Homeland or Downton Abbey: it’s decision time

This is the great ideological clash of Sunday nights at 9. Domestic staff or domestic security - there's no sitting on the fence, only deranged lunatics watch both

Share
Related Topics

A rift is currently coursing through our nation. A divide is wrenching one half of us from the other, separating the ancien regime from the new world order; those who yearn for the past from those who get off on their fear of the future. It’s 9 o’clock on Sunday night, the dinner is eaten, the telly’s warming up, and you’ve got to pledge your allegiance. You’re either a Downton person, primed for ITV, or a Homeland one, glued to Channel 4. Chamberpots or despots, corsets or al-Qa’ida, PLU or CIA. Domestic staff or domestic security. Which is it to be?

Unless, of course, you’re one of the deranged lunatics who is trying to watch both – and this is what’s really causing all the bother. One of those people who likes telly, and so joins others on Twitter who like talking about telly, and then goes aaargh don’t talk about the telly until I have finished watching the telly, all of the telly? “TSK NO SPOILERS,” they shout, barging into other people’s online conversations about whether Saul in Homeland is actually turning out to be a baddy. (Saul! My great bearded breathy man of Arab learning and humanitarian hope! Whose devotion to his job caused his wife to leave him with sadness in her wandering eyes! Oh, Saul. Informant I can handle, actual baddy – no, no, no!)

There are people now trying to instigate a Twitter moratorium whereby you can’t talk about either Downton or Homeland until two days afterwards, so everybody has had a chance to catch up. I wish them good luck with this ban. It seems so workable! No but really, the actual solution is for people to pledge their allegiance here. Nail their colours to the mast. Decide to like only one kind of drama. What is this – a post-modern age in which people are allowed to enjoy more than one thing in their lives? Honestly. And so, I remain firm on this point – you’re either Downton or Homeland, not both.

Do you prefer your characters to die in childbirth, or at the hands of a rogue sniper?

The two shows both deal with men coming back from a war, but in Downton it’s English chaps after the First World War, whereas Homeland has American marines home from Iraq. Would you rather your soldier returned from captivity unexpectedly Muslim, or from the trenches unexpectedly gay? Do you prefer your characters to die in childbirth, or at the hands of a rogue sniper? Are you sucked in by layer upon layer of espionagey plot twist and double-crossing brainiacs, or would you rather watch the class system unravelling all around a footman and a scullery and someone called  Lady Sybil?

Of course, you could be the rogue viewer who is happily filling that 9pm Sunday slot with Andrew Marr’s History of the World on BBC1, but then we know the ending to that one already.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Fifi Geldof (left) with her sister Pixie at an event in 2013  

Like Fifi Geldof, I know how important it is to speak about depression

Rachael Lloyd
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering