Final trip to Downtown

I remember the first time I saw "Downton Abbey." My parents had seen the series and I'd heard it was good. So I popped in an episode and figured I'd watch one before heading out for my day. That one turned into the entire first season. That was how the show drew me in and hooked me.

And I wasn't alone. Each January when new episodes have debuted on PBS, millions of Americans have been drawn to the world of the Crawley family, too. Amazingly, the show has made it to its sixth season. And now the time has come for it to end.

Creator and writer Julian Fellows tackled this story once before — with the film "Gosford Park" — but really nailed it with this show, which has become an International phenomenon. The final season debuts tonight in America — though it is long since finished in England.

I have mixed feelings about the ending. From one standpoint, I love to get drawn into this world each year. It's consistently been compelling and interesting, show us in America a different slice of life and culture. But at the same time, you want quality shows to go out on top — when they are still strong and relevant. So from that standpoint, it makes sense to bow out after six seasons of "Downton Abbey."

But I was still nervous about how it would end. I've seen all nine episodes of the season, concluding with the "Christmas Special," and I can say it's satisfying and everything you'd hope for. This is a rich series about the lives of these people in the midst of an incredible change in the cultural times. And it delivers on that, too.

I will miss "Downton Abbey," though I suspect it may return from time-to-time in a limited film form, but I'm satisfied with the way they brought it to conclusion. Of all the series' accomplishments, that might be the greatest.


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