Downton Abbey Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth season of the drama picks up six months after the end of the third season.
  • Genre(s): Drama
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 100
    The “Masterpiece” drama returns Sunday, recapturing some of the excitement that made America fall so hard for it three years ago.
  2. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 3, 2014
    Actors may come and go, inconveniently or not, and viewers may grouse, but Fellowes is composing a love letter to a way of life that's pretty much past.
  3. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jan 6, 2014
    Clearly, writer-creator Julian Fellowes knows how to keep fans hooked, cleverly playing out credible character traits across time, and knowing the breathless pace of change resonates with our current passage into another modern age.
  4. Viewers who look to Downton Abbey for loads of escapist splendor may want to temper their expectations when the wildly popular British drama returns for its fourth season on Sunday.
  5. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jan 3, 2014
    The narrative this time around is even more stretched, derivative and repetitive than Season 3’s, but almost ingeniously so: It is both utterly predictable and surprisingly addictive.
  6. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Jan 2, 2014
    It's that very attraction--familiar characters acting with familiarity and only the slipperiest of soap schemes to throw them off course--that fuels this series. It's not particularly elite anymore, but it's incredibly efficient.
  7. Reviewed by: Willa Paskin
    Jan 3, 2014
    The show makes Granthams of all of us: content with what we have now (a middling costume soap opera) because we can still remember its glorious past (that first season). It’s safer and cozier than a show about open class warfare.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Apr 24, 2014
    As long as we have the Dowager Countess, there is no way that Downton Abbey can EVER disappoint.

    Season 4 was a little dry, but FAR from a
    disappointment! Expand
  2. Jan 6, 2014
    It is becoming more apparent that creator Julian Fellowes direction/writing is becoming a tad predictable. Storylines/sub-plots developed in tonight's premiere episode seem re-hashed and recycled; it left me at times wondering,"haven't I already seen this brewing conflict before"? Maybe this is why Fellowes has recently hinted that series five may be the last of his hit-show. In any case, despite the agonizing repetition of old points present in this premiere, watching the Dowager Countess giving her witty one-liners and seeing both Carson and Mrs. Hughes in action always gives me life and is truly worth any measure of lackluster direction. I had my quarrels but I enjoyed the premiere immensely; change is never really Downton's thing anyway...... Expand
  3. Jan 12, 2014
    Not a great Season. Julian Fellows is basically rehashing old stories. No O'Brian but Thomas took over that job. I was happy when BBC announced Siobhan Finneran is leaving the show because she was just too cruel and wondered how they are going to deal with that. However, it was not good at all. Some scenes and plots are completely unnecessary. I also feel that the Season could have done better in approaching the deaths of Lady Sybil and Matthew Crawley. I feel they just moved on too quickly. Expand
  4. Jan 16, 2014
    While still being a visual masterpiece for a tv-series, the fourth season lacked plot. I guess they thought they'd spiced things up with Mary's new suitors, but they actually didn't. I think this show needs to try harder to make the viewers perceive the passing of time and add a little bit of action.

    But Fellowes, being an aristocrat himself, is probably used to much slower, quieter, more upper-class paces than what we might be accustomed to. Let's see if season V grabs the bull by the horns and really transforms the Grantham family into something appealing.
  5. Jan 13, 2014
    I was so excited for Season 4 and after the first episode I was left a bit deflated. Now, after viewing episode 2 I am seriously considering not watching anymore - and to think I just loved this series. Being aware that our dear Anna was being accosted and the new ladie's maid had her way with Branson with no one being "man" enough to say No or help just disgusts me. I am not a prude but really, this show is beginning to feel like a soap opera -daytime. I truly love the costumes, characters and will give this show one more go around next wee - I truly hope episode redeems itself or you will loose this viewer. Collapse
  6. Jan 13, 2014
    Starting to loose its creative lure. Tragedy after tragedy does not make for good entertainment. It makes for a news show. There was more of an interesting story line in past. Hope it gets back to that soon. Last night's show was far too disturbing. I'll watch documentraries if I need a heavy dose of that kind of reality.

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