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4.9 out of 5 stars
Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 3
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196 of 210 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2013
This is NOT my genre. I resisted watching this series despite constant begging from multiple family members and friends. Having the week off around Christmas, I thought... what the heck. I have Amazon Prime, so watching the series was free!

Let me tell you... I watched TWO SEASONS IN THREE DAYS and I am suffering from major withdrawl today! This series sort of treads water for the first two episodes but by number 3 it dives deep and remains there. I was a terrible parent for the last three days while I hid myself in my bedroom with my kindle fire HD and watched this compulsively. WOW. LOVE IT.
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716 of 788 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 with 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 announced 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 US one will - certainly the North American Series 2 DVD did include the 2011 Christmas Special. US 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 US 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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143 of 156 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
The English certainly have a way with words. They can insult you and you still feel like you are being respected! I was drawn into the drama, the characters and the acting. The dynamic between the "upper" and "lower" parts of the house makes for a very interesting series with many different storylines. All of this with no vulgar language and the absence of either "in-your-face" sex or sexual sugestiveness make it an extremely worthwhile watch. If only American TV would take notice.
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164 of 188 people found the following review helpful
The US edition of DA Season 3 (original UK edition) is 3 disks, 526 minutes which includes in addition to the 9 episodes the 2012 Christmas in the Highlands as well as interview with Shirley MacLaine and some other behind the scenes specials. Amazon offers the best price (PBS offers $39.99), an even better deal if free shipping. I can't wait until this arrives the end of January! After football season this will keep us occupied for some time! Just thought I would share this info.
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438 of 512 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
I apologise that I am not reviewing the DVD itself; its quality, extras and price etc., but the content of the show. I am sure that the quality of production for the series 3 DVD will be just as good as the previous ones, just make sure you purchase the unedited version.
Downton series 3 kicks off in splendid style, though I am a bit confused about the time line. Sybil is expecting and barely "showing" and we are told this is almost 6 months on from the Christmas special, in which we were told she was expecting. The early storyline with Edith is also a major inconsistency for me, but I cannot say why without giving things away. Apart from these niggles, this series is going to be about change. The world from top to bottom changed after WW1 and this series is dealing with those issues. I will not tell what's going on, but there are many changes coming for both upstairs and downstairs at Downton. Shirley Maclaine is terrific with the whole cast, but provides a perfect foil for Maggie Smith and the whole show is worth watching just for those two, well they have the best lines anyway. I only wish she was in it for more than the first 2 episodes. The sets, the costumes, the cars, the house are all wonderful and show such attention to detail. If you're a fan of Downton you will love series 3. (and it has been announced there will be a series 4!)
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
I realize that my lower rating of Season 3 will not be popular. First, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire first two seasons of Downton Abbey. The story lines, scenery, and acting were all brilliant. Season 3 was wonderful as well until you hit the very end of the finale, the "A Journey to the Highlands" episode.

** SPOILER ALERT ** When Matthew is killed in a car wreck on the way back from seeing his new born son the show just seemed to plunge too deep into darkness. Let's review: Cybil dies after childbirth; Lord and Lady Grantham's marriage is strained greatly as Lady Grantham blames Cybil's death in part on Lord Grantham's decision; much of the season has poor Bates in prison so Anna and Bates are apart; Tom struggles with Cybil's death; Lady Edith is interested in a married man, a man that is married to a women in an insane asylum so for some reason he is unable to get a divorce; when we meet Shrimpee (sp) we find that he is in a miserable marriage; then Lady Mary and Matthew happily great their new born son, only to have Matthew get killed in a car wreck shortly after his son's birth. My point is that Downton Abbey seemed to lose much of its joy during season 3.

I hope season 4 will bring back some glimmer of joy to Downton Abbey.
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258 of 320 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
I'm addicted to Downton Abbey. I'm addicted to the dialogue, to the fashion, to the twists and turns of life in the Grantham realm. I love the show for the values that it promotes - values long forgotten and exchanged for the seemingly more exciting lives of housewives and misguided youth. So bring back the times when people lived and died for honour. When every person's ultimate battle, rich or poor, consisted of enlarging the good and bright, and diminishing the dark and evil in his being. Visually, there is little on international television that can compete with the magnificent production, editing and cinematography of Downton Abbey. It is just visual excellence, from Day One. I am soooo looking forward to Matthew and Mary's wedding....
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
To be clear, that's one star for AMAZON, not Downton Abbey. Viewing at 9 PM on Sundays doesn't mesh well with our Monday morning schedules so we were positively gleeful to get our Series 3 DVD, advertised as the "Original UK Version" on Amazon. Last night, while surfing the internet on my laptop for Charlotte Russe recipes for next week's viewing party, I decided I needed another peek at Ethel's masterpiece, so I popped over to PBS.org for another look, rather than get up and fiddle with the TV and remote. Of course, you can't just re-watch one scene so...much to my surprise there were Thomas and O'Brien in the corridor discussing Jimmy/James! I checked with my fellow Downtonians from last week's DVD-based viewing - this scene was not on our disc - what is going on here?!? I want every last frame of my DA!!!
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2012
This series is why I watch television at all. It has style, dramatic tension, superb acting and terrific writing.
I HIGHLY recommend Downton Abbey.
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65 of 81 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
I just received the blu ray I purchased on amazon in the US featuring the UK version of the show, which is the only version available. We watched episode 6 on the blu ray just as it was airing on tv here in the US. We happened to see the episode on TV after we saw it on blu ray and were shocked to discover that the blu ray did not include key moments compared to what was shown on television. For instance, there's a key scene in which Mrs O'Brian tells Thomas that the new valet has a crush on him, leading him on. This scene is not in the episode on the blu ray. In addition, there are several moments of dialogue missing from other scenes. Consequently, DO NOT WATCH THE BLU RAY BELIEVING YOU'RE SEEING THE FULL VERSION. I will not see the next episodes on blu ray because I'm certain I will be missing key moments. My guess is that in the UK they have commercials and they need shorter episodes than in the US, where the series airs with no commercial interruption. In summary, unless there's an American version of the show in blu ray coming up, which I doubt, I recommend that you watch the show live on television in the US and you don't buy this UK version now on sale in amazon.
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