Just arriving at Downton Abbey for the historic escapades of the Crawleys? You’re in luck, really. The good news is you missed the whole First World War. (Note: that was bad stuff, if good drama.) The Downton Abbey story started in 1912; tonight’s season five debut begins in 1924. The twenties are starting to roar–even in England. Jazz swung in already last season, along with emancipated women–ironically this one of the few places on TV you can find the species.
The rich people are the Crawleys–the upstairs of an Upstairs/Downstairs set-up. They live in Downton Abbey, which is a grand estate. Be warned: the writers aren’t afraid to kill people. Watch with some detachment, if you can. In season 3 they killed a major character (Matthew–someone will mention him) in a car crash with his wife giving birth to their first child. So don’t be fooled by the fancy dress–it’s no armor against life’s brutality. Like rape and vengeance. The show knows it’s getting new viewers this season (big promotion) and it’ll go out of its way to catch you up. Tune in. The drama is way over the top in an excellent way–because the show works on the old assumption that you reap what you sow. May not be true. But isn’t it pretty to think so?
PBS Sunday at 9pm Eastern. Here’s the Season 4 Recap