Have the house maids pack up the fine bone china and send for your personal valet to help you remove your black tie casual wear, Downton Abbey is coming to an end. The beloved BBC period drama, aired in the U.S. as part of PBS’s Masterpiece Theater series, is coming to a close after a six season run. By the time the show wraps, fans will have spent nearly a quarter of a century (the 20th century) with the aristocratic Crawley family and their legion of lovable servants in the sprawling estate of Downton. The show has been a surprise hit for creator Julian Fellowes and turned most of its cast into stars. I’m sorry to see the show come to an end, even if Maggie Smith’s beloved Dowager Countess is about 150 years old in Downton time, so I’ve come up with a few ways to save the show.
Genre Change: One of the biggest gripes critics have with Downton is that it’s not historically accurate. The show’s creators have paid painstaking attention to historical details from the style of dress right down to the silverware on the Crawley’s sprawling banquet table. However, by season 5 we’re in 1924 and in real life most of the large estates like Downton would have been sold, dismantled, or running on their last legs. Show runner Julian Fellowes knows how to hurt his characters when he had to, but he’d never be so cruel as to make them suffer a middle class existence. The answer? Change the genre, make it an alternate history wherein the aristocracy never fell from grace and giant manor houses still employ legions of staff. Throw in a little futuristic technology and this show could run forever with Maggie Smith as a snarky floating heading in a jar tossing out quips at Lady Mary’s great grandkids.
Add Some New Cast Members: Fans are already speculating that the show is wrapping up because Maggie Smith, the 80 year old living legend who plays Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, wants out. The prickly character is a fan favorite known for clever one liners, and the actress with her lengthy theatre pedigree gives the soapy drama a bit of added dramatic heft. Smith would be tough to replace, but not impossible. We’d just need a beloved British performer…maybe the most beloved member of a popular ensemble…someone who recently found themselves with a bit of extra free time? The answer is staring us right in the beautiful almost freakiskly symmetrical face! Zayn Malik needs to join the cast immediately. If anyone could warm up the icy widow Lady Mary, it’s the dreamiest member of One Direction, no?
Bring It To The Internet – I’m not sure if Netflix quite knew what they were doing when they brought cult hit Arrested Development back to life for one more season, but like Dr. Frankenstein before them, they created a monster. With every company in the world now looking to make TV on the internet there’s been a virtual outbreak of zombie shows. Community, Enlisted, Twin Peaks, hell even Wet Hot American Summer is getting the show it always deserved.
Add Some Youth – A quick way to summarize Downton Abbey might be old timey adults doing stuff in unrevealing clothing. Even the youngest cast member, Lady Rose, has been married off. So how do we make the olden times sexy? With attractive teens played by 22-year-olds, of course! Just look at the CW’s Reign. Why not reboot Downton with a younger sexier cast and an even looser grasp on reality? We all know that Saved by the Bell: The New Class was a major hit…or we could go the music route with an all teen spin off like Abba and the A-Teens. The D-Teens has a certain ring to it…wait…no…definitely don’t call it that. NEXT IDEA.
Maybe It Needs The New Media Treatment – Ok, here’s the pitch. After a hectic night fending off potential suitors at her 19th cocktail party of the month, Lady Mary returns to her room to discover a mysterious laptop. It’s 1924 and she has no idea what a laptop is but she just kind of figures it out. Naturally she decides to start a vlog on the internet which also doesn’t exist yet. Every day she updates her subscribers with gossip from her latest encounter with a marriageable man. There are occasional appearances by her sister Lady Edith, who mostly borrows Mary’s laptop to send salacious emails to the Turkish ambassador. If you think this idea is bad, just pretend that Mary is insane and this is all happening in a dream, or maybe on an island that’s actually Heaven. Whatever.
A Spin-Off About The Dog – People talk a lot about Maggie Smith, but the real star of Downton is Isis the dog. She’s the first character we meet in the title credits where her posterior is prominently featured in a tracking shot as she follows Lord Grantham on a stroll around the estate grounds. Isis disappears for long stretches of time during the series only to reappear suddenly at family functions. What has she been doing? Can she talk? Is she starring in a brilliant Pixar animated Downton Abbey spin-off I just created?! Probably yes!
All of these ideas are great and realistic and will definitely save Downton Abbey. Of course, in order for that to happen someone important will have to see them, so if you wouldn’t mind having your personal social media butler…
Share this article and in the comments let us know which idea is your favorite even though they are all awesome