|Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Suzanne Dockery in Downton Abbey.|
The end of Downton Abbey was hardly the sort of dramatic, divisive event that has characterized the conclusions of so many shows from the so-called Golden Age of Television. There was no climactic shootout with neo-Nazis, no ambiguous ending scored by Journey, no revelation that ended in a Coca-Cola ad. Instead, we got a glimpse of a happy family, still completely intact from the start of the season (if not the series) and enjoying a moment of happiness amid Christmas decorations and falling snow. The finale, which aired on Christmas in the UK and this past Sunday in the States, was upbeat to an almost absurd degree, pairing off almost all of the potential romantic couplings and avoiding virtually anything that would darken the mood. In this regard, it was a fitting end to a series whose initial success and enduring popularity eventually sat at odds with general dismissal from critics.