The first trailer for the sixth and final season of Downton Abbey has arrived. Nearly five years after the British series first aired in the UK on ITV and then subsequently took American by storm with “Downton Fever,” creator Julian Fellowes’ exceedingly polite drama about a Yorkshire aristocrat and his family is finally coming to an end, and not a moment too soon.
The series hit its peak a few years ago and has suffered some significant cast departures over the last couple seasons. Dan Stevens was the first main cast member to leave at the close of the show’s third season, but while American audiences are used to network series droning on for at least five or six seasons, Downton Abbey is an anomaly in the UK. Its popularity was too lucrative for the network to cut it short, but as all the actors’ contracts were up for re-negotiation at the end of Season 6 and many of them were ready to move on, everyone agreed to call it a day and bring the series to a conclusion with this year’s installment.
And so that leaves us with this trailer (via ITV), which promises a season filled with tears, sorrow, and goodbyes. One of the main issues with stretching Downton Abbey out to six seasons is that the show’s central conceit of how tough it is to confront societal change has lost a bit of steam as the characters will have aged over a decade since the series began—the pilot took place in 1912 and the Christmas special series finale is set in 1924.
Regardless, I’m curious to see where all the characters end up and how Fellowes will attempt to bring his theme home in this final stretch. Season 6 of Downton Abbey begins on ITV in the UK on September 20th and airs in the US on PBS in January.