Downton Abbey Season 5 News: British drama returns to American audiences

6:00 PM EST 1/3/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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Downton Abbey is set to return to American TV via PBS on January 4, 2015. The British period drama consists of eight episodes.

In the UK, the final episode of Season eight had aired on November 9, 2014 generating a share of 9.9 million viewers, a far cry from episode one of 10.281 million viewers.

The show's return will have romances being tortured especially that of Mary and her suitors.

The show is written and created by Julian Fellowes and this season, Fellowes dives deeper than ever into the changing shape of British classes in the first part of the 20thcentury, with the advent of the more socially democratic Labor government in power.

We see fewer servants in every home and strict class differences breaking down in both broad and intimate ways, notably when the villagers choose Carson over Lord Grantham to head a planning committee for a local war memorial. It's an awkward power reversal for both men - but particularly for Carson, whose identity is based on his subservient role. Tom Branson is key this season, as proof of the shifting waters between downstairs and upstairs.

And of course the art can be seen in the pure beauty of the setting and the meticulous set design. Every shot seems to be composed around specific colors - the plum of Violet's clothes or the orange of Edith's hat. It's a transporting visual experience, an essential part of what makes Downton Abbey an addictive drug.

The period drama stars Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Jim Carter as Charlie Carson, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham.

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