Romance! Intrigue! Murder! Americans! Downton Abbey‘s Season Four finale was as jam-packed as ever, accomplishing much but still leaving plenty for its newly commissioned fifth season. What PBS calls the finale is actually the Christmas Special that aired several months after the fourth season finale in the U.K., and like the ones before it, it put its characters in the most splendid of surroundings, pulling out all the stops for a festive episode. Though compared to the last two years, this finale was a lot less taxing on the emotions. Hit the jump for why “I don’t mind lying!”
It was simultaneously a sincere and ridiculous time on Downton Abbey this week, but the show can never be accused of being boring. Downton is always entertaining, and even when plots falter or fizzle out, the show crams enough in that something ends up being worthwhile. Downton juggled everything this week, and set up plenty for the season finale. Hit the jump for why a group noun for suitors is known, to some, as a “desire.”
Downton Abbey was a house of secrets this week, but of course, it’s also a house where secrets don’t stay secret for long. As we wind down to the end of the season, the stakes hinted at earlier this year are starting to payoff, and they didn’t even have to kill anyone off to achieve it (there’s still time!) Revelations of many kinds defined this hour, and have set up some intense drama for the rest of the season. Hit the jump for why “we expect to get what we pay for.”
Sunday evening’s Super Bowl ratings are in. Here’s a brief rundown:
- Per final numbers, Fox’s telecast of Super Bowl XLVIII scored a 34.4 rating in the 18-49 demo and was seen by 111.5 million viewers, which tops last year’s 108.4 million viewers to become the most watched Super Bowl–and broadcast–ever. This is much higher than what the preliminary numbers had suggested.
- The post-game broadcast of Fox’s comedy New Girl performed extremely well, notching a series high 11.1 rating and 25.8 million viewers. That’s a rise of 42% ratings-wise from last year’s post-game Elementary episode and up 23% in total viewers. It now stands as the highest rated scripted entertainment telecast on broadcast TV in 3 years, since the post-Super Bowl Glee episode.
- The post-post-game showing of the very funny Brooklyn Nine-Nine earned decent if not spectacular ratings, hitting a series high 6.7 rating and scored 14.8 million viewers.
- Directly opposite the Super Bowl, PBS’ Downton Abbey (read Allison’s recap here) did just fine with 6.8 million viewers, up from last year’s Super Bowl night episode’s 6.6 million viewers.
In it’s fifth episode this season, Downton Abbey tried some new things, while not shaking things up enough to give Carson a heart attack. The world is rapidly changing, and even Robert is powerless against it. Though for once he’s not fighting it — Edith, strangely, is. But in an episode all about pride and prejudice, both upstairs and downstairs proved capable of a few surprises even while relying heavily on conventions of the past. Hit the jump for why “we must speculate to accumulate.”
Downton Abbey narrowed its narrative scope in this hour of drama, while teasing quite a few plot-lines for upcoming episodes. The Anna and Bates saga, which needed some kind of emotional finality, finally got it (though with somewhat of an open ending), and Downton taking time to focus on this was completely necessary. But things stayed very busy elsewhere in the house, with more than a few question marks left unanswered about doctor visits, torn aprons, and revitalized socialism. Hit the jump for more.
This week on Downton Abbey, the women ran the show (as they so often do). Sex, in its many considerations, was also a star, though mostly in a negative light. Things are changing, but as Aunt Rosamund reminds us, some things will always stay the same. This season’s third episode was nicely paced, and featured a number of long-range arcs, as well as some satisfying episodic resolutions. Too vague? Then hit the jump for why “it’s better to have a broken heart than a broken neck.”
Once again, few shows pack as much into once topsy-turvy hour as Downton Abbey, and this season’s second episode was no exception. Also, it handled its many, many characters very well, involving almost everyone in the episode’s plots. A party at the Abbey was a nice way to bring everyone together, and set the stage for plenty of drama. Hit the jump for why, “if I was searching for logic, I wouldn’t forage for it among the English upper classes.”
Sunday evening’s TV ratings are in. Here’s a brief rundown:
- The two-hour season four premiere of the very fancy Downton Abbey scored a whopping 10.2 million viewers, marking a 22% rise from last year’s season three premiere (7.9 million viewers) and easily netting PBS’ highest ratings ever. If you missed it, read Allison’s recap of the two-part premiere episode right here.
- Over on CBS, The Good Wife returned to a 1.4 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 9.24 million viewers, which is down 13% from its last original episode’s 1.6 rating. The Mentalist, meanwhile, dropped 17% to a 1.5 rating and 9.93 million viewers.
- ABC’s Revenge garnered a 1.8 rating and 6.69 million viewers, rising 20%, while Betrayal returned to a 0.8 rating and 3.38 million viewers.
- Fox’s animation lineup started on a delay due to the 49ers/Packers NFL game, so preliminary ratings are inflated and therefore incorrect.
What ho, PBS — we did not receive traditional opening credits with this new season of Downton Abbey? The flower falling slowly from the vase, the exploration of the grounds and house, the close-up shot of Isis’ derrière to start it all off … without this, where are we? In 1922, it seems, with O’Brien having fled in the night and Downton (suddenly being referred to as “the Abbey”) in deep mourning, as they have been for 6 months. Hit the jump for more on the state of things, and why you really should go change because that is not appropriate dinnerware, were you raised in a barn!?
The Screen Actors Guild nominations were announced this morning, and unsurprisingly, 12 Years a Slave led the pack with four nods including Best Ensemble, Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o). The surprises came with the snubs. The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, and Inside Llewyn Davis missed the cut, and it’s clear that The Weinstein Company was a heavy hitter by getting multiple nominations for Lee Daniels’ The Butler and August: Osage County. Arguably, the biggest snub was Robert Redford for All Is Lost. Not only is it an acclaimed performance, but also part of his momentum is supposed to be based on the respect he’s accumulated for his long career. Keep an eye for Oscar Beat as Adam breaks down what the nominations and snubs mean in the long run. [Correction: Adam tells me Wolf of Wall Street was ineligible because it missed the SAG voting deadline, so it's not really a snub]
Hit the jump for the full list of nominations including the ones for television shows. The winners will be announced on January 18th.
In a surprise to absolutely no one, the British drama series Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fifth season. The show ended its fourth season in the UK on ITV this past Sunday night with the highest ratings of any UK drama this year, so clearly the series is not dwindling in popularity. Season four doesn’t premiere here in the US until January, and presumably season five won’t air on PBS until January 2015. Creator Julian Fellowes recently stated that Downton “won’t be like an American show that goes on for 12 years,” adding that he doesn’t know what there will be after season five, so it’s possible that next year could be the last run of new Downton episodes.
Of course, the studio behind the show will likely work to keep it going as long as possible, so who knows how long Downton Abbey will continue to grace our TV screens.
Though the fourth season of Downton Abbey is currently airing in the UK, we here in the States still have to wait a few months to catch up on the goings-on at Downton. As such, Masterpiece has just released a teaser trailer for the upcoming season, providing a peek at what’s in store without inundating viewers with spoilers. Unsurprisingly, the focus of series four seems to be on how the folks at Downton are dealing with the aftermath of last year’s finale/Christmas special. For those of you that have been watching season four (either legally or illegally), I’d ask that you please refrain from posting spoilers in the comments.
Hit the jump to watch the brief trailer. Season four of Downton Abbey will premiere in the US on PBS January 5, 2014.
Opening this week is director Bill Condon’s WikiLeaks drama The Fifth Estate. The pic centers on the relationship between Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) and Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), as the story follows the early days of WikiLeaks, culminating in the release of highly controversial information leaks. I caught the film at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Condon has done a great job crafting a fascinating and entertaining look at WikiLeaks and the current landscape of news and information sharing. The Fifth Estate also stars Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Mackie, Peter Capaldi, Alicia Vikander, Dan Stevens, and Carice van Houten. For more on the film, read Matt’s review or watch these clips.
At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, I landed an extended video interview with Stevens. He talked about his exit from Downton Abbey, how his career has changed since starring on the show, making The Fifth Estate, what changed during production, what he collects, how he got into acting, future projects like Scott Frank’s A Walk Among the Tombstones and Adam Wingard’s The Guest, and so much more. Hit the jump to watch.
Romeo & Juliet is the timeless story of star-crossed lovers from warring families. The families of Montague and Capulet will use any excuse to publicly fight in the streets of Verona, so when Romeo (Douglas Booth) falls for Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld), it quickly receives the wrath of both of their families, when all they want to do is be together forever. Written by Julian Fellowes and directed by Carlo Carlei, the film also stars Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Natascha McElhone, Ed Westwick, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Lesley Manville.
At the film’s press day, screenwriter Julian Fellowes (who is also the creator/writer of the hit drama series Downton Abbey) spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about why he was excited to tackle Romeo & Juliet for the big screen, how he worked exclusively from the play itself, and watching actors Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld bring it to life. He also talked about how viewers seem to hold him personally responsible, anytime an actor leaves Downton Abbey, how Paul Giamatti came to be doing the Christmas episode for this season, that he doesn’t know exactly how long the show will continue to run for, even though there will definitely be a fifth season, and how he’s writing a series for American television, called The Guilded Age, that he will do after Downton Abbey is finished. Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.