Fans can't count on Countess, others returning
More than just the second "w" may be missing when "Downton Abbey" returns for Seasons 4 and 5. Key members of the cast -- including Dame Maggie Smith, according to the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper -- have not yet agreed to come back.
Smith, 77, plays the scrappy Dowager Countess, by far the "Masterpiece Classic" show's favorite character.
Also yet to re-up, according to the Telegraph, are actors Siobhan Finneran (O'Brien), Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil Crawley) and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley). According to the the Associated Press, Stevens has just wrapped another period drama -- a movie called "Summer in February" -- and says he would "like to do something modern and possibly funny."
It would be a shame if we lost these cast members, but if we could get three great seasons from this series, that would be fine. Season two was better than one, and I have no doubt that season three will surpass two, but honestly, I would love to see Mary and Matt wed, and Bates come home. Beyond that, anything else is extra. We simply need quality television and PBS is still the standard. Maggie Smith is a wonder, she has acted more in the last few years than most people half her age. If she decided to retire, I could not blame her.
I am grateful for the series either way, and ending at a pinnacle at the end of season three would be sad, but a good way to close out the series. Bravo Downton Abbey!