Sunday, January 6, 2013

Return to House of Lord Crawley in 'Downton Abbey'

IS Lady Mary Crawley journeying to America to ride out a possible scandal? Or will she remain in Great Britain to marry her cousin, Matthew Crawley, the future Earl of Grantham – the notion of damaged goods be damned?

What of John Bates? Is the former valet to be condemned to serve a life sentence or will the truth of his ex-wife’s demise come to light and with it his release from prison? How long will it take Robert Crawley, current Earl of Grantham, to discover that his new and reluctantly engaged valet, Thomas Barrow, is the swine he really once believed him to be and cast him from “Downton Abbey”?

The above questions and others will be answered this season and possibly tonight when the Emmy-winning series makes its long-awaited Season 3 U.S. debut at 9 p.m. EST on PBS.

There are high hopes for Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) at Downton Abbey. Photos from PBS.

First-run episodes of “Downton” ended in February 2012. Fans have had to wait almost a year to learn the fate of their favorite characters in this costume drama – a 21st-century “Upstairs Downstairs,” though the latter series has its own 21-century iteration. Set in the runup to World War II, it also has to strongly recommend it beautiful sets and exquisite period costuming.

Among new developments at “Downton” this season is the arrival of Cora’s mother. She is a breath of fresh air or a foul odor, depending on the narrator. Do note that Downton is making its U.S. debut. It has already debuted in the United Kingdom.

Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) and Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) are two women who are accustomed to getting their way. They will also get in the way of each other.

Hopefully, those who don’t want to know any outcomes before they see tonight’s show have carefully avoided certain Web sites and turned blind eyes and ears to spoiler alerts. Even still, knowing is not the same as seeing. (See video above.)

For the Edwardian-period drama is so exquisitely rendered that half the treat is simply drinking in the sumptuousness with the eye.

Visit to learn more about “Downton Abbey.

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