The sixth and final season of Downton Abbey premiered last night on PBS. Here's a confession: I haven't actually watched Downton since sometime in the middle of season 3. I know; it's a great show. Trust me, I very much appreciate Julian Fellowes' masterful storytelling and attention to period detail. I know everyone revolted when Sybil and Matthew died. I read all about it in the news. I just couldn't bring myself to watch it, okay?
After speaking with friends and family members and scouring the internet, I see that my Downton Abbey experience is a tale as old as time. Sometimes a show bursts into the cultural zeitgeist, and for the first season or two, it's all people are talking about around the watercooler. (Kids, a watercooler is where office workers gathered to discuss things before Twitter.) Then, for various reasons, viewers just lose interest.
Why? Well, sometimes, the show goes off the rails. Signs of this include introducing random new characters (ahem, Nikki and Paulo on Lost), plotlines getting increasingly more batshit insane (Nip/Tuck or basically any Ryan Murphy show), and two characters being paired up who shouldn't be (Nick Miller and Jessica Day on New Girl). At times, the show can't keep up the fascinating momentum with which it debuted. In the case of shows that hinge on a central mystery, writers often struggle with what to do after that mystery has been solved.
Not every show is going to be awesome and amazing from beginning to end, and I completely understand that. What's different about the following series is just how indelible of a mark they left on our lives when they premiered. They were appointed viewing every week. Then suddenly, they weren't. We hardly even noticed when or if they ended.
I'm sorry, Glee. I definitely stopped believing. To be honest, I forgot you were even on after season 3.