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Granny's Past and a Baby Bates? Downton Abbey Season 5 Scoop

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:

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PBS' Downton Abbey Returns January 4

Downton Abbey

Dust off your fancypants, Downton Abbey fans. The British series' fifth season has a Stateside premiere date...

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Did Downton Abbey Lose Its Charm? Finale Rounds Out a Frustrating Season

Michelle Dockery, Julian Ovenden

[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?

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Downton Abbey and the Insensitive Portrayal of Rape on TV

Joanne Frogatt

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 Fellowesdefense 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.

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Downton Abbey: Lady Edith's Heartbreaking Dilemma and Bates' Trip to York

Laura Carmichael

"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 ... read more

Downton Abbey Adds Doctor Who, 24 Alums for Season 5

Richard E Grant

Downton Abbey is adding three to its ranks for Season 5, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Doctor Who and Girls alum Richard E. Grant will play... read more

Downton Abbey: What's Bates' Next Step?

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 ... read more

Sherlock Finale: Bosses Answer Burning Questions About Mary, Moriarty and Season 4

Benedict Cumberbatch

On the season finale of Sherlock on Sunday, the intrepid consulting detective was thrown for a loop not just once, but three times. We turned to series producers Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue as well as Amanda Abbington for answers. read more

Sherlock Bosses on the Finale's Chilling Villain

Lars Mikkelsen

"I've dealt with murderers, psychopaths. None of them can turn my stomach like Charles Augustus Magnussen." Sherlock Holmes meets his most heinous foe yet on PBS' Sherlock finale Sunday ... read more

Sherlock Wedding: Meet Watson's Bride Mary

Amanda Abbington, Martin Freeman, Benedict Cumberbatch

You are cordially invited to share in the celebration as John Watson and Mary Morston are united in marriage. As long as you meet the best man's standards, that is. read more

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