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.
Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith
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:
I tried to give Downton Abbey the benefit of the doubt. I tried to stave off my judgments until I had given the show time to prove me wrong, to prove that this wasn't just another case of rape as cheap and consumable entertainment. But here we are at the end of the season, and my frustration has only grown.
Downton's fourth season notoriously featured the show's most beloved character, Anna (Joanne Froggatt), being violently assaulted by a visiting valet. But contrary to creator Julian Fellowes' defense that he wanted to "[explore] the mental damage and the emotional damage" that follows sexual assault, I still have very little idea how Anna has been intimately affected by this tragic incident. Instead of parsing Anna's psychological state, the show continued its violation of her character by immediately shifting the dramatic tension to questions about how Bates (Brendan Coyle) would respond.
"Sometimes, I don't think God wants me to be happy." Poor Lady Edith. On Sunday's Downton Abbey, the second Crawley daughter is still dealing with the dilemma of becoming an unwed mother in 1920s polite society. On top of that ...
Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt
Mr. Green better watch his back. On Sunday's Downton Abbey, Bates (Brendan Coyle) finally got tipped off about Anna's (Joanne Froggatt) assailant when ...
Gary Carr, Julian Ovenden, Tom Cullen
How many gentlemen does it take to fill the void left by Matthew Crawley? A whole bunch will get the chance to try on the new season of Downton Abbey. "The loss of much-loved characters is real dramatic rocket fuel that enhances our storytelling," says executive producer Gareth Neame. "As much as people were devastated by the loss of Matthew — with some people almost grieving as they would for a real person — those are the dynamics of this show." No one is suffering more than widowed Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). "We do see quite a bit of the Mary she was before she met Matthew, that icy iron-maiden quality," says Neame. "It's going to take an awful lot to get her back to life." She'll get some help from three handsome men when Downton returns to PBS's Masterpiece on January 5...