Caryn James

'Downton Abbey,' The Middle Class and Money ('Ya Gotta Spend It on Somethin' ')

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 3, 2013 9:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Season 3 of Downton Abbey – as soapy, dramatic and witheringly funny as ever, and at times shatteringly sad – begins in the spring of 1920, and everything now has a whiff of the modern. Daisy the kitchen maid rides a bike through the village, Mary and Matthew are planning their wedding, Anna is determined to find the evidence that will free Bates from prison, and in the midst of all that comes the real bombshell. Lord Grantham has made a very bad investment, losing most of his American wife’s fortune; they may have to put Downton on the market. Viewers caught in the 2008 economic crisis can relate.

Sherlock Meets Bieber And Fifty Shades of Grey

  • By Caryn James
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  • May 3, 2012 8:45 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Downton Abbey is not the only buzz-worthy upscale/downscale gem from PBS’s Masterpiece this year. Season 2 of Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the 21st century version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s ultra-rational hero, begins on Sunday with “A Scandal in Belgravia.” The episode is smartly written by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who) and directed by Paul McGuigan with enough flair to make a cinephile smile – nothing too surprising about that. But it turns out  that Cumberbatch himself inspires the kinds of squeals more often associated with Justin Bieber, as I saw first-hand at a preview screening and Q&A in New York on Wednesday.

Downton Abbey: Does Mary Get Matthew, And Will Patton Oswalt Tweet?

  • By Caryn James
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  • January 5, 2012 9:01 AM
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  • 1 Comment
It took a costume drama about nose-in-the-air aristocrats to give PBS pop-culture traction. But just before New Year’s, there was Patton Oswalt catching up with season 1 and  practically swooning as he Tweeted with arch wit but no irony, “Oh DOWNTON ABBEY, how have I only just now seen your 1st episode? I'm as besotted as a vicar at a crumpet orgy!” And,  confessing his attachment to Lord Grantham’s feminist daughter, his unlikely sex symbol of a valet and the household’s proper but deeply humane butler, he admitted,  “I  now have a lust-crush on Lady Sybil, a man-crush on Bates and a scorching butler-crush on Mr. Carson.”  

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