The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Fans look forward to third season of ‘Downtown Abbey’

Starting again in January, many Americans’ typical Sunday nights will be spent enthralled with the trials and tribulations of early 20th-century British aristocrats and their humble servants, and maybe a bowl of popcorn.

The BBC’s Masterpiece Classics is now the longest-running TV series of all time, with a span of more than four decades in the works. No show has taken the series to so much popularity, though – especially overseas – as “Downton Abbey.”

The long-awaited third season of the series is set to premier Jan. 6 on PBS.

“Downton Abbey” tells the story of the Crawleys – a very, very wealthy family – and their servants, all of whom live and breathe the one thing that ties them together – the massive estate of Downton Abbey.

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Head of the Crawley family is Robert, the Earl of Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville. He, his wife Cora – played by Elizabeth McGovern – and their three daughters Mary, Edith and Sybil – played by Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael and Jessica Brown Findlay, respectively – live “upstairs” in the estate as they struggle with the hardships that often plague the rich and powerful.

Meanwhile, a whole staff of servants lives “downstairs,” simultaneously taking care of the Crawleys’ every want and need and dealing with their own, very real, problems.

The story comes alive when the worlds of the Crawleys and their servants collide; that is what makes this show so brilliant, and so popular.

“Downton Abbey” is not only popular among viewers though; critics eat it up, too. The show has won six Primetime Emmy Awards, and has been nominated for 27 altogether in its two seasons. It has been nominated for more than 60 different awards in two years, and is the most-decorated non-U.S. TV series of all time.

It would be impossible to detail even all the characters and marvelous actors in this small space, let alone all the major plot points of the series. But a few highlights will do the reader well.

The series started off in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. This wreck affects the Crawleys in a distinct way, because although none of their immediate family was in any danger, their closest cousin and heir to the Grantham title – and therefore the Downton estate and fortune – has died at sea. This was also the cousin that was supposed to marry the eldest Crawley daughter.

This event leads to a string of others in the lives of the Crawleys and their servants, most of which involve the search and choosing of a new heir. This is where Matthew Crawley, third cousin once-removed – played by Dan Stevens – enters the scene.

Over a series of ups and downs, Matthew and Mary fall in love, and after one failed attempt at engagement – interrupted harshly by World War I – they are engaged to be married by the end of season two.

Meanwhile, Sybil – the Crawleys’ youngest daughter – is the cause of much scandal when she runs off with the chauffer, Tom Branson. By the end of the second season, it doesn’t look like there’s much hope for Edith – the middle daughter – to find the love that her sisters have.

Aside for the twisted love plots, though, the only reason you really need to get hooked on “Downton Abbey” is the presence of one woman: Dame Maggie Smith. Though the days of Professor McGonagall are long gone, Smith dawns a different kind of witch’s hat in this series.

She’s the worst of them all; the pesky, know-it-all gossiping grandmother.

If nothing else in this story has made you want to tune in, that certainly will. Add to it some perfect costuming, beautiful sets, rich dialogue and even richer drama, and you’ve got a show that’s here to stay.



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