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Posted: 25 Dec 2014 03:00 PM PST
The labrador's backside is back for Christmas. And let's hope it's not just for Christmas, eh? Actually, my Christmas wish would be that it is just for Christmas. Because if this convoluted outing proved anything, it's that this series has outstayed its welcome. Unlike Isis the dog, whose absence in this Christmas special finally disproved the conspiracy theory that she was just absent from the last episode to tease us. Sorry, people, but Isis really is dead.
As always this was a beautifully made and wonderfully acted confection showcasing all the shortcomings of the Downton Abbey brand. In the opening sequences, it felt as if the actors had been directed to speak the dialogue slowly and carefully in order to help viewers a) worse for the cooking sherry and b) unfamiliar with Downton (as probably many Christmas-only viewers were – lucky them). There was a lot of signposting of characters and history, which only served to flag up that there are often far too many people involved and far too many things going on.
As a standalone piece for anyone not following the series, I suspect this outing worked rather well as retro festive wallpaper. And there can surely be no finer features on screen than those of Matthew Goode (Wickham in last year's Death Comes to Pemberley and also a series regular in The Good Wife), seen fleetingly here flirting with Lady Mary and making a Dukes of Hazzard-style getaway in a fast motorcar. If he is coming in as the dark-haired replacement for Dan Stevens, that will be a happy event indeed.
For those of us who have been suffering the joys and pains of the past five series, it tied up a paltry number of loose ends (Dame Maggie's Russian tryst, Rose's uncomfortable relationship with her new inlaws, Edith not knowing that her father knows about the Impostor Child). And Uncle Julian did at least give us the payoff we've been anticipating since last year's Christmas episode: the marriage of Mrs Hughes and Mr Carson. Hooray!Photograph: Nick Briggs
But unbelievably (or totally believably if you are used to the snail's pace of Downton) he left the "Who killed rapist valet Green?" plot open. We don't even really know if it definitely isn't Anna or definitely isn't Bates. My money, despite the pub landlord's evidence, is still on Bates. But surely by now we deserve resolution on this? We found out Green was dead on 10 November 2013. Seriously, Uncle Julian, how long are you going to leave this hanging? Do you even know who killed him? I suspect no one cares any more.
There were some pleasing details. The Russian Silver Fox! Midnight skating to the strains of the balaika! Setting sail in the prince's yacht! The manic depressive Russian princess (Jane Lapotaire) was superb and, as every guest is forced to on this show, really made the most of her three sentences. Alun Armstrong as The Evil Butler, Stowell (yes, I know, I heard it as "Stole" and "Stowe" the whole way through, too), was wonderful: "I am not a novice anywhere." And there was plenty of Molesley, which is always a delight. But what a missed opportunity! When Molesley was rifling in Anna's drawers, I was convinced he would find the Ill-Defined Contraceptive Device. So disappointing.
But let's draw a veil over that and concentrate on the best marriage proposal ever from a man resembling a cautious and lovable badger: "Well, that's the point. I do want to be stuck with you ..." Who wouldn't drink to Mr Carson's happiness on Christmas Day?
Random subplot alert
The healing broth certainly rivals the controversial electric toaster, the impromptu soup kitchen and the miscarriage-causing soap as the most random subplot of all time. Still, who cares when it gives Spratt (Jeremy Swift) the chance to make his most excellent faces? The jury is still out on Denker. Sue Johnston plays the role as if there's a lot more to Denker than meets the eye. It would be wonderful if this were true (and Spratt hinted at as much). But knowing Uncle Julian, this is likely to be another red herring. Or a plot point that won't get resolved until 2017.
Surprise character development
One of the biggest surprises of series five has been the revelation of Cousin Violet's former life as a hussy. Dame Maggie has played this wonderfully, reverting to her 21-year-old self every time the Russian Silver Fox enters the county. The moment between Cousin Violet and Cousin Isobel about the "immoral proposition" was vintage Downton. The twin storyline about her love for the prince and Cousin Isobel's love for Lord Merton has been a good one, allowing the two women to draw closer together whil still holding each other at arm's length. This is the kind of thing Downton does so well. But we see it too rarely and too fleetingly, thus rendering an infuriating experience even more infuriating.
Golden eyebrow of the week
It has go to to the Earl of Grantham, who leaped up from his seat – in a manner reminiscent of Lazarus-Matthew leaping up from his "the-tingle-is-back" bath chair – as soon as he learned that there was an alibi for Bates. "We know which pub it was ..." "What?" He was closely rivalled by Branson, however, who rarely gets any eyebrow action but was forced to emote fiercely throughout this episode. An honorary mention for a beautifully furrowed brow during the weeping over Dead Sybil, swiftly undermined by the line: "I love the way you love her." What is this? Is Branson secretly Michael Bublé's lyricist?
Excuse me, could you just repeat that awkward line of dialogue?
• "It breaks my heart to see her there. But she is strong." Brendan Coyle (Bates) manages to deliver his lines as if he is simultaneously James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life and Hannibal Lecter.
• "You know me: never complain. Never explain." Dismayed that the mystery of Dame Maggie's Russian adventure has been solved. We want more Wayward Violet!
• "You're in for the Downton Christmas and if that doesn't put you off, nothing will." Also a metaphor for this phenomenon generally.
There's no Next Week! Hurrah! But series six is already confirmed and will be back on our screens in autumn 2015. Exhausting.
Posted: 21 Dec 2014 12:15 PM PST
By , Dec 21, 2014
As we round out the year, Christmas is upon us. The last shopping frenzies are ending and we turn to the kitchen to bake up our favorite goodies. If you are still looking for some last minute shopping ideas, you can still deliver items just in time. All of your favorite iDB editors compiled their favorite Christmas items in our annual Holiday Gift Guides.
One of my favorite decorative ways to celebrate is with holiday-themed wallpapers. It may sound funny, but that is the item I see most throughout the day, why not dressing it up in some red and green? Take a step inside for a selection of Christmas wallpapers for your favorite device.
To download the above wallpapers, tap on the device type below the image. Once the full resolution image loads, tap hold, then save the image. Open the Settings app, tap wallpaper, then select your camera roll folder. Choose your new image and set as wallpaper! From a desktop computer, right click save the full resolution image to your iTunes sync folder.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!
Who has some excellent Christmas, winter wallpapers to share in the comments?
Top image credit: placeit.net
Posted: 25 Dec 2013 01:23 PM PST
Merry Christmas travel peeps! I hope you are enjoying your Christmas holiday with good family and friends…and delicious food of course. We are in West Texas this week with my mom, dad, sister, brother and sister- in law and my adorable nephew and niece. We are about to stuff our faces with a traditional Christmas feast made by my mommy, Score!
Here is a digital Christmas pressie just for you! Sorry I didn't have time to wrap it. This months free wallpaper download comes to you from Volterra, Italy. A medieval town in the province of Sienna in northern Italy. Here is my favorite shot of one of the many towers.
Simply click the button with your corresponding device to download your free wallpaper download of Volterra, Italy. And you if have fallen in love with the photo, you can satisfy your longing by purchasing a print of it adorn your wall.
We wish you a lovely and Happy Christmas with the ones you love the most.
Posted: 20 Dec 2014 11:20 AM PST
Ae you ready to get your desktops and devices into the Holiday spirit? Decorate your Mac and iOS device backgrounds with this absolutely beautiful collection of high-resolution (5k!) holiday themed bokeh wallpapers, featuring gorgeous abstractions of Christmas lights and decorations as shot by Radoslav Holan. There are sixteen images to choose from, and every one of them is simply beautiful and perfectly fit for the holiday season. Pick and choose, or get them all below!
The ultra-high resolution wallpapers can be picked up one-by-one, or, if you want them all, you can get the entire collection as a complete wallpaper pack of all 16 images in a 67MB zip file from the download link below.
The zip file downloads all of the pictures shown in these thumbnails, the individual images can be picked up a bit further down the page:
This abstract Christmas wallpaper pack comes to us from The Black Milk and Radoslav Holan, who who you may recall also created this popular bokeh wallpaper pack. A big thanks to Radoslav for the pictures, happy holidays!
Each of these images links to a full sized version, you will probably want to open the wallpapers into a new window because they are quite large and can take a while to download:
Tis the season, so download this awesome collection and spruce up the wallpapers on your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, Android, or whatever else you're decking the halls of.
Posted: 25 Dec 2014 03:38 PM PST
25 December 2014
Posted by:Ferry Groenendijk
Welcome to our video game Christmas wallpaper page! From everyone here at Video Games Blogger we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Here we will post Video Game Christmas wallpapers and artwork images that you can use as desktop wallpapers. Most will be in 1920 HD and widescreen for you to download to your computer or PlayStation & other gaming systems. We will add to this gallery as we find cool new Video Game Christmas wallpapers.
Click on a wallpaper in the gallery to see if it's in 1920, 1600, 1280 or 1024 resolution.
To download to your PC computer: Right click on the Image. Select "Set as Background Image."
To download to your Mac computer: Click Image to Download to Desktop. Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences. Click Desktop & Screen Saver. Click "Choose Folder…".
Credit: These Christmas game wallpapers are based off official artwork provided by each game's publisher.
Please comment to share your favorite video game-based Christmas wallpapers!
Posted: 19 Dec 2014 07:28 AM PST
Christmas is already on our doorsteps and the end of this year is almost coming. It's never too late to hang your stockings, keep milk and cookies and wait for Santa Claus to drop in at your home with lots of gifts and Christmas cheer.
We all love desktop wallpapers as they always come in handy and you will always find a wallpaper to express your feelings or mood. I know some of my friends who keep changing their desktop background almost on a daily basis. Unless like me, who rarely change their desktop wallpaper. So, what about you? When was the last time you changed desktop background?
Christmas is time for Santa's gifts, for mistletoe kisses and for togetherness. It is the time of year when your loved ones come closer to celebrate the event and passing Christmas gifts and Good wishes to each other. So why don't you send some unique Beautiful Christmas Desktop Wallpaper Gifts to the people who are important to you and get a new look to their desktops.
In this showcase we present Beautiful Christmas Wallpapers to decorate your desktop in a special way. They're not related to any particular group, but are rather a collection of wallpapers we use to send our loved once.
More Christmas wallpapers from past collections:
Beautiful Christmas Wallpapers To Decorate Up Your Desktop
Wallpapers can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. Infect, we designers, can derive inspiration from almost everything around, and this collection can fulfills your joyful holiday inspiration related needs as we can promise you that when you start browsing them further in details it will surely refresh your memory and force you to download any or all for your desktop right now.
Find Something Missing?
While compiling this list, it's always a possibility that we missed some other great wallpaper. Feel free to share it with us.
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