Downton Abbey will come to an end with season 6 and the Christmas Special, which will both air in the UK later this year, and in the US in January 2016.
Although this has not yet been officially confirmed by the network responsible for the series, ITV, the overwhelming number of reports, and the comments made by Dame Maggie Smith in March appear to confirm that the end is nigh for Downton. Dame Smith was quoted as saying "I can't see how it could go on," and this seems like an adequate assessment of the series' predicament as it reaches its 6th season.
Julian Fellowes, the creator of the show and writer of every episode to date, has signed on to create a new show, The Gilded Age, and DA stars have already begun to branch out and work on new projects. It is a good time to call quits on the Crawleys.
Once we have said goodbye, what is next? Read on to find out!
How Will Downton Abbey End?
Before Fellowes can end the series, certain things need to happen to satisfy his devoted fans.....
Mary's Happy Ending?
Viewers don't know much yet about Matthew Goode's Downton Abbey character, Henry Talbot, since he only appeared in last season's Christmas special. But if Goode doesn't come back and sweep Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery) off her feet, I for one will be terribly upset. Mary needs to get a happy ending, and the charming, clever Talbot seems like the perfect partner for her to end up with when the series comes to a close.
Goode has been a revelation over the past few years, playing Finn Polmar on [The Good Wife](series:200801) and codebreaker Hugh Alexander in [The Imitation Game](movie:267965) , and his role in the Christmas special was once more a scene-stealing performance. Since Goode has been wasted by writers of The Good Wife, and that series may be coming to an end soon anyway, it seems like the perfect opportunity for his Henry to fall madly in love with our Mary.
The Marriage of Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson
While producers have suggested that Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson may not have an easy path to the altar ahead of them, fans will be looking forward to seeing their favorite downstairs-Downton stalwarts eventually tie the knot.
The beautiful proposal in the recent Christmas special was a lovely gift to viewers, especially given the continued drama facing Anna and Mr Bates and Mary and every man she ever meets.
Phyllis Logan as Mrs Hughes and Jim Carter as Mr Carson have helped Crawleys and Abbey staff alike throughout the series, so it seems fitting that when Fellowes ends Downton Abbey the pair get the happily ever after they deserve!
Rose and Tom return for a final, drama-filled dinner
Lily James has been busy promoting [Cinderella](movie:373064) , and her character in Downton Abbey moved to America with her lovely, new husband. Allen Leech has also been busy on the big screen, starring in [The Imitation Game](movie:267965) and striving to make a fresh start in America, just like his Downton character, Tom Branson.
The pair will return at some stage in season 6, but it is unlikely that viewers will get to see much of them this year.
Tom hasn't been as interesting since Sybil died, and Lady Rose was no substitute for Sybil within the family, so this isn't particularly bad news. But, one last family dinner interrupted by a shocking announcement or a rowdy, political discussion would be nice to see before Downton ends.
What Could Ever Replace Downton Abbey?
It may seem like an impossible task, but one show is the standout contender. Downton viewers are sure to enjoy this exciting, romantic romp through 18th century Scotland.
When Outlander is first explained, it may sound a little far-fetched. Even the way the poster looks like something from the Hobbit put me off at first.
Outlander may seem a little too fantasy/sci-fi-esque for some Downton fans, but after overcoming the time-travel aspect, DA fans will become hooked on this new series.
Adapted from books by Diana Gabaldon, [Outlander](series:1001496) follows the story of Claire Randall, a British WW2 veteran that is sent back in time from 1945 to 1743 while on a holiday in Scotland with her husband.
To date, the series has been a fabulously romantic tale of love, conflict and a clash of cultures - all of which Downton Abbey fans have become accustomed to enjoying.
While Tom and Sybil may have seemed like the perfect coupling of people from two very different worlds, wait until you see Claire and her hunky Scottish friend Jamie Fraser slowly fall in love. It is heartbreaking to think one day he might lose her, just like Tom lost his true love, but makes for an intriguing series that keeps you coming back for more.
Wonderful acting, costumes and stunning Scottish highland scenery round out this show to make it truly worthy of the title of 'Best Replacement for Downton Abbey'!
Are you sad that [Downton Abbey](series:251870) is coming to an end? Or do you think it is time for something new? If you've seen [Outlander](series:1001496) , do you agree that it will be the perfect cure for Downton Abbey withdrawal?