“Downton Abbey,” which will premiere its third season on PBS on Sunday, January 6, has become such a huge international hit that it has spawned numerous parodies — from Jimmy Fallon to “Saturday Night Live” to Stephen Colbert. Some of TV’s funniest people are creating tributes to the British period drama, not to mention all the online takeoffs.
When the series airs in the New Year as part of Masterpiece, the first World War is over, the long-awaited engagement of Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens) is on — or is it? When Lord Grantham discovers he made some bad investments, it remains to be seen how loyal Matthew really is to the family.
But before tuning in to the new personal crises that grip “Downton,” XfinityTV.com spoke to “Masterpiece” executive producer Rebecca Eaton, Joanne Froggatt (Anna) and Rob James-Collier (Thomas) to find out their favorite parody, as well as their favorite episode from Season 2.
Joanne Froggatt: There are all sorts of things on the Internet, but I make it a rule not to look for things. But if someone sees something funny, they pass it on to everyone else. The last thing I saw that I thought was funny — but it wasn’t a parody — was a bunch of elves doing a dance to the [theme song] with our faces on the elves. That was quite funny.
Rebecca Eaton: The one taped for the Colbert report is my favorite. It marries “Downton Abbey” with the really popular American television show “Breaking Bad.”
Watch Stephen Colbert’s “Breaking Abbey”:
Rob James-Collier: I have watched a couple of them but my favorite one is the Jimmy Fallon one, where Whoopi Goldberg was in it as the guest. I have to give it to Jimmy Fallon, he’s brilliant. Instead of Bates (Brendan Coyle) having a crutch, he has an iron leg and all that.
Watch Jimmy Fallon’s “Downton Sixbey”:
Favorite Season 2 Episodes:
Joanne Froggat: If it is my favorite episode as an actress to play for my character, I would have to say the last episode when Mr. Bates is in court and he is found guilty and given the death sentence. Then he is reprieved, which was a really nice journey for both of us to play. In terms of that, it is my favorite episode. As a viewer, it is the finale as well because I love the end when Matthew asks Mary to marry him. That was so beautiful. I think the whole episode was really strong.
Rebecca Eaton: It has to be the last episode because you stop hanging off the cliff. You can crawl back up onto the cliff because most things seem to be resolved. Bates is not guilty, even though he is still in jail. Matthew and Mary seem to be getting together, so it has a happy ending.
Rob James-Collier: It would have to be where Thomas dabbled in the black market and where he lost everything because I got to completely tear down a shed and trash it to bits. You can get out all your frustrations in life — any anger you had because you just had a meeting with your accountant and he gave you his bill — and take it out on the shed. It was great. We only had one take and I just had to go for it. It was one of those exhilarating times as an actor because you know you can’t go again because we haven’t got time. That gets the adrenaline going. And then the scene after that when O’Brien finds him and he is at the lowest we have ever seen him, it was just great. You saw Thomas — he wasn’t vain, he wasn’t conceited, he wasn’t arrogant — he was just broken.
In Season 3, episode 7, which you haven’t seen yet, is a humdinger. I think it is the best episode yet. It is gritty and dramatic. It is like watching an HBO show or something, “Downton” gets dark. That is all I can say on that matter.
Watch a Promo for the Third Season of “Downton Abbey”:
“Downton Abbey” premieres Sunday, January 6 at 9/8c on PBS.