Was it really so hard finding good help in those days? When Robert, aka Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), is informed that his wife is once again bereft of a lady's maid, he overdramatically moans, "Are we living under a curse?"
There's no question a pall thicker than London fog hangs heavy over Downton Abbey in its fourth year as Masterpiece Classic's signature series (Sunday, 9/8c, on PBS; check tvguide.com listings). Not only has Lady Cora's bedchamber not been the same since her scheming servant O'Brien left — she slinks away in the opening scene, and boy, is she missed — but the family and staff are in sustained mourning over the untimely (and contrived) death, six months earlier, of heir Matthew Crawley, Lady Mary's husband, in last year's unhappy finale.
Next to Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin, my favorite Halloween TV touchstone is The Simpsons' annual "Treehouse of Horror" special, with Mad Magazine-worthy parodies of things that go "D-oh!" in the night. It's airing unusually early this year in advance of post-season baseball pre-emptions, but what better way to get in the spirit — and as a bonus for the 24th edition (Sunday, 8/7c, Fox), horror maestro Guillermo Del Toro has designed an elaborate "couch gag" opening sequence that's a kaleidoscopic homage to...