Greetings Downtonians! This summer has flown by and I feel that I have been a bit remiss in attending to my Downton Abbey Dispatch duties. But now that there’s a little nip in the air, I’ve been thinking about pulling my Downton DVDs out of the mothballs to revisit, refresh and get ready. After all, the Season 5 premiere will be here before you know it! And that’s January 4th at 9 p.m. EST on THIRTEEN to be precise (in case you’d like to set your countdown clocks).
Magic Carpet: It was exciting for Sherlock to win big at the Emmys, but for Downtonians there was no joy in Mudville as once again Downton Abbey was shut out by a homicidal meth dealer in the big categories (and people complain that Downton’s storylines are too depressing!). But no matter — Emmy nominees Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt and Jim Carter all looked gorgeous on the red carpet, and isn’t that what really matters? And you know what happens when you get nominated for an Emmy but don’t win? You just go back to being on a world-wide hit TV show. Not a bad deal.
One Word — Plastics: Pre-Downton Abbey fever is starting to build as the Masterpiece team starts whetting the appetites of the Downton-starved masses by releasing — not spoilers — but images and photos from Season 5. By now, you’ve probably seen the infamous water bottle photo, which made front-page headlines everywhere. So what does this mean? Is it subtle product placement for the latest officially licensed Downton Abbey product, “Crawley Water?” Is Lord Grantham finally displaying some business prescience (or acumen, of any sort)? Or is it simply a rare lapse in attention to detail that left the thoroughly modern plastic water bottle sitting on the mantle next to Edith? I don’t know. All I know is — they never would have done this to Lady Mary. Amiright?
Bucket List:This summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral faster than the Spanish Flu. Even Lady Edith, Lady Mary and Branson have been caught in its grip — the latter being especially ironic since this is exactly what he wanted to do to the General in Season 2. Of course, one could argue that Lady Edith’s life has just been one big involuntary Ice Bucket Challenge after another, but here she is gamely and casually taking part in it (and listen to how different her accent is). Then that damn sister of hers has to go and upstage her, AGAIN, with scantily clad Turkish diplomats (or back-up dancers). This woman goes nowhere without a staff in tow to peel her grapes. Respect.
Waiting to Exhale: Hey, Lavinia Swire’s not dead, y’all! She just dyed her hair red and moved to London. But she still can’t get away from Sir Rupert (aka Sir Richard), nor from the theme of being betrothed to a man who doesn’t really love her. After watching the first episode of Masterpiece‘s Breathless, I’d say that the title is an understatement! If you are like me and need to watch it a second time to keep it all straight (because after seeing a familiar actor appear on screen, you were, like me, going,”waitwheredoiknowthemfromwheredoiknowthemfrom?” and before you know it you’ve lost the plot), you can watch it again online until September 23th. Oh, and the actor I knew who I couldn’t place this time: Joanna Page from Love Actually. And here’s my Tip of the Week: do you have a Jewish mother like mine who can’t stop with the, “why couldn’t you have married a doctor?” Tell her to watch this show. You’re welcome.
What’s in a Neame? Practically every day brings a quote from yet another random celebrity who wants to put it out into the Universe that they’d simply love a part on Downton Abbey, and playing the perennial role of dream-crusher is Downton‘s exec producer is Gareth Neame. The latest to attempt to fling herself over the ramparts, only to be politely told, “no thank you”: Taylor Swift. According to the NY Daily News, Neame said, “One thing I would say is that we don’t create parts for stars that want to be in the show. We create characters to maintain the story and then we go and cast those parts.” Let us all turn to page 32 in our hymnals, and say amen. But here’s a better idea for Ms. Swift: write a great song for the lovelorn Lady Edith. When “The Ballad of Edith Crawley” goes rising up the charts, remember you heard it here first!
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Paradise Found: All is fair in love and retail as The Paradise returns to Masterpiece, September 28th on THIRTEEN. Did Moray get together with Denise? Will poor little rich girl Katherine Glendenning come between them, using Moray’s beloved Paradise as bait? Will Miss Audrey rediscover love? Will Clara get her daughter back? Will little Arthur find out he’s really the illegitimate son of someone in the royal family? Will Pauline figure ou how to bottle that wide-eyed perkiness and make a fortune? Or will they just chuck it in for a quiet life working the cheese counter at Costco? Find out when Season 2 of The Paradise premieres on THIRTEEN on September 28th. Till then, check out this preview.
Let’s Go to the Video Tape: So what are your hopes for Season 5 of Downton Abbey? Here, the cast chimes in with theirs. I’m with Lesley Nichol — I’d love to see Mrs. Patmore tangle with the Dowager. How about you? And a romance for Thomas? That would be nice. And Edith — will we find out what happened to Editor Charming? Will the loony wife show up? Ad her daughter and the farmer — how will that work? I think I may just be looking forward to Edith’s story the most. What do you think Downtonians? What are you looking forward to the most in Season 5 (aside from it just getting here already)?
Since I mentioned the topic of spoilers above, it bears repeating that this blog, and THIRTEEN’s entire Downton Abbey page is a No Spoiler Zone. Know that you will be able to come back here between now and the January 4th premiere with full confidence that you won’t find spoilers! So stop back here and join in the conversation. See you next time, Downtonians, when I’ll have a report from the too, too fabulous Downton Abbey Costume exhibit at the Winterthur Museum. You won’t want to miss it!