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Downton Abbey

March 2, 2013

I came into the Downton Abbey game a little late, only starting to watch the series last November.  But I quickly became obsessed.  Season 1 was AMAZING and I could see why it was such a hit.

Season 2 less so….I found myself easily distracted during Season 2.  Maybe I’m just not a fan of war stories.  But I’m not alone.  Friends and critics alike have shared how Season 2 didn’t up to the crazy awesomeness of Season 1.

And then Season 3 came along, bringing Shirley MacLaine with it and making us stand up and applaud once again….until the end.  Beware: herein lie spoilers.  Tim Goodman sums it up best here.

Tim brings up some excellent points, the main one being: know when to end a good thing.  In Britain, they know how to let a show run its course, whereas here in America, we beat a show until it’s not interesting anymore, especially if it’s animated or a procedural.  And Downton had run its course.  Everyone was happy, more or less, and things were looking up for the estate.  And while a lot of people are blaming Dan Stevens for ruining the show, I disagree.  I think it’s PBS.  If the show had stayed across the pond, I bet that the series would have ended with everyone happy and Dan Stevens not dying a horrible horrible death. But this is the most lucrative show that PBS has EVER HAD, so I’m sure they pushed the BBC and Julian Fellowes for more, regardless of the fact that the show was coming to a natural end.  Besides, Julian Fellowes is working on a new show for NBC, so he won’t exactly be giving Season 4 of Downton his full attention. 

Minor gripe: they plugged Shirley MacLaine like she was going to be on the whole season.  This was false.  She was only in the first episode.  Not fair.

The other thing I thought was interesting about this season was Thomas’ storyline.  I never ever ever ever EVER thought I would feel pity for Thomas (Rob James-Collier).  I always found him fascinating but also despicable.  And in his last moment of Season 3, I actually identified with him as someone who has been attracted to/in love with someone who is literally unattainable. Very good storytelling. 

So as Season 4 approaches filming, I know that I’m interested in seeing Edith (Laura Carmichael) coming into her own and seeing how Thomas continues to develop as a human being.  But other than that, I’m apprehensive about it.

Oh, and Maggie Smith is divine.  Kind of goes without saying, but there it is.

Bonus: For those of you who love Mean Girls as much as I do, I think you’ll find this entertaining.  Mean Girls/Downton Abbey

And whoever made this is an editing genius.

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