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4.8 out of 5 stars
Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Season 1 (U.K. Edition)
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2011
If you can imagine Upstairs, Downstairs meets The Buccaneers, you will pretty much have this gem from ITV. Surprisingly, not from the BBC (which is doing an update of Upstairs, Downstairs set in the 1930s) it is every bit as good as a BBC production and much prettier than the new Up/Down.

Maggie Smith will definitely get a BAFTA for this if not an Emmy. "What is a week-end?" Bwahahahah!

Season one starts with the sinking of the Titanic and ends just as war has been declared in 1914. Season two is now in the works and I hope it goes even longer.

Makes me want to go back to England to see the filming location, Highclere Castle. Deep sigh!

N.B. Just a note about the editing by PBS. The reason that the ITV episodes were longer was mostly due to commercials (2 hours worth). PBS has edited their version a little but not much was removed. In any case, this version is the original UK version, so fear not!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2011
One of the best series I've seen in years. Superb cast and acting, witty dialogues, wonderful setting, gripping story. Can't wait for season two
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2011
Thankfully there is a sequel to be released soon! For those of us who cannot bear to watch any of the constant stream of utter junk and "reality TV"-nonsense on the seemingly endless number of completely inconsequential TV-channels, shows like "Downton Abbey" are few and far inbetween. Yet again I have to thank the Brits for affording me the pleasure of splendid entertainment!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2011
I first watched Downton Abbey on PBS and enjoyed it so much I could hardly wait for a continuation of the story. I ordered this first series from Amazon, and proceeded to watch it all over again! That's how good it is. It's an 'Upstairs Downstairs' kind of story, set in the period just before World War 1, with the implications of all the changes that will bring to people's lives, both above and below stairs. War has just been announced at the end of this series, so presumably in Series 2 the implications will become realities. The characters are terrific - you really care about them in both walks of life. The acting is wonderful. There are no weak links. I would single Maggie Smith out in particular - but they're all first class. Costumes, furnishings etc all beautifully in period and the dialogue of course is what gives us such great characterisations. The story grabbed me from the first moment - it's positively addictive!! Watch it, you won't regret it!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2011
Downton Abbey is one of the most engaging and charming TV dramas to come out of the UK in a long time. It took the audience in the UK by storm. It was the talk in every office as everyone anticipated the next episode. It left the British public begging for more and with luck, there will be a second series!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2011
Downton Abby presents a view of the world just before the Great War. In fact it is the last look at a society and way of life that was on the verge of great and catastrophic change. It is reminiscent in some ways of "Upstairs,Downstairs" in it's portrayal of life above and below stairs. Although some of the situations seem to have been taken from other movies such as Mrs. Miniver (when the Dowager Duchess, hands the trophy for best flower to a villager) still Downton Abbey does what it should, that is present an initmate view of the lives of all the occupants and the values of that era. It is visually rich and the ensemble cast is wonderful. I look forward to the next installment and recommend this to anyone interested in period English drama.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
This is one of the best TV series I have ever watched (and I have seen ALOT). "Upstairs, Downstairs" it is NOT. So much better. I recommend buying this one because you are going to want to watch it over and over. The scenes of the gorgeous "home" of the family is astoungingly beautiful, the surrounding landscapes are breath taking and the period dress is wonderful. There is so much going on, you have to watch it intently! The story lines between the servants downstairs is magnificent and the characters are definately made for you to love and hate. Same goes for the upstairs Lord of the manor and his family. All are well played and the storyline never leaves you disappointed. Maggie Smith (the Dowager Duchess) does a "crack-up" job; you love and hate her all at the same time. I watched the first season in a weekend and quickly ordered the second season and couldn't wait for it to come. The family goes through alot of turmoil because of what is happening in the world around them: The Titanic sinking, WWI and much much more. If you love the British type of programs, this will NOT disappoint you. I hope it is one that will run for many years to come. They didn't call it a "MASTERPIECE CLASSIC" lightly.
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42 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2011
PBS will be editing out over 3 hours of Downton Abbey when broadcast in North America as viewers allegedly will be unable to follow the inheritance laws pertaining to country estates in the UK. Well I expect 90 per cent of British viewers aren't au fait with the ways of the landed gentry in Edwardian England either - but the explanation is in the drama and it forms a key part of that drama and the choices facing major characters. How patronising to Americans that PBS has taken this high-handed attitude. Buy the DVD collection I would say.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Here we have a magnificent period drama as only the English can produce it. Wonderfully written and directed with a superb cast of actors. There are seven episodes totalling more than six hours of entertainment, plus two documentary/interview sessions. The visuals are all excellent, from the opulent Highclere Castle, the kitchen and servants' quarters, to the lush green surroundings. Camera angles of the actors often add dramatic poignancy. The sound and music perfectly complement the dialogue and action.

The only complaint viewers are likely to have is that the end of the last episode leaves a number of loose ends which are left in tantalizing limbo. In fact we can look forward to at least two more seasons (and a Christmas Special) which will be broadcast on PBS and Vision TV and later be available on DVD as well. This series has received many awards and high accolades. A full write-up and list of cast is available on Wikipedia.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2013
I was very disappointed when I realized that this is NOT THE ORIGINAL UK EDITION. It is the PBS edition as shown on TV. I had heard that the UK edition was longer and more detailed than what was shown on the shorter edited PBS edition. I thought since this said it was the original UK Edition, it would be inclusive. Unfortunately it was not. This season 1 package has 6 DVDs. I suspect that the full UK version will have about 9 DVDs.

http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B0047H7QD6/ref=cm_cr_rev_prod_title
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