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Downton Abbey

Nick Briggs/Carnival Films

Downton Abbey
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No one could deny that there are still plenty of soapy conventions like secret love affairs, improbable crimes, and private conversations that happen to be overheard by exactly the wrong person on TV’s reigning period drama, Downton Abbey. But as the show enters its fifth season, the historical context and witty dialogue that made it appointment-viewing when it first debuted again take center stage.

As in previous seasons, sinful behavior is mostly hinted at rather than reveled in, and with the rise of Stalin we see the consequences of both socialism and an unmerited ruling class. However, the moral arc of certain Downton inhabitants—particularly ladies’ maid Baxter (Raquel Cassidy)—as well as unexpectedly tender relationships give this season more heart and smarts than just about any other series on television. The tension between characters who champion the values of a fading age and those who want to break down ever more social and ethical barriers continues to feel particularly apt today.

Megan Basham

Megan is a former film and television editor for WORLD and co-host for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman’s Guide to Having It All. Megan resides with her husband, Brian Basham, and their two daughters in Charlotte, N.C.



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Love LOVE this program. My favorite part was in Season 1 where a main male character chose not to be unfaithful to his wife. When a maid clearly made herself quite available, he chose righteousness over the fleeting pleasures of the flesh. Then went one step further by eventually removing the temptation from his presence!  Hurrah!