Whatever weaknesses in the writing, the WWI time setting and the Spanish Flu make for great drama. And the cast which includes Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith among other terrific, but lesser known in U.S., actors is great.
In one sense, it's simply a soap. But in reality it is great TV with a relatively chaste romantic storyline.
And the fact that it's great TV with high production values is why it received 11 Emmy nominations last year and won for
- Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie,
- Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (Julian Fellowes),
- Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Dramatic Special (Brian Percival),
- Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie (David Katznelson),
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie (Maggie Smith), and
- Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Susannah Buxton and Caroline McCall).