question not only what happened during the period it portrays but by extension stimulates discussion of what is happening now.
The Shire and Downton Abbey (Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting)