Universal acclaim - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 7, 2011
    Fellowes does know how to write some tasty dialogue, especially for Maggie Smith....The other performances are equally winning, but beyond that, you can't help feeling these actors are having a jolly good time with all this overblown fluff. And so will you.
  2. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Jan 9, 2011
    Downton Abbey, which premieres Sunday, is this generation's "Upstairs, Downstairs," both in theme--the daily dramas of a titled British family and their many servants--and in stature.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Swanson
    Jan 10, 2011
    For every Mrs. Patmore, the cook who wants nothing more than to stay in service the remainder of her life, there is a housemaid such as Gwen (Rose Leslie), who dreams of becoming a secretary in a modern office. It's these dichotomies, and the way they exist within both the Abbey itself (half the rooms have electricity and half don't) and its multifaceted inhabitants that make Downton Abbey not only the best soap opera currently on television, but one of the most relevant as well.
  4. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 7, 2011
    There are worse sins than looking like a Jane Austen movie. In fact, with PBS' latest British hit import, the unfailingly entertaining Downton Abbey, it might even be a blessing.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Feb 14, 2011
    Now, I wouldn't say I loved it. Parts of it I didn't even like. I became quite engaged with what was going on downstairs with the servants, while I found virtually everything having to do with the Granthams (at least the parts unrelated to how they dealt with the staff) a chore to get through.
  6. Reviewed by: June Thomas
    Jan 7, 2011
    Downton Abbey manages to be reassuringly familiar and yet surprisingly fresh.
  7. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 7, 2011
    The next great "Masterpiece Theater" series has arrived.
  8. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Jan 7, 2011
    There is no mystery about the potency of this series, slathered in wit, powered by storytelling of a high order.
  9. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 7, 2011
    Watching Downton Abbey is like curling up with a really satisfying book, and I can't think of a better way to get through one of the crueler months of winter. This is one of those shows that after finishing it, I immediately began to envy those who had yet to experience the pleasure.
  10. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 6, 2011
    From virtually any angle, though, Downton Abbey is an almost peerless piece of real estate.
  11. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jan 6, 2011
    Snobs may sneer that the series could more accurately be called "Remains of the Gosford/Upstairs/Brideshead Revisited Park." But there are times when a sincere imitation is not only better than nothing--it's nearly as good.
  12. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 6, 2011
    As a new year begins, viewers will be hard-pressed to find a more sumptuous, engaging drama than the "Masterpiece Classic" miniseries Downton Abbey.
  13. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 6, 2011
    It's quibbling to say that it feels at times as if Downton Abbey had been custom-designed for those of us for whom period romance is mother's milk, studded as it is with plucky heroines, accidental heirs and scheming dowagers, with just enough history thrown in to make the melodrama seem highbrow. It's not, really, though. It's simply delicious fun.
  14. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jan 6, 2011
    This extraordinary upstairs-downstairs drama, written by Oscar-winning "Gosford Park" screenwriter Julian Fellowes, is a dramatic, intelligent, soapy, comic, and wise piece of work, one that explores social shifts on the eve of World War I while delivering a remarkably engaging cast of characters.
  15. Reviewed by: Jeanne Jakle
    Jan 14, 2014
    There are plenty of jolts throughout: bigotry, rape, a possible murder. However, as is normally the case with Downton, it's the quieter moments that shine brightest.
  16. Reviewed by: Mark Dawidziak
    Jan 10, 2014
    If some plot elements in the third season seemed forced (and they did), then Fellowes seems to have completely regained his balance in the fourth season. And that balance means expertly bouncing between the upstairs and downstairs worlds of Downton, letting the plot turns flow naturally, carrying us along joyously for the posh ride.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 265 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 48
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 48
  3. Negative: 3 out of 48
  1. Oct 8, 2012
    Although the sets, the costumes, the music, and the direction all work to create a captivating world, the writing is sloppy and is more in the realm of a soap opera or a cartoon than an intelligent drama. Instead of showing the lives of convincing characters, the people of Downton Abbey are often one-dimensional and far too repetitive. The show's villains are entirely without motivation, worse than the moustache-twirling villains from Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. The plots, somehow, are both predictable and absurd, and the characters complain, for years, about problems that are far too easy to resolve. Full Review »
  2. Jun 4, 2011
    An absolute joy to watch from start to finish. Full of class and sophistication, subtle, humorous, dramatic, enticing, sumptuous and eminently watchable. It's quite simply the best TV series to coming along in a very long time. Production values are excellent resulting in a period story that is believable and immersive. Don't miss it; it's a wonderful experience. Full Review »
  3. Jan 17, 2011
    While I do not usually follow period dramas closely, this program hooked me from the first minute as all the characters are interesting and real, and the production values, direction and editing are all first rate. A really good look at early George V England! Full Review »