By Michael Arbeiter, Hollywood Staff
The trouble you run into with a show like Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, or Downton Abbey is knowing when to pull the plug. These beloved television dramas, more than most, have a sensitive shelf life. As the time periods of the programs in question (Mad Men's 1960s, Boardwalk's 1920s, and Downton Abbey's 1910s-and-counting) are as important to the flavor of the show as the characters and stories themselves, you can only extend for so many years without losing what made the show in the first place. Can we really accept Don Draper in the disco age, or Nucky Thompson in the Great Depression? Clearly, Downton producer Gareth Neame isn't too worried about this, as he affirmed to the New York Daily News that he hopes his aristocratic drama lasts for ''10 years.''
''I would rather let the show run between four and 10 years, I imagine,'' Neame said at the BritWeek Downton Abbey Celebration in Santa Monica, Calif. ''I think it is going to go on for a while. Right now the show is still growing in the U.S. and it would be awful to think of the show ending.'' But the producer is wary about pushing the limits too far: ''I would rather that we picked the right year (to end) and that in 20 years time the show was loved rather than we went on a season too long and people fell out of love with it.''
While a Downton Abbey spanning the first half of the 20th century sounds a bit daunting, we trust the judgment of Neame, and the series' creator Julian Fellowes. Who knows - throw a few time gaps in there, and maybe we'll see the Crawleys' throw in their two cents on that Fab Four all the youths raving about...
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