Fourth season of ‘Downton Abbey’ is a real downer

01/04/2014 9:54 PM

01/04/2014 9:54 PM

I really want to spoil the fourth season of “Downton Abbey.”

I won’t, because I’m not one to deny cultural masochists their viewing pleasures. But I yearn to spill all its secrets and surprises — such as they are — so completely that you’ll delete the series from your DVR and pretend it died in that car crash with Matthew at the end of the 2012 “Christmas episode.”

Those determined to tune in to the Crawley family’s drama for 1922-23 are in for detailed discussions of estate taxes, German divorce law and ruined scarves. Showrunner Julian Fellowes knew he had to spice things up, apparently, so he employed a lazy, “shocking” plot device that will leave fans sickened, indignant and wondering why Fellowes just didn’t give his beloved characters something worthwhile to do instead.

That offensive event aside, this season’s repetitive tropes, recycled conflicts and predictable heartbreak are not worth the trouble this time around. I watched it, so you don’t have to. To be fair, the lavish parties, lush countryside and audacious hats are more fabulous than ever.

Think you’ll stick with it? Check out what Season 4’s major players would say if they could by clicking through the photos on the right.

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