Downton Abbey Christmas specials were originally conceived by ITV as stand alone, made-for-TV-movie style one-offs, usually Christmas themed, much like the Christmas day programming on rival channel BBC. But by the second year, which coincided with Season 3 and Matthew’s departure, it was obvious that Downton’s enormous American audience would not be seeing the special that way. Since PBS insists on starting the season in January when the competition is lightest, the special was ending up lumped in at the end of the run, as an extended season finale.
Violet: “Lord Sinderby, Branson and Barrow. Not what I call a recipe for a peaceful week’s shooting.”
Isobel: “Makes you wonder what they’ll be shooting at, by the end of it.”
With that awareness in mind, the Christmas episodes have become less one-off like and more season finale. Last year was not even set at Christmas, but instead the height of the London season. This year she show returned to a more Christmas-y roots, with a hunting party, a huge tree and the action halting altogether at times for characters to sing carols. (That couldn’t have anything to do with the Downton Christmas album tie in, could it?) But even so, though there was a nearly eight week wait in the UK between this episodes and last weeks, this deliberately played as a wrap up of all the story lines from the year.
Continue reading Downton Abbey Season 5: For The Love of Christmas
I don’t know what the speech is, but it certainly looks like a very bad idea.
(PBS has not put their trailer on line, so we’re going with the ITV version. Certainly interesting, no?)
A fabulous supercut of Violet’s bitchiest moments.
We ran this back when it first hit the web in November, but with this Sunday being the Christmas special, it seemed timely to run it again. it’s a sneak peek at the special, that came with the Season 5 DVD.
Meanwhile, for those who have been trying to keep themselves spoiler free, that castle in Northumberland that Lady Sinderby took it upon herself to rent last week, in order to help facilitate this Christmas special is none other than Alnwick Castle, AKA, Hogwarts. PBS thought they’d have a little cross over fun with the cast…
Continue reading Downton Abbey: Christmas Preview, Plus a Harry Potter Game
We’ve got a two-fer this morning. First up, the cast deep dives into Sunday’s episode.
Then, since Sunday was technically the end of Season 5, we’ve got a full overview of the whole season, leading into next Sunday’s Christmas special.
Continue reading Downton Abbey Extra: The Cast and Producer on Episode 8
Downton Abbey has been such an exercise in frustration this season. From plot recycling to a general lack of investment in the characters’ emotional arcs, I’ve wondered why I’m still tuning in at times. And yet people are. Downton Abbey‘s numbers rival and in places surpass that of FOX’s “runaway hit” Empire. So why are we all still watching?
Lady Mary: “I am not ‘Miss.’ I am Lady Mary Crawley.”
Inspector Vyner: “I don’t care if you’re the Queen of the Upper Nile.”
Because, in the end, Downton is effective comfort television. This week’s episode was the end of the regular season, and nearly everyone had a happy ending. (Next week is the Christmas special which aired six weeks later.) Barrow used his evil powers in the service of good, and met his new foil in the delightful Denker. (FETCH THE CASE, SPRATT.) Granny got a proposal (of sorts.) Daisy had her mind opened, both the art and to the people who love her. Mrs. Patmore’s nephew got honored. Edith’s Marigold was recognized as the third grandchild by the family patriarch. Branson promised he’d stay until
the wind changes, err, the Christmas Special taped, err, his contract ran out before leaving for Boston. (An Irishman in Boston? How unexpected.) Branson also took a moment and told Edith what the entire audience wanted to say to her, which is to take Marigold and go back to London and run her damn newspaper already.
And of course there was Rose’s wedding. Gillingham and Mabel even showed up all engaged, to make sure that loose end was firmly tied up nicely. Meanwhile the bad guys this week not only lost, but as Susan MacClare, Lady Flintshire complained, they then had to sit there and take it while everyone else was happy. The ultimate punishment!
Continue reading Downton Abbey Season 5: All’s Well That Ends Well
Since Downton fashion is probably my favorite thing about this season, let’s check out the design work that goes into all those gorgeous outfits with designer Anna Mary Scott Robbins.
After the jump, every discusses Mary’s best decision this season–to bob her hair.
Continue reading Downton Abbey: Styles of the Times