After a year’s reprieve and much controversy with the ending of Season 3, aired on British TV channel, ITV1, the popular, award winning period drama from writer Julian Fellowes, ‘Downton Abbey’ returns to America on ‘Masterpiece’ PBS.
This year, more than at any other time, from the fans perspective, it has been quite difficult to keep spoilers from ruining the third Season for everyone outside the United Kingdom, literally. It has been a struggle to try and avoid learning about the plot, which has caussed unfair accusations to be directed towards a particular cast member, who will remain unnamed, in order not to give a platform to such uncanny behavior. We are speaking of a TV show, after all.
Season 2 ended with a romantic scene between the heir to the Gratham estate Matthew Crawley, played by Dan Stevens and the eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Gratham, Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery. Matthew and Mary finally, after many misunderstandings, interference, different partners and a deployment to the front lines ending in near paralysis, are on the road to happiness as he proposed while snow flakes came all around them.
This season we will see if Matthew and Mary end up getting married, all indications are that they do. We also look forward to a new character in the person of legendary American actress, Shirley McLaine who will come to add some spice to the mix and most likely anticipate some interesting interactions between her and Dame Maggie Smith who plays the Dowager Countess.
The previous season was full of drama and cliffhangers. Matthew returns from the front in World War II, with what seems to be a permanent inability to walk and becomes bitter because of it, leading him to become engaged to Lavinia Swire, played by Zoe Boyle, even if he is still in love with Mary, who at this juncture is engaged to someone else. Sadly, Lavinia succumbs to the Spanish Flu leaving a mournful fiance who has to overcome his guilt at being discovered in Mary’s arms.
The series was Masterpiece PBS’ most watched ever last year, with 17 million viewers. The controversy created by the shocking events aired on British Television in the final chapter late last year, have made it almost impossible for anyone that is in social media, not to hear of how Season 3 ends.
Rebecca Eaton, Executive Producer of PBS ‘Masterpiece’, who brings Downton to the US market, has said that the station will ‘tread carefully in making changes.’ ITV is the main funding partner for the series, so it has the territorial rights to air the show first, which is the reason why most shows have different air times in different countries, according to a producer I know.
“We want to make sure we don’t do something with `Downton’ that will hurt it in the long run,” Eaton said. This might prove to be very difficult due to the way news spread on social media, primarily Twitter. It remains to be seen what steps PBS will take to ensure the American audience doesn’t get cheated.
Downton Abbey, Season 3 premieres tomorrow, Sunday January 6 at 9ET/8C only on PBS.