The much anticipated Season 4 of Downton Abbey premiered last night in the UK, and it brought in big numbers to ITV network, the best for the series thus far.
It’s hard to believe that things could get any better for the period drama in the ratings department, but they have. On Sunday night, the show had its best opening night yet with 9.5 million viewers turning in to see what will become of the Grathams this time around.
There are plenty of things that are different this time around. The obvious one is that Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) and his clear blue eyes are not part of the show any longer, after he decided to step away from the show at the end of last season.
In what will most likely become one of the most shocking moments in period drama history, writer Julian Fellowes chose to cut Stevens out of the show in the most dramatic way possible, by killing him in a car accident mere hours after meeting his newborn son and heir to Downton Abbey.
The new season focuses on how Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) will survive the loss of her husband and what will become of her and her infant son.
With all the trials and tribulations the couple had to overcome to be together, it is heartbreaking to think that Matthew is now gone.
He was also the voice of reason as it came to estate matters and was often giving advice to Lord Gratham (Hugh Bonneville) bringing across his more forward way of thinking.
His loss is certainly felt by all the residents of the stately home and especially his mother, Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton), who after losing her only child is left with no purpose in this life.
It remains to be seen if Fellowes can keep the audience engaged with the new plot line. The first episode was still a record breaker for Downton Abbey with consolidated ratings averaging 11.9 million viewers for a 40 percent share of the market according to Deadline.