Daniels does not contextualize the series; he does not ask, why, during the most severe economic downturn in recent memory, has a show that lays bare class disparities become widely popular? For him, the very fact that the series allows the "Have-some, Want-Mores' to fantasize about being fabulously wealthy is enough to explain the series' appeal. Look, he seems to say, even the servants are sophisticated and stylish. See, being poor isn't so bad. But this is far from the truth.
"Downton Abbey" owes its popularity to the frustration of a middle class that is facing imminent proletarianization. As Slavoj Zizek writes in "The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie", the protests that have swept through much of the industrialized world "are not proletarian protests, but protests against the threat of being reduced to proletarians." Viewers see in the relationships between the servants and the gentry a reflection of their own relations with their bosses and managers. Frustration with the corporate hierarchy renders the class struggle seen in "Downton Abbey" a visceral representation of the real challenges faced by workers today.
What Daniels does get right is that the series glamorizes the beleaguered servants of the Grantham estate, putting a human face on bitter class relations. "The series portrays an aristocratic world in which butlers and footmen dress far better than today's billionaires." For the workers of today, the perceived luxury to which the servant class has access in "Downton Abbey" is attainable only in dreams. And when the show is over and the TV is turned off, the viewers must return to the drudgery of the labors, be it blue collar or white collar, left with only the empty hope that someday all the hard work they've been told to do will finally result in the promised riches.