Will this finally be the Year of Edith on Downton Abbey? All signs point to ... probably not.
As the acclaimed drama returns for its fifth season, Britain is reeling from the country taking a leftist turn in 1924. "It's the year the first-ever socialist government was elected, so they all feel very threatened by that," executive producer Gareth Neame tells TVGuide.com.
Last year, Downton Abbey went through a transitional season dealing with major loss but also laying the groundwork for what could be a very intriguing fifth season.
Before the series returns stateside on Sunday, Jan. 4 on PBS' Masterpiece, the cast -- Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech along with executive producer Gareth Neame -- attended the Television Critics Association fall previews on Tuesday to present select clips from the upcoming season. Here's what we can expect:
[WARNING: The following contains spoilers from the Season 4 finale of Downton Abbey. Read at your own risk.]
We are grateful to have Downton Abbey in our lives, but our devotion to the show is the very reason we're so irked at how it progressed this season.
Although we've come to terms with the loss of Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), it doesn't seem like the writers quite know what to do in the wake of those deaths. So much of this season felt either forced or false or just failed miserably. Has Downton Abbey lost its charm?
Before launching into the season as a whole, let's go over the highlights of the finale, shall we?
Pull out your dancing shoes, because Downton Abbey will be entering the Jazz Age.
[Warning: The following contains major spoilers from the past three seasons of Downton Abbey. If you haven't caught up yet, read at your own risk!]
It's been months since fans reeled from that shocking Christmas episode that also rocked the Crawley family, and now they're moving into the 1920s with new babies, suitors and even a musician or two. The story picks up in February 1922, when Downton Abbey is still in deep mourning for the loss of heir Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) from an auto accident.
13 reasons we want to grow up to be Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess
"Both the audience and the characters have experienced some passage of time," executive producer Gareth Neame said at PBS' Television Critics Association fall preview on Tuesday.
Gary Carr will portray the first black character on Downton Abbey during its upcoming fourth season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Season MVPs: The year's best
Carr, who will play a "charming and charismatic young jazz singer," joins returning regulars Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter and Shirley MacLaine. Some of the other new faces for Season 4 include Tom Cullen, a new love interest for Mary (Dockery), Dame Harriet Walter as Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager Countess, Nigel Harman as a visiting valet Green, Julian Ovenden as aristocrat Charles Blake, and Joanna David as the Duchess of Yeovil.