Thanks to a bootlegged trailer for PBS' Downton Abbey — seemingly recorded off a British person's TV and posted on the internet — Americans eager for details about the third season have new morsels to digest. (Watch the trailer below). Last we saw the series' aristocratic Crawley family, World War I was over, and Matthew and Lady Mary seemed finally to be headed for the altar. In the trailer, however, all is not well at the Downton estate. The family fortune is gone and the young fiances are already fighting. Shirley MacLaine, who joins the cast as Lady Mary's American grandmother, Martha Levinson, does brighten the day. If you want to see season 3 before January, "you have a month to secure your visa" to watch it when it airs in September in Britain, says Amanda Dobbins at Vulture. Otherwise, here are a few talking points to chew on until 2013:
1. Shirley MacLaine may give Maggie Smith a run for her quips
We all love Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, but Shirley MacLaine looks like she's "the new DBOL (deliciously bitchy old lady) on the block," says Elizabeth Thompson at Paper magazine. Well, we have all been waiting for "the standoff between Shirley MacLaine, as [Downton matriarch] Cora's American mother, and the legend that is Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess," says Dobbins, but "can anyone out-sass the DC?" I doubt Downton Abbey could really be Downton Abbey "if an American gets any respect."
2. Where are the servants?
Evidently, "this show has really given up on pretending to care about the servants," says Judy Berman at Flavorwire. Seriously, says Anna Moeslein at Glamour, the servants make up half the cast! Their near-absence from the trailer is just odd.
3. Sybil's back
When youngest Crawley daughter Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) left Downton with her new husband, "Irish gentleman" Tom (Allen Leech), last season, "we all shed a tear," says Andy Swift at Hollywood Life. But Tom's presence in the trailer "gives me hope they'll both be coming home soon." I hope so, says Dobbins. Sybil "doesn't seem like the kind of of mommy that would leave a newborn alone in Ireland." Plus, "the only thing the show is missing" is a small child for Maggie Smith's character to scold.
4. Money troubles are driving Matthew and Mary apart
The estate accountant has informed Lord Grantham that Downton is out of money, which is presumably why Mary and Matthew's nuptials seem threatened, says Adriana Velez at The Stir. I don't want to hear any of it. PBS had better produce the Crawley-Grantham wedding extravaganza I was promised. Hey Mary, says Vulture's Dobbins, "get over the money stuff; it's 1920, and being aristocratic and broke is cool now."
See what's coming on Downton:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
- How Scotland's independence movement lost the vote and still won everything
- The American middle class is no longer safe from poverty — and that might be a good thing
- Obama knows he can't really 'defeat' ISIS. Americans need to wake up to that reality, too.
Subscribe to the Week