Lately I find myself watching long, historic, and old fashioned BBC produced Masterpiece Theater series or HBO specials. They have titles such as Lark Rise to Candleford, Downton Abby, Little Dorrit, Wives & Daughters and The Duchess of Duke Street. Most of them are about life in rural England in eighteen and nineteen centuries.
These stories are mostly about the English society's cast system and the consequence of that unjust social order on peoples lives. The stories are gripping tales of love, deception, intrigue, war, and rags to riches tales. I watch them almost none stop, season after season, episode after episode until I really have to tear myself away to do something important like sleeping or eating.
I started to wonder why I like them so much, what is it about these stories that captivate me so? I have been thinking about this for a few days now. In my mind I go over the details, like the scenery, the settings, the costumes, the storylines, and the morality. It's true that I like all of these things. There is an abundance of stunning landscapes, charming homes and grand mansions. The women's dresses are intricate and ornate, traditions are honored beguiling. But after contemplating all of these I found that none of these could make me so enthralled that I couldn't stop watching.
Then I started watching them with more scrutiny. I started to take note of the dialogue, the emotions and all the hidden meanings. Of course most of these movies are works of literary fiction by great authors and that's the main reason they are so good. But it is more than that.
I noticed that in these stories even the villains are not evil, at some point its reviled to us the source of their bitterness and we understand and forgive them. In these stories everybody is caring, loving and they often make allowances for the others mistakes. If there are injustices done, the wrongs are made right. Even the most uneducated and uncultured peasant is capable of expressing profound thoughts. People in these stories are less selfish and think of the common good more often than not. The insecurities and the peculiarities of people are explained in modern physiological terms and insights. At the end of each story all the misunderstandings are cleared up, all lovers are united, all the orphans are adopted, and the forgotten celebrated. Within these stories life is simple yet rich, people have very little but they are appreciative of what they have. The rich share their fortunes with the poor, and the poor are not beggars but proud earners and providers. These stories have friendships that are true and neighbors that are friendly. In these stories people are close to nature and they love and protect it.
These stories tug at your heart and change your mind about the human race and they give you hope.
And that is why I like them so much.