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374 of 383 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon February 7, 2013
This DVD set is a real treat as it includes all 25 episodes from Series 1-3. There are seven episodes from the first series, eight each from the second and third, plus the 2011 Christmas special which was arguably the best single episode so far; it was certainly one of the most dramatic! The less impressive 2012 Christmas Special is also included to round off Season 3.

The three series so far have taken us from 1912, just after the sinking of the Titanic, up to 1920. The circumstances surrounding each series have been in contrast with each other. The first series ran up to the start of the First World War, and the one of the main thrusts of the story line was the matchmaking within the Crawley family and the various financial and social influences on the choice of a suitable partner.

The second series moves on to the war years, when Downton Abbey had been converted into a convalescent home for injured servicemen. The time setting is from the Battle of the Somme up to the end of the war. This background contributes to some very interesting scripts, and whilst some felt that it did not live up to the first series, personally I thought it was excellent, but different.

The Christmas special and the third series take place from late 1919 into 1920. The first features a very dramatic trial, and in the third series the household is far more back to the life of an aristocratic family as it was in the first series although the estate faces major challenges in the post war period and a need to embrace change if Downton is to survive. A major feature of the show is the interaction between the family and those who serve them `below stairs' and there are many strong performances amongst both groups. However, a review of Downton would not be complete without mention of Maggie Smith who, as Violet has some very funny lines and dominates every scene she is in. Shirley Maclaine was introduced in the third series, presumably as a foil to Violet, and the rather frosty relationship between the two worked very well. The 2012 Christmas Special takes us to 1921.

I am sure that there will be few viewers who have not seen Downton, which is the most successful costume drama since Brideshead Revisited some thirty years ago. However if there are any out there this will be an excellent introduction to the show for them. Even if, like me, you have seen every episode to date you will enjoy revisiting them. We now know that there will be both a Series 4 and another Christmas Special to look forward to.

For those of you interested in extra features, this set includes what was included in the individual DVDs for Series 1,2 and 3. This amounts to over three hours of additional material!
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80 of 84 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 15, 2013
This DVD set is a real treat as it includes all 25 episodes from Series 1-3. There are seven episodes from the first series, eight each from the second and third, plus the 2011 Christmas special which was arguably the best single episode so far; it was certainly one of the most dramatic! The less impressive 2012 Christmas Special is also included to round off Season 3.

The three series so far have taken us from 1912, just after the sinking of the Titanic, up to 1920. The circumstances surrounding each series have been in contrast with each other. The first series ran up to the start of the First World War, and the one of the main thrusts of the story line was the matchmaking within the Crawley family and the various financial and social influences on the choice of a suitable partner.

The second series moves on to the war years, when Downton Abbey had been converted into a convalescent home for injured servicemen. The time setting is from the Battle of the Somme up to the end of the war. This background contributes to some very interesting scripts, and whilst some felt that it did not live up to the first series, personally I thought it was excellent, but different.

The Christmas special and the third series take place from late 1919 into 1920. The first features a very dramatic trial, and in the third series the household is far more back to the life of an aristocratic family as it was in the first series although the estate faces major challenges in the post war period and a need to embrace change if Downton is to survive. A major feature of the show is the interaction between the family and those who serve them `below stairs' and there are many strong performances amongst both groups. However, a review of Downton would not be complete without mention of Maggie Smith who, as Violet has some very funny lines and dominates every scene she is in. Shirley Maclaine was introduced in the third series, presumably as a foil to Violet, and the rather frosty relationship between the two worked very well. The 2012 Christmas Special takes us to 1921.

I am sure that there will be few viewers who have not seen Downton, which is the most successful costume drama since Brideshead Revisited some thirty years ago. However if there are any out there this will be an excellent introduction to the show for them. Even if, like me, you have seen every episode to date you will enjoy revisiting them. We now know that there will be both a Series 4 and another Christmas Special to look forward to.

However, this will not be the definitive box set for long as at the time of writing Series 4 is about to air in the UK. It picks up just three months after the end of Series 3 - regular viewers will be interested to know that the producers have promised no further tragic deaths, at least for a while!
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144 of 156 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 2, 2013
There is something special about "Downton Abbey". It has all the trappings of a typical British costume drama, but it's got an extra spark that's allowed it to travel overseas and find great success here in the United States. I am a male in his 20s who enjoys dark TV shows like "Dexter" and "Breaking Bad" - on the surface, I'm not exactly in the demographic you'd think would be interested in "Downton Abbey". But I gave the show a chance, and I really enjoy it. So I'd encourage you to give it a chance too. Between "Downton Abbey" and the BBC's "Sherlock", I think Britain has two of the best shows of recent years.

As with any great TV show, "Downton Abbey" has a strong narrative and well-written characters. One thing that sounded a bit off-putting about the show was the idea of rich folks living in their castle with a bunch of servants. But as you watch, its obvious that the Crawleys (who own the estate) care very much for their staff. And when financial troubles hit the family, they do their very best to keep all their staff on payroll. They consider it their duty, and even their honor, to employ as many people as possible and treat them well (this is something that large companies today could learn from).

One of the most fun aspects is that this world is unfamiliar to most of us. The show's timeline so far spans from 1912 to the early 1920s. People spoke, dressed, and acted differently than they do now. Various world events from the time period are referenced in the show - the sinking of the Titanic and the British campaigns of World War I are two in particular that greatly affect the series and its characters.

This show feels very cinematic - the locations, the costumes, the sound design and the music are all fantastic. Despite TV programs having limited resources, this show is an example of what talented directors can achieve on a modest budget - the show feels every bit as grand in scope as a Hollywood feature film.

* This Amazon exclusive box set contains the first three seasons of the show (plus a bonus disc with special features). It's the perfect way to catch up on the entire series; it would also make a nice gift for a fan of the show.
** If you're a Prime member, you can stream all three seasons for free right now on Amazon Instant Video.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2013
We were expecting the complete season of Downton Abbey but got selected episodes. It is evident there were very significant episodes that were not included. That 'might' be acceptable 'if' it had been made clear in the product description. It created discontinuity and difficulty in understanding plot situations.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
Very nicely boxed DVD set for this excellent British series.
However, the downside is PBS Advertsement segments in your face.. Paid content should not include product advertising, infinte traileers are bad enough. In this case, when you launch the DVD you have to view long commercials for luxury products upfront. Really not aceptable. Otherwise, great sound and image.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2013
More happens in a single episode of this series than in an entire year of other regular TV programming. Character development is just amazing.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2013
I watched all 3 seasons on PBS and loved it enough to buy it. This is the British version and I was disappointed to find that whole scenes were edited out, presumably to allow for the commercials on ITV in England. These scenes were not crucial, but did clarify some later events. If I buy the 4th season, I will be sure to get the US version.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2013
This review is about the package as a whole, not the show (which is fantastic!!!)

the set has NO episode/disk guide, so there is no way of finding any particular episode without resorting to trial and error, which is a massive oversite that could have been prevented with the insertion of a single peice of paper.

The set itself is fairly empty, don't expect anything but disks. no inserts, no extra / fun packaging.. very standard.. nothing that screams "Deluxe"
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
Deceptive - one would think they are getting all episodes from seasons 1-3. This is not the case. It's like the horrific Reader's Digest abridged books series. If you want all episodes from seasons 1-3 look elsewhere. This is a waste of money IMHO.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon November 18, 2012
This DVD set is a real treat as it includes all 24 episodes to date. There are seven episodes from the first series, eight each from the second and third, plus the 2011 Christmas special which was arguably the best single episode so far; it was certainly one of the most dramatic!

The three series so far have taken us from 1912, just after the sinking of the Titanic, up to 1921. The circumstances surrounding each series have been in contrast with each other. The first series ran up to the start of the First World War, and the one of the main thrusts of the story line was the matchmaking within the Crawley family and the various financial and social influences on the choice of a suitable partner.

The second series moves on to the war years, when Downton Abbey had been converted into a convalescent home for injured servicemen. The time setting is from the Battle of the Somme up to the end of the war. This background contributes to some very interesting scripts, and whilst some felt that it did not live up to the first series, personally I thought it was excellent, but different.

The Christmas special and the third series take place from late 1919 into 1921. The first features a very dramatic trial, and in the third series the household is far more back to the life of an aristocratic family as it was in the first series although the estate faces major challenges in the post war period and a need to embrace change if Downton is to survive. A major feature of the show is the interaction between the family and those who serve them `below stairs' and there are many strong performances amongst both groups. However, a review of Downton would not be complete without mention of Maggie Smith who, as Violet has some very funny lines and dominates every scene she is in. Shirley Maclaine was introduced in the third series, presumably as a foil to Violet and presumably to please American viewers, and the rather frosty relationship between the two worked very well.

I am sure that there will be few viewers who have not seen Downton, which is the most successful costume drama since Brideshead Revisited some thirty years ago. However if there are any out there this will be an excellent introduction to the show for them. Even if, like me, you have seen every episode to date you will enjoy revisiting them. Although this is the definitive box set to date, purchasers should be aware that there will be another 2 hour Christmas Special in 2012. I imagine that this set was rushed out to take advantage of the Christmas trade, but it is a shame it was not delayed for a couple of months so that it could include the 2012 Christmas Special. It has now been announced that there will be a fourth series followed by a 2013 Christmas Special.

For those of you interested in extra features, this set includes what was included in the individual DVDs for Series 1,2 and 3. This amounts to over three hours of additional material!
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