- Actors: Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery
- Directors: Andy Goddard, Ashley Pearce, Brian Kelly, Brian Percival, James Strong
- Writers: Julian Fellowes
- Producers: Charles Hubbard, Gareth Neame
- Format: NTSC
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Number of discs: 3
- Studio: Public Broadcasting Service
- Release Date: Feb. 7 2012
- Run Time: 480 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 214 customer reviews
- ASIN: B005Q1W0ZQ
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,516 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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Masterpiece: Downton Abbey Season 2 (U.K. Edition) [Blu-ray]
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Season 2 of the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey returns as The Great War rages across Europe, and not even the serene Yorkshire countryside is free from its effects. The men and women of Downton are doing their part both on the front lines and the home front, but the intensity of war only serves to inflame the more familiar passions love, loss, blackmail, and betrayal.
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I enjoyed the development of the story lines carried over from season one. Trying to tell a story with so many characters is a daunting task. And most probably terribly expensive. I have always regretted only one season of Berkeley Square, a series about the same time in history, with just as huge a cast of characters. Maybe the huge success of Downton Abbey will revive Berkeley Square, just as the Abbey has awakened nostalgia for all things Edwardian, including clothing styles.
I appreciated the softening of some characters and the hardening of others. For me, the process of personal change and cultural change is most interesting. Sybil's enthusiasm, impulsivity, is tempered by hard work over time, and leads her to strong convictions based on her own experience. Edith is rewarded from time to time for her devotion to others, but one still wonders why she is so pliable, so willing to seek a place to belong. Are there people who come into the world incomplete unless they have a place to lavish their love? And Mary; she is strong, aware of her peers and what is expected of her, but even when she takes the road always travelled, she does it in her own way.
In my opinion, the acting during season 2 is better than season one. Yes, there are a couple of places where reality leaves and people sing like in old time movies, but this is a movie of a bye gone era so I think it has the right to not only have historical content but historical style. And although one could say that Downton Abbey is no place to learn history, even the Bible says to tickle the baby's palate with honey to get him or her to eat solid food.
upper class characters and downstairs staff characters.We all say things to one another in pure fun: "Now look what you did....or... How are you going to solve this problem?
It has become a lot more fun!
The casting, except for Brendan Coyle (John Bates, Lord Grantham's valet) is superb. Since the beginning episodes I have felt that Bates and Anna Smith (head housemaid) are ill matched--mostly by their age difference although it wasn't uncommon for young women to respectably marry older men a century ago. For me they are more suited to be uncle and niece than lovers. But for a cast of fifty plus it is easily forgivable for only one character to be miscast. Coyle's acting does fit the role of a shy, sensitive, misunderstood and self-deprecating man who is a coweringly lacking in self-confidence, although stoically determined to cherish his Anna. She, played by Joanne Froggatt, gives depth to the relationship with Bates and, as the series progresses, she also fulfills superbly her role as confidant and loyal servant to the Crawleys, most of all to the three daughters.
The performance of a handful of actors can be highlighted. The veteran Maggie Smith (Countess of Grantham) sets a standard which no one else could equal. Her sweet/acerbic, forthright/sly, salt-of-the-earth personality keeps surprising us. Her role delightfully influences the outcomes in so many ways. Another veteran actor, with his commanding resonate voice, is Jim Carter (Charles Carson, butler/head of staff), who consistently portrays no-nonsense loyalty and leadership; he is stern but rules with a strong streak of justice and compassion when it is called for. Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley) is cast in a difficult role of someone who forever doubts her capability to be herself without upsetting her position as being the eldest, respectable daughter on which her parents, her grandmother, and the senior servants pin their hopes for her settling into a compatible, happy and productive marriage. It would be difficult to imagine another actress being able to fulfill the demands of this role as well as Dockery does.
Every good story has to have characters we love to hate. Rob James-Collier (Thomas Barrow, footman) and Iain Glen (Sir Richard Carlisle, engaged to Lady Mary) give us performances that wonderfully picture self-centred, deceptive, insidious scheming personalities. The third series, now in production (early 2012) will no doubt give these two opportunities to still make life difficult for the Crawleys. There are a number of plot lines which easily can be carried forward into the new season. The main one is of course the complex relationship between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley (ably played by Dan Stevens), but others are the possible threat to Matthew's inheritance of Downton, as per the wounded Canadian soldier Patrick Gordon (played by Trevor White), and how the communistic politics of Tom Branson (acted by Allen Leech) may impact the aristocratic family, and there is also also the continuing tragic predicament of Mr Bates and his Anna. The colours on writer Julian Fellowes' palette are plentiful and as long as the main characters are willing and able to continue production we can look forward to enjoying the highest quality of period drama available from anywhere.
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