By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
January 3, 2014, 12:14 p.m.
Across the land, a great keening has arisen for the large number of main characters recently killed off on shows as disparate as "The Walking Dead," "Scandal" and "Game of Thrones." How ruthless have we become, the hand-wringers wail, how reckless and desperate in our need for tweetable moments and first-week ratings.
Honestly, it's as if no one in this country has ever read a classic novel or a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. People die, for heaven's sake, especially in fiction. Tragedy is a great catalyst, and even if the famous literary admonition to "kill your darlings" is impossible to trace to its origin, every gardener knows that pruning is an essential part of the job.
This is immediately and gratifyingly clear Sunday night on PBS in the Season 4 premiere of "Downton Abbey," that highly addictive meringue of Edwardian couture and socially tolerant politics that has sentimentalized British past beyond all recognition and done more for the "special relationship" between the U.S. and Britain than any president or prime minister.
Who are now once again in the foreground, allowing "Downton" to return to its original themes of change and endurance.
On Season 1, "Downton Abbey" was presented as the story of two sorts of people, upstairs and down, on the cusp of cataclysm: The end of a class system that allowed places like Downton to operate along quasi-feudal lines; even improvements like the telephone and typewriter were perceived as a threat.
READ THE REST HERE: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-downton-abbey-review,0,5799818.story#ixzz2pXW55Nch