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posted: 1/5/2014 5:30 AM

Fans are up for 'Downton Abbey' starting season 4

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  • Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) return for the much-awaited fourth season of Masterpiece's "Downton Abbey." This season, "Downton Abbey" remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them.

      Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) return for the much-awaited fourth season of Masterpiece's "Downton Abbey." This season, "Downton Abbey" remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/PBS/MASTERPIECE

  • Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) and Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) return for season four of "Downton Abbey."

      Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) and Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) return for season four of "Downton Abbey."
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/PBS/MASTERPIECE

  • The newest threat to the culinary status quo, over which Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), with Daisy (Sophie McShera), reigns in the kitchen may just be the electric mixer.

      The newest threat to the culinary status quo, over which Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), with Daisy (Sophie McShera), reigns in the kitchen may just be the electric mixer.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/PBS/MASTERPIECE

  • Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) has a difficult time getting over Matthew's death in the new season of "Downton Abbey," which returns Sunday.

      Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) has a difficult time getting over Matthew's death in the new season of "Downton Abbey," which returns Sunday.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/PBS/MASTERPIECE

  • Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) is just one newcomer in season four of "Downton Abbey."

      Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) is just one newcomer in season four of "Downton Abbey."
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/PBS/MASTERPIECE

 
By Frazier Moore
Associated Press

As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, "downton abbey" remains a saga about elegance, tradition and gentility -- and the pressures of preserving them. on the premiere, airing at 8 p.m. sunday on pbs, lady mary crawley has buckled under the weight of widowhood six months after her husband, matthew, perished in a car crash. inconsolable at the start of the episode, mary (played by michelle dockery) dismisses their infant son as "a poor little orphan." her father, lord robert crawley (hugh bonneville), wrestles with business pressures: the death of matthew and the absence of a will have thrown the downton manor, already financially fragile, into further crisis. and so continues the saga.

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