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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on February 11, 2012
Ever since the end of season one on DVD I have been waiting for the release of season 2 of Downton Abbey. I think every review I read was more negative than positive so I was prepared to be disappointed. Sometimes I regretted having preordered season 2. Then on Thursday evening late season 2 arrived. Now, less than 48 hours later, I am longing for season 3.

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people sing like in old time movies, but this is a movie of a bye gone era so I think it has the right to not only have historical content but historical style.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.
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on February 28, 2012
My husband and I were glued to Season One and Season Two on Masterpiece Theatre so we naturally wanted the series for our collection at home. It is just fantastic! The acting is superb; the costumes wonderful and the setting is magnificant. The various plot threads are well done (sometimes moving along a bit quickly while others - Bates and Anna - going more slowly). We both thoroughly enjoyed every minute and now must wait patiently but eagerly for Season Three. I hope this Series never ends and would highly recommend the DVDs for anyone who wants to enjoy a trip down memory lane during the last days of British rule and splendour. It is pure fun, escapism, humour, tragedy and an exceptionally good historical re-creation and of course wonderfully entertaining.
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The greatly anticipated second series of Downton Abbey picks up two years on from the first series in 1916, in the middle of World War 1. Downton Abbey has been converted into a convalescent home for injured servicemen and the action covers the period from the Battle of the Somme up to the end of the war. As in the first series, topical events of the period, political, economic and military are covered.

The wartime scenario and the convalescent home setting provide an excellent background for some interesting story lines. The combination of excellent plot lines, great acting and the superb setting display all that is best in TV period drama. This time round we have eight more episodes to add to the seven in the first series. As befits wartime, the costumes are not as flamboyant as in the first series but they are thoroughly researched and appropriate to the period.

There continue to be many superb individual performances but mention must be made of Maggie Smith. What a stroke of genius to cast her as Violet. She dominates every scene she appears in and often has some very funny lines.

This DVD includes the Downton Abbey 2 hour Christmas Special which is probably the single best episode of Downton Abbey to date. High drama here with a cliffhanging murder trial as well as the usual romance, drama, betrayal etc one would expect!

The UK has a long tradition of producing fine period dramas and this is the most successful since the early 1980s when NEW Brideshead Revisited - Brideshead Revisited (director (Blu-ray) took the world by storm. Peak viewing figures in the UK are 11m which is an astounding number for that market. It is pleasing to learn that a third series is already planned and we now know that this will cover an 18 month period from 1920 to 1921. This one is likely to run and run and I would not be surprised to see Downton Abbey continuing up to the 1930s eventually.
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on April 15, 2012
This DVD of Downton Abbey Second Season is the Complete Version. It includes the all-important Christmas Episode. Don't hesitate, buy it NOW! Stop wasting your time watching episodes on TV and suffering through all of the intervening commercials. You should know by now that the commercials put together take MORE time than the episode itself.

This DVD is absolutely a great buy! There's is one down side: The 3rd Season episodes won't be available until later this year. What do you when you've finished watching all of the 2nd Season episodes?
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on April 12, 2012
Watched the whole first season in a weekend and couldn't wait to get my hands on the second season.
Watched it in 3 days over 3 evenings. It's the only way to watch this series as you can't wait until the next episode.
I loved how they interwove the story of Downton with the war and the varying impacts on everyone. All 3 daughters reacted in different ways as well as the Mother and Father. It was equally balanced with "downstairs" and the goings on with all your favourites. I can not wait until Season 3!
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on April 10, 2012
If you enjoyed the first series, you will love this one. It is set during the 1st World War. The family and staff see huge changes and upheaval that have permanent repercussions for all. There are a few interesting twists to keep you wanting to watch the entire series in one sitting. Even if you saw the TV series, the special two + hour Christmas at Downton Abbey segment, at the end of the series, (not shown with the TV series - I believe), still makes buying this well worth it. Looking forward to the third season!
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on April 27, 2012
I am a big fan of Downton Abbey. This is the perfect british serie. Love all the charaters. There is a lite comic releve once in a while. Can wait for january 2013
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on April 27, 2012
This is an amazing series, well done and so addictive! There is a group of us who get together to watch this, and we so look forward to each new episode. After seeing season one, one has to go on to season two, and I hear there will be more - can't hardly wait! The acting, sets, period clothing and plot are all excellent!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 20, 2012
The Downton Abbey series could be the nirvana of pleasure for fans of British period drama. Creator Julian Fowles, co-writers, directors, cinematographers, costume makers, scenery designers and, most of all, the actors, have succeeded in creating the best of the best. Even most of the professional critics are overwhelmingly impressed. The cynics and nitpickers will let a few minor lapses distract them but a grandiose production like this should be judged on its predominant qualities. This is not a documentary based on unbiased facts. It is nine hours of fictional entertainment of the highest quality loosely based on a culture and society in transition.

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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on May 28, 2012
Just opened the season 2 Blu-Ray set. The cover says PBS, Original UK edition. I've seen reviews of the separately-published Season 2 Christmas Special which say a) that special is the best program of both series and b) that at least in the UK edition that special isn't included in the season 2 set. Perhaps that is true in the UK, or in the DVD set, but I can confirm that the Blu-ray "Original UK Edition" set I ordered from Amazon Canada does in fact come with the Christmas special on disc 3 (the season 2 set has 3 discs, the season 1 set has 2 discs -- 9 hours of programming on the former, 6 on the latter). Season 2 set also has three special features on disc 3: Fashion & Uniforms, Romance in a Time of War, and House to Hospital. Season 1 set has two special features: Downton Abbey: The Making Of and Downton Abbey: A House in History.

So if you're ordering season 2 on Blu-ray in North America, don't bother ordering the separate Christmas special listed on Amazon -- it's included in season 2 BD.

It is unfortunate that Amazon Canada doesn't list the contents of these sets, the way they often do on other DVDs and BDs.
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