J.J. Abrams, super-sci-fi geek, is a Downton Abbey super-fan: ‘It’s absolute soap opera’

jj abrams

This is a Twitter photo from May of this year – JJ Abrams taking a set tour of Downton Abbey and getting threatened by loveable Mrs. Hughes. And yes, that is THE JJ Abrams. The producer/director/writer responsible for Alias, Fringe, Lost, Felicity, the Star Trek reboot, and as of late, he’s in charge of the Star Wars sequels. He’s very sci-fi, very spy-gadgets and supernatural and space stuff. But, as it turns out, JJ Abrams is a MAJOR Downton Abbey nerd. He was interviewed by Metro UK this week, and in between discussing his work on the Star Trek franchise and his future work on Star Wars, JJ discussed his love of all things Downton. See? DUDES WATCH IT TOO.

Metro: You visited the set of Downton Abbey. What do you like about it?
JJ: It’s absolute soap opera done triple-A plus. The characters go places you never expect and the rules of that society allow for wonderful storytelling because there is behaviour that’s forbidden, which barely exists any more. It’s cleverly written and brilliantly cast. It lets you enjoy what is, at the core, a pulpy family drama but done with such respect and regard for the characters, you feel they’re all alive. And think of how many there are – I thought we had a lot of characters on Lost but it’s amazing they’re able to spin that many plates and make you feel for them all.

Metro: Would it benefit from added lens flare?
JJ: That’s the only thing it’s lacking – an enormous amount of lights directed into the camera. That would improve the show at least ten times.

[From Metro]

I love him a little for joking about his overuse of lens flare (it IS excessive). But how cute is it that he’s all about Downton? I was feeling so guilty for my subdued excitement about seeing the new season (and no, I haven’t watched the pirated copies yet, I’m waiting for it to air on PBS), but now I don’t feel guilty. The soap opera thing is how I always justify watching Downton to myself and to other people – like, if I outright acknowledge that it’s just a soap opera with great costumes, somehow that means that it’s okay to watch it because I’m not treating it like a “real” drama. Sigh… okay, now I’m totally excited to see who Black Widow Crawley kills (with her vagina of doom) next. I’m also looking forward to seeing how much she hates her baby. It’s going to be amazing.



Photos courtesy of WENN.

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11 Responses to “J.J. Abrams, super-sci-fi geek, is a Downton Abbey super-fan: ‘It’s absolute soap opera’”

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  1. T.Fanty says:

    I think both Abrams and DA are equally crap, so to my mind, it’s entirely appropriate that he likes the show.

    (and apologies to all the people who like DA)

  2. mk says:

    Obviously. Star Trek is a space opera.

  3. ncboudicca says:

    Funny, because I was on a plane the other day and my eyes were drawn to the screen of the man next to me, who was watching the latest Star Trek movie. At first my eyes kept wandering over everytime I saw CumberKhan being a badass, but then I started noticing that when Spock and Kirk talk to each other, it’s always very dramatic and very soap opera-esque because one of them is always facing the camera (usually Kirk) while the other character talks to the back of their head. This strikes me as a very soapy technique, to have both characters facing the camera and never making eye contact. So overly-dramatic.

  4. Snazzy says:

    I really do love both Star Trek and DA — is that bad ?

  5. An says:

    Downton is AMAZING! How could anyone not love it? This season is great so far, only one ep+christmas special left though.

    Maybe I should point out that I’m a major sci-fi nerd too. :)

  6. Singtress says:

    My worlds are colliding!!!

    (I haven’t been able to find the new season yet…. (hint)….)

  7. St says:

    I died at “to see who Black Widow Crawley kills (with her vagina of doom) next” :)

    At first I was like: “Wait, what? Mary did not kill anyone”. And then I got to the vagina part. And was like: “Oh, yeah. Well, that’s true actually”.

  8. Maria says:

    The new DA is great!! Onto episode 7 here in the UK :) you’ve got lots of indulgence to look forward to, they aren’t disappointing! :D

  9. Ally8 says:

    LOL about the lens flares. Although I actually like the effect for a sci fi flick, I LOVE the mockery of them in the Honest Trailer takedowns of the two Star Trek films. I cannot recommend those enough. I weep with laughter every time I watch them. (YouTube them!)

    No affiliation — I just love pointed movie criticism… As much as I enjoyed both of the latest Star Trek films, there really is some raging nonsense in the scripts.

  10. Jessica says:

    LOL, JJ and his lens flares. They’ve become a running joke with him and the media, I guess, but they work in Star Trek. He may go a bit overboard on them, but as far as the purpose of them I get it.

    I’m really interested with what he will do to Star Wars Episode VII. I read that he and Kasdan are taking over the writing for the script, I don’t know if that is good or bad, but Kasdan did Empire and Raiders so hopefully it will turn out well.