Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012

Downton Abbey Returns

By David Luhrssen
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 As “Downton Abbey” season three begins, World War I has ended and Lady Mary is rehearsing her wedding with Matthew. But the arrival of Sybil and her Irish chauffer husband sparks tension around the dinner table and a shadow has fallen over Lord Grantham’s face. His wartime investments have gone bust and there may not be enough money to sustain the Abbey.

An international hit, “Downton Abbey” is one of the most popular among prestige British films and television series. It has the charms of that by now well-defined British heritage genre, complete with a grand country manor rising from verdant lawns and an “Upstairs Downstairs” division of attention between the drawing room above and the servants hall below. The grandeur of aristocracy is balanced with a critique of the class system. There is much Jane Austen-steeped intrigue over inheritances and “Brideshead Revisited” nostalgia for a way of life about to slip into the past.

Season three runs on MPTV 10.1, Sundays, Jan. 6-Feb. 17.

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