In an interview with Time Magazine, British actor Jim Carter—who plays butler Mr. Carson—is asked why he thinks Downton Abbey appeals so much to Americans. His reply:
“Every American film now, particularly the way it’s advertised in England, is a man with a gun. Everything. The posters are always a guy with a gun. The class system was never as strong in America as it was in England, so it’s unfamiliar I suppose in some respect, but it’s characters they love, stories that engage, and it’s romantic. And it’s unthreatening. You can watch with granny or with granddaughter, and men don’t have a problem watching it.”
Source: Lily Rothman, “A Proper Talk With Actor Jim Carter: Downton Abbey‘s Mr. Carson Talks to TIME,” posted online January 3, 2013.