With a lot of pomp and circumstance "Downton Abbey" premiered tonight on PBS on U.S. shores.
The 4-episode period piece - starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, and Elizabeth McGovern - scored big when it was first broadcast in the U.K. last year.
In fact, the entertaining upstairs/downstairs tale of the class struggle snagged the highest ratings since the classic hit - "Brideshead Revisited" - first stirred up the imagination of fans of the genre a scant few moons ago.
The fussy sophisticated melodrama - written by insightful Julian Fellowes - is trussed up with all the trappings of a surefire winner - a cast of intriguing (but lovable) characters, surprise plot twists, and a titillating scandal or two lurking in the wings waiting to topple the once-glorious Empire.
I expect that when the word gets "out" about one Lord and his strictly taboo dalliance with a handsome studly footman - that ratings for the "night-time" soaper - will soar in gay ghettos around the country.
Catty Queens aside, mainstream America may have a bit of a struggle keeping up with the fast pace, witty patter, and sight gags, though.
Even so, the mini-series - a gem, really - is bound to be a hit on this side of the pond because the well-produced offering appeals on a multitude of different levels
Panoramic views of the picturesque English countryside, lush captivating sets, and exquisitely-tailored costumes - are worth taking a gander at - for starters.
But, in the final analysis, it is Fellowe's captivating glimpse into a bygone era (and its staunch - but fascinating - stuffy traditions) that stirs up a host of emotions - and ultimately - manages to charm and mesmerize.