"Downton Abbey" fans, you might want to block your ears and eyes. The UK regularly enjoys their native period drama before us Yankees, so spoilers are to be expected for those following "Abbey" chatter. Season Three launches in the U.S. on PBS January 6. Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley on the hit Brit show, will not be returning for season 4, as confirmed in the Christmas special. (Links below offer the specifics, should you want them.) Season Three is already available for pre-order on Amazon UK (available January 29, 2013).
Stevens tells the Telegraph that leaving the show was a tough decision but that he wanted "a chance to do other things.” He goes on the describe his love for the show, and the difficulty in shooting his final episodes. The show has changed his life.
“I don’t think any of us, with the possible exception of Maggie [Smith], have had this kind of explosion in our career paths, and may never again. It has been so bizarre, and only those who have been through it can understand it," he notes. He is currently on Broadway starring opposite Jessica Chastain in "The Heiress."
Good luck to Stevens, but what a waste of a season for the millions of us stateside who were looking forward to season 3. There's really no excuse for such a time gap in this global, socially connected world.
THR Season 3 review: "America’s love affair with Downton Abbey is quite a wonder on many levels, and maybe one of the most intriguing is that despite a steep quality drop in season two, viewers remained ironclad loyal. Anyone who — on blind faith — ignored the serious plotting flaws and dramatic twists will be rewarded by what is shaping up to be a fine comeback in season three."