Top positive review
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A series characterized by interpersonal tensions with sprinkles of humour
on February 17, 2013
Julian Fellowes, the writer and master puppeteer of this period drama series has to be acknowledged as the world’s most superb craftsman of TV dramatics. This, the third season, is perhaps the best of the three in terms of dramatic surprises, historic authenticity, outstanding acting and quirky humour. The strength of this grandiose project must also be credited to the vast amount of financial resources available to Fellowes and the producers. The revolving cast of over thirty main characters allows maximum creativity with never a dull moment for the viewing audience. For the fun of it I researched one-on-one interpersonal conflicts and tensions in part five and I found at least eighteen! But these are offset by an equal quantity of positive, affectionate and problem-solving incidents. The humorous comebacks and rejoinders lighten the dialogue whenever it is in danger of becoming too serious or sentimental. This is where Hollywood has much to learn. So many of America’s TV productions are either too crassly edgy, too schmaltzy maudlin and lacking in finesse.
The only weak point in a lengthy series like this is the danger of main characters having to be written out because the actors will no longer continue participating. But, actors have lives too, so we must forgive them. But it presents challenges for the writer to find credible solutions. Being confronted by this necessity to eliminate a main character before the start of the fourth season I thought Fellowes took the easy way out this time. Frankly I thought it lacked realism and could have been done much more creatively. But overall, that misstep does not detract largely from the masterpiece which makes up all of the third season. Bravo!!
Being a huge fan of this series, I hope Maggie Smith will live forever! She is without a doubt one of the top ten British actors of all time.