Emmy Watch: The Decline and Fall of 'Downton Abbey'

Emmy Watch: The Decline and Fall of 'Downton Abbey'
As hulking and lavish as the Titanic, "Downton Abbey" appears unsinkable -- especially when it comes to Emmy voters and fans. But the series, whose first episode began with news of that famous ship's North Atlantic disaster, is not immune to rough seas. Does the disappointing fourth season of "Downton" foretell a coming crash? At the outset, creator Julian Fellowes' progressive twist on "Upstairs, Downstairs" fleetly commanded a sprawling cast of masters and servants through the domestic melodramas of pre-World War I Britain. Though never as diamond-sharp as Fellowes' own "Gosford Park" (2001), directed to perfection by Robert Altman, "Downton" enjoyed the same lively energy. The title sequence, a fluid montage of sunny grounds and open shutters, gas lamps and chandeliers, distilled the series to its bright essence: "Downton" suffused even its bitterest developments (drowned heirs, miscarriages, dead Turkish paramours)...
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