I have been eagerly awaiting the return of this special, lovely series since the end of the first season last year. Season two of this multiple-award winning British series (BAFTAs and Emmys, among others) debuted last night and it was worth the wait.
When we last left the Crawley family, World War I—or the Great War, as it was known then—had just started. And now we are in the thick of it as we rejoin life at Downton Abbey. It is indeed a changing world with youngest daughter Sibyl wanting to do something real, something tangible to help the war effort (she ends up becoming a nurse tending to maimed and mangled soldiers at the local hospital) and middle daughter Edith learning to drive (at that time, a lady of standing did no such thing!), then putting her skill to use on a farm which had lost all of its laborers to the war. The entire fantastic cast returns for season two, including the masterful Maggie Smith who could wither a rose with a single hilarious glance or a well-timed sigh. Of course the largest and most silent member of the cast once again takes center stage: the glorious Highclere Castle as Downton Abbey itself.
There is a true tenderness and sweetness inherent in both the characters and the story, which is a welcome relief from the post-modern archness which so often surrounds us. I will be at The Abbey every Sunday night for the next seven weeks. I understand that the series concluded with a special Christmas episode when it originally aired a few months ago in the UK. I hope we will get to see that as a sort of point final. And of course the exciting news is that “Downton Abbey” has been commissioned by ITV for a third season which will air in the UK in September of 2012... so most likely late winter/early spring of 2013 for us here in the States.