Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Maggie Smith’s perpetually aggrieved Dowager Countess is in for a right proper decorum-off on the third season of Downton Abbey—a.k.a Dynasty for people who pretend to have never heard of Dynasty—what with the announcement that Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast. MacLaine will play Martha Levinson, mother to Elizabeth McGovern’s American-born Lady Grantham, and a “wonderful combatant” to Smith’s character. There are going to be so many tense stand-offs over rugs and flowers and things. It's the gilded cage match of last century.


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