21 January 2013 2:22 PM, PST | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

Key to the enjoyment of "Downton Abbey" is the fact that the way of life it depicts is long gone, leaving us free to admire it in all of its antique-linen-and-silver-dinner-service gorgeousness without having to think too hard about its implications. It's a sneakily complicated truth that Julian Fellowes' series is unabashedly romantic about its portrayal of nobility and the serving class that supports it, and has maintained this ably for three seasons now by having the estate of its title constantly under threat. First there was the entail that might have taken Downton away from the family, then there was the war and its fallout, and this round there's been the matter of the bad investment and general mismanagement. Downton is, even in the era of the show, past its prime, a thing out of time and unnecessary, a beautiful tribute to tradition that doesn't really have a place anymore. »


- Alison Willmore

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