Downton Abbey -- Series Three (open spoilers)

PBS showed some brief previews at the Television Critics Association.

Report from California:

and from London:

Downton Abbey press pack just released:

I SO can’t wait for series three to start next month! I love all the new photos that were released today!

I discovered this show three days ago on Watch Instantly, I’ve already seen all of season 1 and am waiting for season 2 in the mail.

What a great show.

Here’s a short PBS preview:

I’m not going to say how I’m watching it now, but I buy the DVDs so it all even out in the end. :wink:

So Lord Grantham lost most of Cora’s fortune. I was wondering what’d become the major plot point now that Mary & Matthew are finally married. It’d take too long a setup for infertility (they’d have to be married at least a year before doubts would set in). So now it all depends on whether Mr Pumpkin died before Mr Swire. Nice to see Tom & Sybil again, but the Dowager Countess’s attitude isn’t much of a surprise. She’s not quite as set in her ways as she lets on. Isobel’s getting pretty insufurable though. I was wonder how Lady Mary would get on living in Crawley House with her, but I guess that’s not going to happen. Or maybe it will. Shirley MacLaine was a bit underwhelming, but hopefully she’ll have more scenes next episode. She’s already commited the cardinal sin of any guest in an English great house (being fussy about her food).

Meanwhile downstairs the new valet is pretty cute. I really hope the rumours I’ve heard about Thomas’s subplot are true. :wink: Daisy’s protest seemed really stupid. When is she ever going to learn not to listen to a thing Thomas says. It looks like Anna’s officialy Lady Mary’s lady’s maid now. What’s the deal with the new footman trying to serve the guests from the platter? :confused: I get that it’s a major faux pas, but I’m not sure exactly why. Back in series 1 they had Thomas “remind” Matthew that he was supposed to serve himself (which he already knew).

I have to say I was upset with the Matthew Mary fight, I thought here we go again. Glad it resolved and we have a new plot line for them to be tense over. Excellent.

I disagree with the assessment that Violet is not as set in her ways, I think she in fact is and that is why she sent the money, in her Victorian sensibilities, family trump everything.

Since when has a long setup deterred Downton Abbey from anything? They can dispose of two years of WWI in about five minutes of screen time. Still, I’m glad to hear that the pace seems less hyper-accelerated in Season 3.

I’m not watching at present because no access, but I like the snippets and hints in the discussion and am not worried about spoilers, so keep 'em coming.

Oh, obligatory link to David Mitchell’s recent Soapbox rant about Downton Abbey.

Great-house etiquette is very fussy about proper table service; it’s just one of those things that mark off social distinctions, as well as providing a rigid standard template of behavior so that people from all different cultures and backgrounds know what to expect. Remember that a large country house regularly entertains a lot of people, and having the same expectations and capabilities as others with regard to “proper” etiquette is an important way of showing that you belong there.

People are easily revolted by unexpected differences in customs involving eating. (Think how you’d feel even nowadays, for example, if you were at a fancy dinner and saw the guest opposite you eating the veal timbales with his fingers instead of with a fork. Consciously you might go through the process of thinking “oh, he’s from a culture where they normally eat with the fingers, and when you think about it it isn’t really any messier or sloppier than using utensils” and so on, but your immediate gut reaction would probably be “EWW!”) So it was important to have a very detailed and specific set of rules about table manners and table service, so that the elaborate ritual of a formal dinner could proceed smoothly.

That’s why the faux pas of violating a rule about table service is, as you note, major. Why this particular rule is the way it is—i.e., the guest helping him/herself rather than being given a portion by the server—is, surprisingly enough, basic common sense: helping oneself from the platter enables guests to choose the amount and type of food they want and avoid items that are for whatever reason unpleasant or forbidden to them.

It also conveys the sense of abundance in hospitality and confidence in the guests’ behavior that’s very important in a wealthy establishment. Letting the guests serve themselves says both “We have plenty of food and don’t need to fuss about how to distribute it” and also “We know that you are all proper ladies and gentlemen and wouldn’t be greedy enough to hog an unfair portion of a dish”.

Doling out the food in pre-determined portions is a mark of a less posh establishment (or a restaurant), where the hosts are taking it on themselves to determine what and how much everyone gets to eat.

I really enjoyed the Matthew/Branson bromance, but Branson was being kind of a dick to the rest of the family. It wouldn’t kill him to shut up for five seconds about English oppression, if only for the sake of his pregnant wife. And the whole date-rape drug subplot was just ridiculous.

Shirley Maclaine’s character was very one-dimensional with her constant harping on the English clinging to tradition. I hope we see a little more variety from her.

Anna and Bates: yawn.

Still pissed that I missed this series from the beginning and have not seen any of them.
Our local PBS never listed the shows by name on the cable menu, just “Masterpiece Theater” and something like “Jenny is upset with Charles” (I don’t even know the characters, but you get the idea) and no other info. I only saw the name “Downton Abbey” a couple of times in the listings, but by then the series had been going on for quite awhile.

So I guess I will have to plunk down the bucks at some point and buy the series on DVD if I want to see them all…unless someone has some other, uh, suggestion they might want to PM me? And no, I don’t have Netflix, but this might be one reason to subscribe at a later date.

At any rate, carry on - sorry I cannot join in the fun, as from what I have read, I really blew it by not seeing this series from the beginning.

Hulu Plus has series 1 and 2, unlimited streaming for 8 bucks a month, and allegedly you can cancel any time. I subscribe to Netflix and not Hulu Plus, but the latter looks like the better deal for your purposes; you could in theory and with dedication get through all of the first 2 series for the price of just one month’s subscription.

Merged alphaboi867’s thread into this slightly older thread about the third season.

(Marley23: Wow, that was quick! Just minutes after I suggested merging the threads!)

Was that a little shout-out to TWoP? :wink:

The posters there got naughty about posting links to illicit (for the U.S.) access to the new episodes, and the moderator got honked off and closed the thread for a while as punishment.

It’s now re-opened labeled as “UK” (aired Season Three episodes OK), with a separate version labeled “US” (not OK, until PBS, er, gets with the program).

So I’ve used the characters from Downton Abbey, and the events from Game of Thrones

Man, they milked the drama of the Crowley’s loosing their fortune for all of three minutes before another fortune fell in their lap.

And the new mother-in-law character was incredibly one-note.

A pretty meh start to season three.

They still need to prove that Mr Pumpkin died before Mr Swire. That’ll take a few episodes.

That was hillarious.

That’s fine, but you might want to put a spoiler warning in the thread title.

To be fair Tom did try to tone down the Irish talk after the first dinner, but then he was drugged. I’d forget Lady Sybil was supposed to be pregnant. How far along is she supposed to be? She told her mother back in Dec 1919 and it’s the spring of 1920 now.

Also I wonder if they’re ever going to address Sir Richard’s threats. It’s been over 6 years; it’s pretty stale gossip, and it doesn’t exactly make him look good either. Besides if he really wanted to fuck with the Crawleys he should do something like turn Haxby Hall into a hotel. Just imagine the Dowager Countess’s reaction to the middle-classes holidaying next door.

Sir Richard, that was a wasted opportunity. First of all, the writers could’ve made him more nuanced instead of The Villain, like if he’d truly loved Mary or admired Violet’s frankness despite her thinking of him as a climber, so that the viewer would be unsure what he really was. Then they could’ve really developed the blackmail plot with Lavinia. I can’t remember what it was now, just that it was weak. Then, have him *marry *Mary, just before Lavinia dies from the Spanish Flu so there’d be another *season *of M/M angst. Then kill him off.

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Ethel again, but it should’ve be obvious when they mentioned Mrs Crawley’s new charity. Mrs Hughes speech to Mrs Patmore seemed especially poignant; every character on the show (with the possible exception of Ethel’s bastard) would be long dead by now. Of course Mrs Levinson wasn’t going to be the saviour of Downton; that would be much to easy & it’d take too much of the burden off Matthew. Even if they save Downton how long would it last?

Come WWII it’ll probally get requisitioned for government used and the family have to live in the Dower House for the duration (it’d be especially ironic if it get’s requisitioned for the American military). The estate will end up sold off piece by piece to devolopers; and even if my some combination of miracle and excellent financial planning they keep it the Crawleys of 2012 will probally be running it as a tourist attraction (and/or renting out as a shooting location for costume dramas;)).

I also don’t see why the family keep making such a huge deal over Sir Anthony’s age. It didn’t bother anyone before the war when he was courting Edith, and that was before an entire generation of potential husbands was decimated. He’s rich & titled; her options are extremly limited, and the union wouldn’t raise nearly as many eyebrows as the Matthew & Mary, let alone Sybil & Tom’s.

Yes, I don’t understand Robert’s objection to that either. He was perfectly fine with him as a suitor for Mary. I really like Sir Anthony, I hope it works out with him and Edith.

I want to see more *action *in the Anna/Bates storyline! I love those two, but watching them just sitting across a table talking is getting kinda dull. I liked seeing Bates showing some rage against his cellmate. He’s got a dark side which I hope they delve into.

Loved the final scene in Episode 2 with Mrs. Levinson serenading Violet and her resulting facial expressions!

Best line of the night, “Oh I’m so sorry. I thought you were a waiter.”