Downton Abbey is about to return to PBS’s Masterpiece Classic, in what is shaping up to be a defining season opener for the show.

The last season left many more than a little disappointed with the increasingly ridiculous and at times soapy plotlines and, in order for American audiences to stay enamored with the period drama, this third season has to offer something new and exciting. And, from the reviews so far (due to PBS’s scheduling strategy, Downton airs in the US about half a season behind the UK), it looks like this season certainly won’t disappoint.

There’s no question that part of the appeal of this show comes from the costumes, the settings, the stuffy manners… the fact that everybody has to be impeccably dressed for dinner, etc. But there’s more to Downtown this season. The war is over. And yet nothing is settled, because the characters still have to face issues like class struggle, gender politics, uncertain investments, in short, things that all or most of us are facing today, almost a century after the events of Downton are set. Add to that some really phenomenal acting and all of those beautiful costumes, and it’s no wonder that the unlikely period drama has managed to capture the imaginations of about six million viewers since it began airing in the US.