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Downton Abbey - (S06E09)

Romance . Drama

The Downton Abbey estate stands a splendid example of confidence and mettle, its family enduring for generations and its staff a well-oiled machine of propriety. But change is afoot at Downton — change far surpassing the new electric lights and telephone. A crisis of inheritance threatens to displace the resident Crawley family, in spite of the best efforts of the noble and compassionate Earl, Robert Crawley ; his American heiress wife, Cora his comically implacable, opinionated mother, Violet and his beautiful, eldest daughter, Mary, intent on charting her own course. Reluctantly, the family is forced to welcome its heir apparent, the self-made and proudly modern Matthew Crawley himself none too happy about the new arrangements. As Matthew's bristly relationship with Mary begins to crackle with electricity, hope for the future of Downton's dynasty takes shape. But when petty jealousies and ambitions grow among the family and the staff, scheming and secrets — both delicious and dangerous — threaten to derail the scramble to preserve Downton Abbey. Created and written by Oscar-winner Julian Fellowes, Downton Abbey offers a spot-on portrait of a vanishing way of life.

Episode Title: Christmas Special 2015
Airs: 2015-12-25 at 04:00 PM
  • Mary McNamara

    Downton Abbey, which premieres Sunday, is this generation's "Upstairs, Downstairs," both in theme--the daily dramas of a titled British family and their many servants--and in stature.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    The next great "Masterpiece Theater" series has arrived.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Fellowes does know how to write some tasty dialogue, especially for Maggie Smith....The other performances are equally winning, but beyond that, you can't help feeling these actors are having a jolly good time with all this overblown fluff. And so will you.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Matt Roush

    Watching Downton Abbey is like curling up with a really satisfying book, and I can't think of a better way to get through one of the crueler months of winter. This is one of those shows that after finishing it, I immediately began to envy those who had yet to experience the pleasure.

    TV Guide Magazine Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    There are worse sins than looking like a Jane Austen movie. In fact, with PBS' latest British hit import, the unfailingly entertaining Downton Abbey, it might even be a blessing.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Dorothy Rabinowitz

    There is no mystery about the potency of this series, slathered in wit, powered by storytelling of a high order.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    From virtually any angle, though, Downton Abbey is an almost peerless piece of real estate.

    Variety Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    This extraordinary upstairs-downstairs drama, written by Oscar-winning "Gosford Park" screenwriter Julian Fellowes, is a dramatic, intelligent, soapy, comic, and wise piece of work, one that explores social shifts on the eve of World War I while delivering a remarkably engaging cast of characters.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    As a new year begins, viewers will be hard-pressed to find a more sumptuous, engaging drama than the "Masterpiece Classic" miniseries Downton Abbey.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    Snobs may sneer that the series could more accurately be called "Remains of the Gosford/Upstairs/Brideshead Revisited Park." But there are times when a sincere imitation is not only better than nothing--it's nearly as good.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Swanson

    For every Mrs. Patmore, the cook who wants nothing more than to stay in service the remainder of her life, there is a housemaid such as Gwen (Rose Leslie), who dreams of becoming a secretary in a modern office. It's these dichotomies, and the way they exist within both the Abbey itself (half the rooms have electricity and half don't) and its multifaceted inhabitants that make Downton Abbey not only the best soap opera currently on television, but one of the most relevant as well.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Jeanne Jakle

    There are plenty of jolts throughout: bigotry, rape, a possible murder. However, as is normally the case with Downton, it's the quieter moments that shine brightest.

    San Antonio Express-News Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    If some plot elements in the third season seemed forced (and they did), then Fellowes seems to have completely regained his balance in the fourth season. And that balance means expertly bouncing between the upstairs and downstairs worlds of Downton, letting the plot turns flow naturally, carrying us along joyously for the posh ride.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • June Thomas

    Downton Abbey manages to be reassuringly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh.

    Slate Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    It's quibbling to say that it feels at times as if Downton Abbey had been custom-designed for those of us for whom period romance is mother's milk, studded as it is with plucky heroines, accidental heirs and scheming dowagers, with just enough history thrown in to make the melodrama seem highbrow. It's not, really, though. It's simply delicious fun.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    Now, I wouldn't say I loved it. Parts of it I didn't even like. I became quite engaged with what was going on downstairs with the servants, while I found virtually everything having to do with the Granthams (at least the parts unrelated to how they dealt with the staff) a chore to get through.

    Hitfix Full Review
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  • class differences

  • kitchen

  • family act

  • location in title

  • husband wife relationship

  • american

  • mother daughter relationship

  • father daughter relationship

  • walking stick

  • feminist

  • sister sister relationship

  • sibling rivalry

  • homosexual

  • gay

  • smoking

  • reform

  • earl

  • fictional town

  • employer employee relationship

  • boer war veteran

  • butler

  • upstairs downstairs

  • costume drama

  • aristocrat

  • period drama

  • yorkshire

  • servant

  • england

  • country estate

  • country house

  • class system

  • high society

  • aristocracy

  • manor

  • housekeeper

  • cook

  • domestic servant

  • ensemble cast

  • snobbery

  • chambermaid

  • cane

  • chauffeur

  • countryside

  • biracial

  • estate

  • valet

  • maid