Downton Abbey Withdrawal

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey

 

             The third season of Downton Abbey on PBS has ended and much to my dismay with two beloved characters:  Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley meeting untimely deaths.  Both departures left me saddened by their tragic ends, but also left me wondering why Jessica Brown Findlay and Dan Stevens would leave a popular show where the audience grows every year.  I am guessing they wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the series by exploring other roles while their stars still shined brightly.  Jessica Brown Findlay is starring in new movie with Russell Crowe called Winter’s Tale and Dan Stevens recently starred in a play on Broadway called The Heiress.  I wish them all the best and I am eager to see them in new roles.  However, the series continues on with compelling story lines of the upstairs and downstairs characters.  I love watching the machinations of conniving lady’s maid O’Brien and tortured valet Thomas Barrow.  Lady Edith’s evolution leaves us wondering where her new role as magazine columnist and modern women will take her.  The third season pulled out all the stops from Lady Edith being jilted at the altar by Sir Anthony Strallan, the death of two characters, fortunes won and lost and the ultimate move from downstairs to upstairs by former chauffeur Tom Branson. 

Change in many forms have touched Downton as it moves into the post-war era world of the 1920’s, but now that the series has ended its third season we have to wait a whole calendar to get the next installment.  I, on the other hand scavenge the internet for episode spoilers when broadcasting begins in the UK  My appetite is insatiable when it comes to Downton Abbey and I can’t wait until next January for the new season to begin. I don’t feel in any way cheated when episodes finally air in the US. For me, it fills in the gaps and spoilers never give all the juicy details. 

Downton Abbey is a wonderfully written series and was like a breath of fresh air when I discovered it halfway through the first season. I have been hooked ever since.  I am not alone as the series is popular in countries spanning the globe.  Against the backdrop of so much reality TV, it’s nice to see compelling characters with dignity and grace as they bring us the world of a bygone era.  I wonder if that’s part of the appeal.  Maybe our shock value nerve has been overexposed to what’s offered on both network and cable TV.  Maybe the viewing audience was ready for a well written drama sans nudity, profanity and all the others elements that would give the show an explicit rating.  It’s also exposed me to the valuable asset of public broadcasting and I have become a financial supporter of my local broadcaster.  I am thankful for Julian Fellowes for creating Downton Abbey and grateful for PBS for bringing this show to viewers like you and me.

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