After a long-awaited childbirth and car accident caused by stargazing sent shockwaves through “Downton Abbey” on its third season finale, the show has decided to enter its fourth with a decidedly energetic tone. Seven new actors — including Paul Giamatti and “Weekend” star Tom Cullen — have joined the show, and although few of them are witnessed briefly in a newly-released trailer, an optimistic Maggie Smith and The Joy Formidable have filled in for the rest quite nicely.
Opening with Smith’s Dowager Countess character telling a grief-stricken Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) to “choose either life or death,” the trailer then surges forward into new footage of recurring characters, including a possible rift between Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle), and also a hint of newer ones — Gary Carr as jazz singer Jack Ross, for instance. As for a main throughline, the fourth season will reportedly follow the courting of the widow Mary by three suitors — played by Cullen, Julian Ovenden, and Brendan Patrick — while the rest of Downton struggles to adjust to their new circumstances.
Check out the full clip below, scored to The Joy Formidable’s track “Wolf’s Law,” and while Season Four hits U.K. screens this month, “Downton Abbey” will return to PBS with new episodes on Sunday, Jan. 5th, 2014.