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July 22, 2014

Downton Abbey

PBS Confirms Season Premiere Dates for 'Downton Abbey' and 'Sherlock'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 17th 2011 8:50AM
Restive 'Downton Abbey' fans need fret no more: PBS has confirmed that Season 2 will (finally!) premiere in the US on Sunday January 8, 2012. The AP reports Paula Kerger, PBS president, as saying that the abrupt ending to Season 1 and the paucity of episodes -- there were only four -- led to angry phone calls from fans, many of whom worried that PBS might not even air a second season.

PBS also has good news for 'Sherlock' fans. The 21st-century twist on Conan-Doyle's deerstalker-wearing detective will start its second season on PBS on Sunday May 6, 2012. Alas, it's only three episodes long, but fans can be assured that it should be a case of quality triumphing over quantity.

Other gems from the PBS spring lineup include a two-part examination of Bill Clinton's presidency, a look at some celebrity family trees by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and a series on American infrastructure, 'America Revealed,' hosted by winner of 'Survivor: Cook Islands,' Yul Kwon. More on these after the jump.

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'Downton Abbey' Criticized for Using Historically Incorrect Language

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 21st 2011 8:50AM
Who knew that PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey' could be so controversial? Viewers in the U.K. are halfway through Season 2 right now and there has been criticism that the storylines are moving along too fast. Now some viewers have complained that the use of anachronistic language is marring their enjoyment of the series.

Hot on the heels of a recent debate over a character saying "as if" (the horror), John Simpson, of the 'Oxford English Dictionary,' told 'The MailOnline' that some other expressions used, such as "get knotted," "logic pills" and "shafted" were not in use until much later than 'Downton Abbey's World War I time-frame.

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'Game of Thrones' Finds Ygritte in 'Downton Abbey,' Jon Snow's Sword Visits 'Big Bang Theory'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 11th 2011 8:45AM
'Game of Thrones' logoThe excitement surrounding 'Game of Thrones' Season 2 has been building recently with the news that HBO has set a premiere date.

Now it's been reported that another key piece of casting has been finalized. According to 'Entertainment Weekly,' the role of Wildling girl Ygritte has gone to 'Downton Abbey' actress Rose Leslie.

She played Lady Sybil's protégé, housemaid Gwen, in Season 1, at the end of which Gwen left Downton to work as a secretary.

And that's not all. Jon Snow's sword, the mighty Longclaw, will be making a cameo appearance on 'The Big Bang Theory,' and an NBC comedy will reference the HBO drama this week. Find out more after the jump!

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PBS Triumphs at the Emmys With 'Downton Abbey'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 19th 2011 7:00AM
'Gosford Park' Emmy winnersLast night PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey' bagged four Emmy Awards, making it one of the biggest winners of the night, and helping PBS land the coveted spot of top broadcast network at the awards.

Together with the Creative Arts Emmys, which were held last week, PBS scooped 14 Emmys in total, making it the most successful broadcast network. HBO was the top cable network, with 19.

'Downton Abbey' won the Emmy for Outstanding Made For Television Movie/Miniseries, in what creator Julian Fellowes called a David and Goliath story, "except in this case Goliath was wonderful, some wonderful shows that we were up against, and it seems perfectly extraordinary that we've won."

The Masterpiece drama was victorious in a strong field dominated by Emmy powerhouse HBO, which had three nominations -- 'Mildred Pierce,' 'Too Big to Fail' and 'Cinema Verité.'

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'Downton Abbey' Star Went on a Diet After Fans Called Him Fat on Twitter

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 5th 2011 8:30AM
Dan Stevens and Hugh BonnevilleMany actors say that they never read their press clippings for fear of seeing something negative or hurtful, but we just know that some of them go ahead and read them anyway.

Now one TV star has admitted that criticism from fans hit home, pushing him to go on a diet and lose 21 lbs.

Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley in PBS period drama 'Downton Abbey,' told 'The Daily Telegraph' that he hit the gym after he was mocked online.

"I think viewers will notice that I've lost [weight] since the first series," he said. "It's pretty much down to the fact that I had tons of comments on Twitter about how fat Matthew was looking."

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'Downton Abbey' Cast Talks Season 2: Love, War and More

by Maureen Ryan, posted Aug 1st 2011 11:30AM
Members of the media who attended Sunday's 'Downton Abbey' panel at the Television Critics Association press tour were treated to several minutes from the second season of the period drama, which takes place during World War 1.

The staples of the series were still there -- the gorgeous interiors and exteriors of the stately home gleamed, the starchy butler Carson disapproved of something being done by one of the aristocratic Crawley sisters, the snippy ladies' maid O'Brien looked down her nose at a cheeky new member of the below-stairs staff, and the relationship between Matthew Crawley, the man set to inherit Downton Abbey, and Lady Mary, an aristocrat with a scandal in her past, looked as complicated as ever.

But in interviews conducted before the panel, members of the 'Downton' cast said the war lent a new sense of urgency to the country house drama, which returns Jan. 8.

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'Downton Abbey' Loses Out as 'Sherlock' Wins Big at the BAFTAs

by Catherine Lawson, posted May 23rd 2011 6:12AM
Martin FreemanIt was a mixed bag for PBS last night at the BAFTA TV Awards in London as 'Sherlock' took home two trophies, but 'Downton Abbey' left empty-handed.

'Sherlock' won the coveted Best Drama Series Award, and Martin Freeman ('The Hobbit') won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Doctor Watson in the modern take on the 'Sherlock Holmes' mysteries.

However, Freeman's co-star Benedict Cumberbatch lost out in the Best Actor category to Daniel Rigby ('Flyboys') for his role as legendary British comedian Eric Morecambe in 'Eric & Ernie.' Rigby also beat out fan favorite, 'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith.

'Downton Abbey' was nominated for three major awards -- Best Drama Series, Best Supporting Actor and The Audience Award -- but failed to win any of them.

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'Law & Order' Alum Linus Roache to Star in 'Titanic' Miniseries

by Catherine Lawson, posted Apr 6th 2011 8:40AM
Linus RoacheThe cast has been announced for 'Downton Abbey' creator Julian Fellowes's new miniseries, 'Titanic.'

Linus Roache, last seen on U.S. television screens playing Exec A.D.A. Michael Cutter in the final season of 'Law & Order,' has signed on for a lead role in the four-part production.

He'll be joined onboard the doomed liner by fellow Brits and 'Masterpiece Theatre' vets Geraldine Somerville ('Gosford Park,' the 'Harry Potter' movies), Toby Jones ('Captain America,' 'Elizabeth I'), Celia Imrie ('Cranford,' 'Bridget Jones'), James Wilby ('Gosford Park') and Steven Waddington ('The Tudors,' 'Sleepy Hollow').

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'Downton Abbey' Creator to Write 'Titanic' TV Mini-Series

by Catherine Lawson, posted Mar 23rd 2011 9:00AM
Julian FellowesIt's been announced that Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning writer behind PBS hit 'Downton Abbey' and 'Gosford Park' is to put his spin on the 'Titanic' story.

Filming on the international co-production starts in Hungary this spring, and its broadcast will be timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of 'The Titanic' in April 1912.

In a statement, Maria Kyriacou, Managing Director at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said the four-part mini-series will provide "a vividly different experience of the ship's last hours alongside a definitive snapshot of what was a unique and uncertain moment in history."

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Best 'Masterpiece Theatre' Shows Ever

by Jane Murphy, posted Jan 16th 2011 11:00AM

Created during the Nixon Administration, in existence longer than CNN and HBO, 'Masterpiece Theatre' began 40 years ago last week on public television stations. It earned its very first Emmy for Best Miniseries in its second season, for 'Tom Brown's Schooldays.'

That show was very much a part of the golden age of the miniseries in the mid-1970s, with such blockbusters as ABC's 'Rich Man, Poor Man' and 'Roots', and 'Masterpiece Theatre's own 'Upstairs, Downstairs'.

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The Classy, Wonderful 'Downton Abbey' Starts 2011 in Style

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 4th 2011 11:15AM

The year has barely begun but I already have a candidate for 2011's Top 10 Shows list.

'Downton Abbey,' which debuts 9 PM ET Sunday on PBS (check local listings), is a handsome period drama about an English upper-class family facing an inheritance crisis. At least that's the shorthand description for this terrific drama, which was a huge hit when it aired in the U.K.

No doubt 'Downton Abbey' did well is because it is, in part, an enthralling, lively soap opera about the secrets and heartaches that lurk in the elegant drawing rooms and the busy servants' wing of a very grand house. It also allows Dame Maggie Smith -- who is just one member of an exceptional cast -- to steal a number of comedic scenes as a doughty dowager countess straight out of a P.G. Wodehouse novel.

But this energetic and emotionally engaging drama has another agenda, one that makes 'Downton Abbey' much more than just a pretty period piece about lords and ladies and their harried maids and butlers.

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Talking TV Podcast Takes on 'Episodes,' 'Southland,' 'The Cape,' 'Doctor Who' and More

by Maureen Ryan, posted Jan 3rd 2011 12:00PM
Happy New Year! I hope 2011 is treating you right so far.

For those of us covering TV, the new year ushered in one of the busiest mid-seasons in recent memory. A lot of new shows are debuting, many notable shows are returning and Ryan McGee and I tried to cover quite a few of early January's offerings in this week's super-sized Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan podcast.

We gave our impressions of 'V' (and you can find my season 2 review of that ABC show here), 'Southland,' 'Downton Abbey,' 'Bob's Burgers,' 'Shameless,' 'The Cape' and Matt LeBlanc's new Showtime series, 'Episodes.' Just for fun, we also talked a bit about the recent 'Doctor Who' special that aired on Christmas Day.

Please note that in the next few days, I'll be posting full reviews of many of these programs (though not for 'Bob's Burgers' or 'Southland'). Read on for the running times of the various podcast dicussions, and also for news on notable reruns beginning this week.

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