Downton Abbey Renewed for Season 3

By Seth Abramovitch

Nov 03, 2011

Here’s some great news to anyone addicted to Downton Abbey, the U.K. period drama set in the early decades of the 1900s, about an aristocratic family and the household staff who wait on them hand and foot. The show has been picked up for a third season—uh, I mean “series”—consisting of eight episodes that will follow the Crawley household into the roaring, post-war 1920s. The second season, also eight episodes, is just about to wrap up its initial run in Britain, and will premiere in the U.S. on PBS’s Masterpiece Theater on January 8, 2012.

What makes Downton Abbey, which swept the Emmys in the miniseries or TV movie categories, so delicious? For starters, there’s nothing stodgy about it, as each scene is filled with the titillating promise of sex or death—and, on the rare occasion, both. Sibling rivalries, conniving coworkers, whirlwind romance and forbidden love—all of it plays out against the grounds of a stunning English estate in rapid decline. There’s also an obsessive amount of attention paid to detail: A meal service, a fox hunt, or simply getting dressed for the day with the help of one’s valet are all transformed into visual poetry. (There have been complaints that the second season has incorporated several anachronistic turns of phrase, with one character even going so far as to exclaim, “As if!” But seeing as it hasn’t aired in the U.S. yet, I’ll reserve judgment.)

And then, of course, there’s Dame Maggie Smith, who plays Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham—the uppity grand matriarch of the Crowley clan. Smith is clearly having the time of her life delivering the stinging and hilarious dialogue written for her by series creator Julian Fellowes (who won an Oscar for Gosford Park). The role earned her the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. Two more seasons! Hooray.

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  • JocelynAlexan Feb 28, 2012

    I absolutely love Downton Abbey. I found seasons 1 and 2 on dvd. I can't wait for the 3rd season.

  • Cris2Cats Feb 15, 2012

    Is that September in the UK or the US??? I am anticipating going into withdrawal after Sunday's episode!

  • MirandaGregor Feb 12, 2012

    The 3rd season does not come out till September

  • MirandaGregor Feb 12, 2012

    It was season 2 that showed on PBS's Masterpiece Theater rather than season3 starting on January 8th, and there is nothing so far on the schedual for the 3rd season

  • NatalieGtlich Jan 22, 2012

    I nearly had a small fit when I watched the final episode of season 2... Seeing the electronic Christmas lights in the Downton Abbey Christmas tree!! I had to pause and google... it seem they were invented in 1917!?? Still... they looked so much like the ones we have today? #QuestioningAuthenticity. I'm not being picky it just seemed to take some of the excitement out because as they were taking the tree off the back of a truck I wondered what they use as lights.. i though candles... then I see the boring old things we have today! :) lol

    CANT WAIT for season 3.... anyone have any idea when it airs? or if they have even filmed it yet?

  • RosaGraham Jan 13, 2012

    When does the next series start anyone? Would be very useful to know :D

  • MirandaGregor Feb 12, 2012

    September 2012

  • Pemberly Jan 02, 2012

    Loved Season 2, waiting for Season 3 now

  • blah Jan 02, 2012

    Does anyone know when season 3 will start airing?

  • MartineKaram Jan 01, 2012

    I am so glad that a third season is on the way ! Being french I happen to be a real lover of english language as I spent six years in England in the seventies ! I remember watching 'Upstairs downstairs' in those days. Maggie Smith is such a wonderful and talented lady I cannot wait to watch the following season !

  • rhondahimes Dec 30, 2011

    LOVE, LOVE LOVE this Series and can't wait for Jan 8th.

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