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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 26, 2016
Downtown Abbey is a fantastic historical drama. You follow both the rich people that live in the manor, and the staff that wait on them. The costumes are fantastic, as are the sets. All of the actors play their roles very well. It is very easy to get engrossed in this series, they really bring you into their world. Lots of drama in this household, that's for sure! Each episode is full of events and keeps you completely enthralled.
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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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on 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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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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on June 18, 2015
As always if you are a fan of Downton Abbey you will love this. I did.
Awaiting season six. I don't want the programme to end but realise one day it will.
I then can watch them all through again. Terrific acting by all. A wonderful series.
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on February 24, 2013
Anyone who's enjoyed the first two seasons will not be disappointed with this one. Just great storytelling all round. The main themes are change and the juxtaposition of the old with the new - everyone is a little bit correct and a little bit wrong on so many topics. You can see everyone's side to the story and it leads to a lot of interesting conversations when you push 'pause'! There are a lot of truly funny bits (Maggie Smith is a hoot!) and a lot of tears. The pace is terrific, too - so much happens in each episode that there's never a dull moment. A truly splendid achievement!
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on May 17, 2014
Bravo! Every episode of Season 3 kept me wondering what was going to happen next. Unfortunately, it ended with Matthew's death. What an awful way to end a season, but since the actor wanted out, I guess that was the only solution. Great performance by all.
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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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on June 7, 2014
After watching the series on a combination of PBS and Netflix we found that we had come the end of Season 2. Instead of watching it at a rate of one a week on PBS, I decided to give this season to my wife as a gift. She was very happy to receive it and it lead me to then order Season 4.
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on July 10, 2013
I'll get this out of the way up front. Hated the ending of this season of Downton - can't believe there was not another way out for this character to leave the series - I mean really - gratuitous tragedy. However, the rest of it was fabulous. The cinematography is outstanding, the acting as always superb, the costumes etc., grand and glorious. Not sure I want to see how Mary reacts to the death of her life's love and her new son's father. I might just leave it at Season 3 and have done with it.
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