The Grammy award-winning British TV series Downton Abbey finished its second series in the USA on Sunday night (February 19, 2012) and fans of the show are already eagerly looking forward to series three. The next season of the show has already been commissioned by ITV in the United Kingdom, and a September 2012 debut is expected. Shirley Maclaine will be joining the cast, which already includes the likes of Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith and Elizabeth McGovern.

Reviews for the season closer of Downton Abbey (which was a Christmas Special in the UK) were largely positive, adding to anticipation for the next run of shows from Julian Fellowes and his team. Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker described the finale as a "satisfying conclusion," adding that Bates' trial was "wrung for every tear and well worth it." Acknowledging the growing popularity of the show in the United States, The Guardian reprinted some of their writers' responses to the show from back in December 2011. Sam Wollaston calls the Labrador Isis "the star of series two" and admits that he has become consumed by his hatred for Bates' character, whilst Viv Groskop wrote that she was "torn between feeling utter betrayal and total delight about season two."

Season Three of Downton Abbey is expected to be set in the 'Roaring Twenties' and it is rumored that one of the plotlines will centre around Catholicism, though the exact story is as yet unknown. With the show's popularity growing on both sides of the Atlantic, though, Fellowes will no doubt be feeling the pressure to keep his audience on board.