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TV review: ‘Downton Abbey’

Mallie Imbler, Hi-Times Staff Writer

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“Downton Abbey,” a period drama set in the early 1900s, returned for a fifth season on Jan. 4. The show opened six months after we last saw the Granthams, but the issues of last season seem to remain unsolved. The first episode begins with Edith riding her bike to the Yew Tree Farm to see Marigold, who viewers learn Mr. Drewe has discovered to be her daughter. Also, Tony Gillingham reappears as the only suitor on Mary’s mind – disappointing to those of us on team Charles Blake.

“Downton” is still struggling with an ever changing society after WWI in season 3. Viewers can see things beginning to vary from the traditional ways Robert and Carson both treasure. All within episode 1 Carson takes Robert’s post as head of a town committee, Daisy learns math, the Dowager Countess plans matchmaker, and Mary and Tony make plans to become lovers. This turn of events is nothing like what was seen in the first four seasons; however, I find these changes to be somewhat refreshing from the solemness most of the characters experienced last season. 

This season promises more action. Committed and addicted viewers like myself hope this season provides answers to many questions from last season such as: What happened to Edith’s lover, Michael Gregson? Did Bates really murder Tony’s valet, Mr. Green? Which suitor, if either, will Mary choose? It remains to be seen which of these plot lines will continue to develop throughout this season.

The show’s loyal U.S. fans turned out in the millions, 10.1 million to be exact, for the fifth season premiere, making it the highest rated drama in PBS history. In fact, in season 3 it became one of the most watched television shows in the world. Critical praise has won the show 42 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, the most for any international television series. 

If you do not seem to understand why your friends are speaking in British accents and saying things like, “There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends: that’s the real test,” chances are you are not one of the millions of people who have become addicted to the show.

The good news is: “Downton” is a miniseries, meaning there are only 7-8 episodes in a season, making it easy to catch up on. “Downton Abbey” will continue to air on PBS at 8 p.m. on Sundays, so grab your floppy hat, teacup and a freshly baked scone, and allow the show to transport you to 20th century Yorkshire, England.

I give “Downton Abbey” five out of five stars.

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The online collaborative home of The Hi-Times, WTHS and The Album
TV review: ‘Downton Abbey’