At the Television Critics Association fall previews for the Emmy-nominated Downton Abbey, PBS screened a trailer for Season 3 to a packed room in Beverly Hills Saturday. Judging from the sneak peek, when the show returns, the Crawleys will once again endure broken hearts, social hardship and Lady Violet's clever tongue.
Here are nine spoilers from the upcoming season...
According to this year's Emmy nominations, which contained some pleasant surprises among the usual annoying snubs and omissions, there's two sure-fire methods to scoring an Emmy nod: Do a costume/period drama, or be on HBO.
As expected, PBS' Downton Abbey (relocated from the world of miniseries) shook up the drama field, while the Western miniseries blockbuster Hatfields & McCoys blazed new trails for History. And after being justifiably shut out last year, HBO (as usual the nomination leader among all networks) reclaimed half the slots in the best-comedy category, for better or worse.
"It's good to remind people, love is love," says Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. And more than 15 million viewers in the U.S. and U.K. are having a love affair with the palace-size hit, which has reinvigorated period drama and earned raves around the world (100 countries have acquired rights to air the show). Far from a sophomore slump, Season 2 of the sumptuous series about life among the British gentry and their servants during World War I has broadened the story's scope to take in the violence of the battlefields and the impact of the conflict on the residents both upstairs and down.
When Downton Abbey returns for its second season on Jan. 8, 2012 on PBS, the action will pick up two years after that fated garden party in which the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) announced that England was at war with Germany.
During Sunday's preview of the hit British series, executive producer Gareth Neame confirmed that the action in the seven-episode second season will take place over two years, just like the first season. "The new series is a similar sort of span," he says. "We start in 1916. The war will come to a conclusion within this series, and the final episodes is the time after the war."