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4.7 out of 5 stars
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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
The much anticipated Downton Abbey Series 3 starts in Spring 1920, carrying on from the superb Christmas Special which was set over the 1919/20 holiday period. The first episode picks up with Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley at last about to get hitched, but as usual there is quite a lot going on at Downton both above and below stairs and you just know that nothing is going to go smoothly.

Shirley Maclaine makes her appearance as Martha Levinson, Lady Grantham's American mother. As usual, Violet, played by Maggie Smith manages to set the scene with some rather pithy comments. Martha has no time for the stuffy English and their traditions and is not slow to voice her opinion. Clearly she was introduced as a foil to Maggie Smith and the interplay between the two does work very well as one suspected it would. Violet seems to manage to continue to dominate any scene she is in.

There are plenty of dramatic moments in the new series, as life on the Downton estate returns to more as it was shown in the first series, before the First World War when it served as a convalescent home for injured servicemen. However, there are new challenges for Downton in the post war period. The interaction between the family and those that serve them `below stairs' continues to be a rich source of story lines for the script writers and is a major contribution to the success of the show.

Downton Abbey is the most successful costume drama from British TV since Brideshead Revisited some thirty years ago - and this is quite an accolade as they produce a lot of this sort of drama in the UK. Regular viewers of Downton will have been holding their breath wondering whether Series 3 could possibly keep up the very high standards of the previous episodes. However, we need not have worried and few will be disappointed will the latest series. You really wonder how far Downton can go - personally I would not be surprised if it runs up to the 1930s in due course so hopefully plenty to look forward to! The really good news is that we know there will be a two hour Christmas Special in 2012 and although a fourth series has not yet been announce it will be very surprising if it does not follow.

Although the UK issue of this DVD does not include the Christmas 2012 Special, it is very likely that the North American one will - certainly the North American Series 2 DVD did include the 2011 Christmas Special. US and Canadian buyers would therefore be advised not to order the separate Christmas 2012 DVD until this point is clarified as they may well find it is included with Series 3. The UK DVD also includes 68 minutes of extra features which one would expect that the North American DVD will also include. The special features are Downton Abbey in 1920, The Men of Downton Abbey, Two Weddings, an Interview with Shirley Maclaine and Behind the Scenes - The Cricket Match.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2013
The show is marvelous! Well written and acted. I purchased the first two seasons from Amazon UK and enjoyed them thoroughly. The problem with this set is that it is full of commercials. They don't occur during the episodes, but there are introductions by the American Masterpiece Theatre and adverts for a cruise line and a clothing company which pop up far too frequently. I purchase DVD TV seasons specifically so that I don't have to watch commercials and this was a total annoyance. It should be noted in the product description that there are commercials included in the set. Other than that the show itself is wonderful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
I am one of those people that is totally addicted to this AMAZING series. I jokingly 'count the sleeps between each Sunday episode.
I have also warned my husband that when my season 3 dvd's get here he will need to 'fend for himself' cause I will be curled up on the sofa, eyes fixed and ears attuned to the tv.
20 more sleeps till my dvd's are here
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 17, 2013
Julian Fellowes, the writer and master puppeteer of this period drama series has to be acknowledged as the world’s most superb craftsman of TV dramatics. This, the third season, is perhaps the best of the three in terms of dramatic surprises, historic authenticity, outstanding acting and quirky humour. The strength of this grandiose project must also be credited to the vast amount of financial resources available to Fellowes and the producers. The revolving cast of over thirty main characters allows maximum creativity with never a dull moment for the viewing audience. For the fun of it I researched one-on-one interpersonal conflicts and tensions in part five and I found at least eighteen! But these are offset by an equal quantity of positive, affectionate and problem-solving incidents. The humorous comebacks and rejoinders lighten the dialogue whenever it is in danger of becoming too serious or sentimental. This is where Hollywood has much to learn. So many of America’s TV productions are either too crassly edgy, too schmaltzy maudlin and lacking in finesse.

The only weak point in a lengthy series like this is the danger of main characters having to be written out because the actors will no longer continue participating. But, actors have lives too, so we must forgive them. But it presents challenges for the writer to find credible solutions. Being confronted by this necessity to eliminate a main character before the start of the fourth season I thought Fellowes took the easy way out this time. Frankly I thought it lacked realism and could have been done much more creatively. But overall, that misstep does not detract largely from the masterpiece which makes up all of the third season. Bravo!!

Being a huge fan of this series, I hope Maggie Smith will live forever! She is without a doubt one of the top ten British actors of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2013
The Season 3 discs of Downton Abbey were fantastic ! I could not rate it any higher, but would if I could. The acting, the story lines, the cinematography, the music score, and even the scenery where it is filmed are all amazing and thoroughly enjoyable. I would recommend the entire series to anyone who loves good film and family entertainment. I look forward to season 4, and hopefully Season 5 and beyond. Nothing in the series has disappointed me, and I doubt the upcoming seasons will, with the excellent writing and direction in this award -winning series for PBS. Thank you for the clean, honest way the stories are told. It's a wonderful way to spend those long winter nights, watching and re-watching (sharing with family and friends) Downton Abbey. A great Christmas gift for anyone who loves good drama and awesome story-telling ! Kudos to the producers, directors, actors, and entire crew of DA. And thanks to PBS for bringing it to North American audiences.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2014
Could be rated as one of the all time great series, great story lines with twists which at times come from far "left field"

Worth every minute of your time watching,
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2013
I have yet to see my season 3! I am looking forward to savouring this session and the following series.. I have introduced this series to family and friends and they are smitten as I am. It is an exceptional form of losing yourself to quite a classy generation, involved in all the same human dynamics we humans in this generation are. Difference?
They say it, they look in your eyes...... We text it!

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2013
We bought this to take on an RV trip. First night we put it in the DVD player anxious to start season 3. We tried all 3 discs and each time got a disc error message. To confirm we didn't have a problem with our player we tried several other DVDs we brought along and all performed as e pe Ted. This was. Big disappointment and will be returned when we get back home.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2014
I thought I would be able to enjoy this cd on my computer, but the sound had
been deliberately cut off and another item was required to be purchased in order
to get audio. What a rip off. Fortunately, I was able to watch it on my TV monitor
without the need to pay extra to hear it. Deliberately tampering with the audio
is a mean trick.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
I love this series and look forward to each new season. The settings and the costumes are absolutely beautiful but I especially enjoy the protocol and interaction between those upstairs and down. My mother once worked below stairs in a big estate house in England and Downton Abby bring to life some of the customs and expectations she once told us about.
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