Speakers for the TV Dead: Downton Abbey

by Ethan Alter January 28, 2013 8:00 am
Speakers for the TV Dead: <i>Downton Abbey</i>

We spend the morning after Downton Abbey mourning the passing of a popular Downton resident. Needless to say, spoiler alert.

Downton Abbey: The Roads Not Taken

by Ethan Alter February 13, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Downton Abbey</i>: The Roads Not Taken

Let's face it: one of the big reasons why Downton Abbey is a hit on both sides of the Atlantic is that it's an above-average example of comfort food TV. That's not meant to be disparaging, by the way. It's a challenge to make a series that, week in and week out, engages, toys with and then satisfies the audiences' emotions without talking down to them; hats off to series creator Julian Fellowes for regularly finding ways to upset the oversized apple cart that is Downton Abbey, while also concocting believable means of turning it right-side up again. That said, we came away from last night's two-hour installment (which aired as the Season 2 finale in England -- the PBS run will officially conclude next week with the Christmas episode) wishing that Fellowes had taken a few more creative risks. Sure, you can't exactly describe the episode's ending as happy -- what with Lavinia pushing up the daisies after her brush with Spanish flu and Bates arrested for the death of Mrs. Bates -- but there were other roads not taken that would potentially have shaken up the status quo in really interesting ways. Here are the five plotlines we would have sent in a different direction.

Downton Abbey: Casualties of War

by Ethan Alter January 30, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Downton Abbey</i>: Casualties of War

Although the residents of Downton Abbey have witnessed the ravages of war courtesy of the steady stream of wounded soldiers that have passed through the sizeable manor, their own personal casualties have been limited... that is, until last night. In the opening sequence, Matthew and William go over the top for one more big charge and run straight into an explosion that leaves them bloodied and battered in a muddy pit. While both men are retrieved from the battlefield still alive, they arrive back at Downton considerably worse for the wear. By the end of the hour, one will die, while the other may find himself wishing he had. But they aren't the only people left wounded by the war. Here's our picks for last night's five biggest wartime casualties:

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