The Emmys have already gone gaga for PBS' Downton Abbey, starring Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern and newcomer Shirley MacLaine, and now it's time for the fans to follow suit, as season three of the hit series gears up for its January 2013 premiere.

Season three will cover two years of the early 20s — years that witness the near financial ruin of the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville), mitigated somewhat by McGovern's Cora Crawley. "Cora is less afraid of the future than Robert is," Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes told E! "She's much less afraid of change and now you'll start to see more and more of that."

But things could still get dire for the beloved British and American Downton Abbey characters. "We could end with the Wall Street crash and have Robert playing the ukulele," said Fellowes.

Of course the most anticipated addition to season three of Downton Abbey involves the introduction of Cora's American mother, Martha Levinson, played by MacLaine — a character who is virtually guaranteed to butt heads with the proper Dowager Countess (Smith). MacLaine's addition to the show will proceed to shed some more light on Cora's character and her modest upbringing. Expect the tension to be not only personal but also cultural. "We have chosen the other route and brought America to us," Fellowes said of the decision to concentrate more on the cultural dynamic of characters' relationships.

In addition, there may be trouble in paradise ahead for Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Matthew (Dan Stevens), as they run into a snag while planning their wedding.

See if Downton Abbey sweeps the Emmys, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, with its 16 nominations on Sunday, September 23, 2012, on ABC.

For more on Downton Abbey, Maggie Smith and Shirley MacLaine:

SPOILERS: 'Downton Abbey' Producer Dishes About Season 3

Shirley MacLaine To Join Cast Of 'Downton Abbey'

Is Maggie Smith Leaving 'Downton Abbey'?

SPOILERS: Brendan Coyle Says 'Downton Abbey' Season 2 Cast Are 'Thrilled' With Emmy Nods

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