It's as simple as this: If you've got a play called The Heiress, it's absolutely obligatory that whoever assumes the eponymous role is utterly persuasive. Unfortunately, that's not the case at the Walter Kerr.
We can choose to believe that everything and everyone is dumbing down. But I don't buy that. And I think a lot of others also don't want to be told what to think. People who -- if it's smart and sturdy -- will come, and sit still for as long as it takes.
The British import, which premiered in the U.S. on PBS Sunday night, transplants Downton's formula for success (British period drama with plenty of plot twists) from the English countryside in the early 1920's to a working class neighborhood in 1950's London.