That's it. Downton Abbey is done and dusted. The shoot has wrapped, and all that's left to do is actually watch the show, which I hear is quite an important element of a TV show. No amount of speculation or hoping is going to change the kind of show Julian Fellowes is bringing us this Fall, and even if it could, the guy is in his 70s; he's clearly not making stuff for the fandom obsessed TV landscape that treats Downton as something closer to Game of Thrones than Brideshead Revisited.
What Will Be Downton Abbey's Happy Ending?
It was established quite some time ago that Downton Abbey Season 6 would end on a feel good note, but what kind of tone that is still seems up in the air. I feel fairly certain that no spontaneous tragedy will befall our characters at the last minute. Though that does seem like something Downton Abbey would pull, I'm not sure it's the appropriate note to end on.
Even if every character does get the happy send-off they deserve, I'm sure many fans will be left rather tearful as this prolific series ends. The fans are likely to end up even sadder than the main cast, who actually seemed almost received to be done with shooting, cameraphones and all!
There's been much speculation going around that Downton Abbey Season 6 could go for the Four Weddings and a Funeral model, having joyous celebration abounding, only to be punctuated by the death of a significant character. As we approach the end, I'm doubting that will be the case, for the show will likely end with a celebration that brings the whole cast together, though whose wedding it is seems yet to be confirmed. Most fans would like the young glamorous characters like Lady Mary of Lady Edith to be wedded, but in all likelihood, it'll be Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes we see together at last.
A Flash Forward
This is only a speculative suggestion on my part, but something I would find quite neat. It would be a sombre and creative ending to have the 20s storyline come to a close, only to jump to the present day and see the legacy that Downton has left behind. Jumping forward would seem to put everything in perspective, and give us a sense of what these six seasons have amounted to, or if the show wants to take the cynical angle, not amounted to.
What's next for Downton?
Downton Abbey is one of those period piece shows that isn't tied to literature, or even a true sense of prestige, so is able to blast through history as carelessly as anything. It's a show that used the sinking of the Titanic as the springboard for its pilot episode, so I'm frankly surprised it didn't reach World War II and exploit the wealth of dramatic irony that can be had from that.
Now that it's ended, what do Downton fans have as a replacement? The closest thing I can think of that romanticizes history and has a similar vibe would be Outlander, though even that is vastly different in tone and intent. I suppose fans will just have to wait patiently for something to fill Downton's shoes.