Alex Beam: Down on season two of Downton Abbey

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Alex Beam

Alex Beam. Image from

By any metric, “Downton’’ has hit a home run. Nationally, it has more than doubled PBS’s prime-time audience. Locally, “Downton’’ is enjoying a 5.8 rating, twice as high as “Masterpiece Classic’’ ratings last year. It is too early to know if that translates into increased memberships or pledge commitments for WGBH…

I loved the first season of “Downton,’’ with its obsessive attention to the “law of the entail,’’ which forbad the earl’s daughters from inheriting their father’s magnificent property…

Season two has a phoned-in quality; miracles occur where skillful writing might have intervened, subplots wax and wane randomly. But I am an originalist snob. I’m one of those people who can’t understand why anyone would watch NBC’s “The Office,’’ a show stolen character for character for character and situation for situation from Ricky Gervais’s much funnier British show. But what the heck, it’s television.

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