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'Downton Abbey' Star Elizabeth McGovern Talks Trash on Season 2

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Apr 25, 2012 | 9:25am EDT

Jonah HexDownton Abbey is one of the most popular televisions shows in the whole darn world. The soapy drama, which follows the wealthy family that lives in a British manor house at the turn of the century and the servants who run it, is a huge hit on ITV in Britain and a surprise smash this side of the pond on PBS. Still, not everyone was so keen on the second season of the show, which ended (for American viewers) in February. That seems to include Elizabeth McGovern, the American actress who plays Lady Cora on the show.

Many critics and fans weren't so keen on the very outrageous and fast-moving plots of the second "series" (as our British cousins call it) including a character with amnesia and a miraculous recovery for one character in a wheelchair (spoiler alerts!). "It's kind of a taste thing, and the show in the first season was more to my taste than the show in the second season," McGovern told the L.A. Times while at the Tribeca Film Festival promoting her new movie Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. Ouch! That's gotta sting for the show, but at least Lady Cora has the naysayers backs. If only Lea Michele would be so honest!

She explains further, saying that dealing with World War I spoiled some of the mood of the series, "What's made the show successful and different is that attention to character detail and that's what the audience likes. ... Writers [in the second season] had to do a lot of glossing over the domestic life, and some of the small moments between characters that characterized the first season."

So, can we look for the third season, which is already filming in the land of earls and their honeys, to be a lot better? McGovern says so, especially because we're going to see Dame Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess square off against an American newcomer played by screen legend Shirely MacLaine. Alright, Downton we will forgive you for amnesia, miraculous recoveries, babies born out of wedlock, eloping to Ireland, a well-timed death by the plague, and all of the other insanity of Season 2 if you promise not to mess up having MacLaine. Deal?

Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan

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