Serious business occurs in this week’s episode, and it doesn’t involve marginal progress in one of the lame stories, or a footman spilling something at dinner. No, this is about as good as the show gets, and it really is predicated on shocking you.
As the overarching narrative of the season, the question of "How will we keep Downton Abbey?" is working far better than the WWI did last season, probably because it allows Fellowes to focus on the minor characters in a way that the galvanizing narrative pull of the war did not.
While many critics argue that Americans are fascinated by Downton Abbey because of its fundamental Britishness, in other words because of how fundamentally different its sensibilities are from our own, I feel quite the opposite.
Cast interviews in Downton Abbey Revisited feature an appealing awareness of the occasional improbability of their characters and storylines, a point made clear by a slightly bemused Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley.
The 40th anniversary DVD presentation of this highly influential drama series is an outstanding package both for viewers new to the series and for established fans that don’t already own previous DVD releases.