Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Jan 9, 2012
    100
    The series seamlessly moves between the horrors of war and the gentility of life in the show's titular 100-room manor.
  2. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Jan 6, 2012
    100
    The vibrant brew of upstairs-downstairs relationships is more savory now, the characters more complicated.
  3. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 6, 2012
    100
    For those of us who hungered for a year to witness these new chapters, the appetite is insatiable.
  4. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Jan 6, 2012
    100
    The emotional authenticity of Downton Abbey continues to make it a classic.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 6, 2012
    100
    There's nothing in Downton you won't recognize, and almost nothing you won't enjoy.
  6. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 5, 2012
    100
    Season one set the bar high. Season two clears it.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Jan 3, 2012
    100
    Julian Fellowes has created such a vivid group of characters and assembled such an impeccable cast--effortlessly oscillating from comedy to drama--that the hours fly by, addictively pulling viewers from one into the next.
  8. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jan 4, 2012
    91
    Much grimmer, grayer and (gasp) dowdier. Still mostly wonderful.
  9. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 9, 2012
    90
    The characters are so beautifully and thoroughly rendered that we, as viewers, are caught up in their lives.
  10. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Jan 6, 2012
    90
    It is big, beautiful, beautifully acted and romantic, its passions expressed with that particular British reserve that serves only to make them burn brighter.
  11. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Jan 6, 2012
    90
    Rarely do they strain the credulity of real situations or the constraints of the time.
  12. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jan 5, 2012
    90
    Judging by the first five hours of the second season, it successfully broadens the storylines of several key characters. The cast is first-rate; only Elizabeth McGovern? occasionally rings a false.
  13. Some of the characters are so simplistically drawn that it's laughable. On the other hand, we love these characters so much and we're having such a jolly good time that we just can't resist Downton Abbey.
  14. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Jan 13, 2012
    83
    Despite all the repetition and longueurs, this Downton Abbey frequently works, as the first one did, as a peppery little trifle.
  15. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 9, 2012
    83
    Series creator and writer Julian Fellowes has a habit of using dialogue to telegraph the obvious.
  16. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 5, 2012
    83
    The ideas behind most of these developments are fine, but they get thrown at the viewer so haphazardly as to require dramatic organ music when each is introduced.
  17. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Jan 9, 2012
    80
    Appropriate to the pace and the space of series television, it welcomes you into its intrigues at a walking pace.
  18. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Jan 6, 2012
    80
    If Downton's staging and dialogue can be too on-the-nose, the characters are still drawn with great subtlety.
  19. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Feb 17, 2012
    75
    Downton Abbey remains an extremely reliable television show. The appeal of the series is its pastness, its portrait of a completely foreign culture from a land before time.
  20. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Jan 3, 2012
    75
    Luckily the characters are so fully formed, and so fully inhabited by the cast, that the whole mess staggers up out of the trenches and keeps going. [9 Jan 2012, p.39]
  21. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Jan 17, 2012
    70
    The British series, about the aristocratic Crawley family and their titular home, goes down so easily that it's a bit like scarfing handfuls of caramel corn while swigging champagne.
  22. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 9, 2012
    70
    Writer/series creator Julian Fellowes weaves together an engrossing tapestry of stories, although some of them stretch credulity or peter out.
  23. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jan 6, 2012
    70
    Season 2 is in many ways as captivating and addictive as the first, but this time around, the series comes off as a shameless throwback to itself.
  24. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 6, 2012
    70
    The second series, as they call it in Britain, shows signs of strain, as creator Julian Fellowes throws one obstacle after another between his sets of star-crossed lovers (some upstairs, some down).
  25. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jan 5, 2012
    70
    Your investment in the many stories spun out by creator Julian Fellowes may take longer to develop this year, because the costume drama's pace is off in the early going and it's far more contrived and inconsistent than it was in its first season.
  26. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 6, 2012
    50
    Downton Abbey lacks surprise and is stretched precariously thin, a house full of fascinating people with not nearly enough to do, all caught in a loop of weak storylines that circle round but never fully propel.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 129 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 4 out of 20
  1. Oct 8, 2012
    3
    Much like the first season, the second season creates a captivating world in its sets and costumes, but the writing is lazy and cartoonish. Eight years pass from the beginning of the first season to the end of the second season, and no attempt whatsoever is made to age the characters. In one episode, some attempt is finally made to give the villains some depth and motivation, but it's fleeting, and many of the characters remain one-dimensional. For a soap opera, this is probably the best of its kind, but the writing is too weak to validate all the accolades. Full Review »
  2. Apr 11, 2012
    10
    I've never liked a period drama before, but this got such good reviews, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so glad I did! I watched both seasons over the course of four days, and now I just want more. It's written incredibly well. There is SO much dialogue, but it's all worth hearing. Little quips here, wise advice there, etc. The music is also spectacular. I'm of the belief that a show without good music loses some of its emotion, but the music is present in this show, and it's beautiful. And of course, no show is any good without great characters, and I must say, every character shown on the box is fleshed out realistically, and plays a large role in the story. This show is certainly not for everyone, but it's at least worth a viewing. Full Review »
  3. Jan 9, 2012
    10
    Downton Abbey, is simply delicious to watch, a sweetness in this cruel world. I like everything in this series, the characters, the costumes, the period, a great success as the first season. Full Review »