Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey, Season 1
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In the tradition of the BBC's Upstairs Downstairs and Robert Altman's Gosford Park, for which writer-creator Julian Fellowes received an Academy Award, the royals, servants, and middle-class relations struggle to get along. Sniffs uptight maid Miss O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran), "Gentlemen don't work," but that doesn't stop Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) from competing for Matthew's affections. Though it takes awhile to warm up to the tightest-wound characters, most everyone reveals their more vulnerable side before the first season comes to an end, and a new small-screen classic is born.
The entire sprawling cast is quite wonderful, particularly Bonneville, Carter, and James-Collier, who provide a fascinating study in contrasts (the latter is downright dastardly). Unlike the version that aired on PBS's Masterpiece Classic, this set offers seven parts rather than four. Extras include a featurette, in which cast and crew discuss the production, and an introduction to Hampshire's Highclere Castle, which doubles for Downton Abbey. The first season was a phenomenon in the United Kingdom, and Fellowes has promised a second season set during World War I. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
A House in History
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Top Customer Reviews
To me, this is ruinous to a finely produced English landscape, pre-world war I.
Just be more alert to this. I am not aware of any information from my PBS station to this effect, that I am indeed viewing a condensed version of Downton Abbey....
I have just purchased DVD, UK edition of Downton Abbey to view in my home....this should be a more in-depth story, without the shifting of scenes that add up to being difficult to the entire story line.
Do not buy the so-called "dumbed down" PBS version of the outstanding British ITV series Downton Abbey. We watched the entire series with great joy while in the UK last year, and after excitedly telling our American friends to watch Downton Abbey on PBS, my husband and I looked at each other in horror and confusion as we watched one butchered scene after another. Don't be misled by those who recalculate the running time to account for the removal of commercials (from the ITV version) or the reformatting to shorten the series by increasing episode length (7 episodes in the UK, 4 longer episodes in the US). The fact is, SCENES WERE OMITTED AND OR TRUNCATED because as PBS Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton shamefully admitted, "American audiences demand a `different speed' to their shows." She also claimed that American audiences would have trouble understanding the complicated inheritance issues. Wow. This is an extraordinary admission from a PBS executive. Don't people turn to PBS for an intelligent alternative to the idiocy of American commercial television? I submit it is Rebecca Eaton who is dumb, not the PBS viewership.Read more ›
Simply put, "Downton Abbey" tells the story of one English estate consisting of the Crawley family and their household staff in the years preceding World War I. Fellowes does an incredible job introducing his massive cast. Sometimes when dozens of characters are thrown at you immediately, it takes a while to sort everyone out--but no such problem here. Within the first half hour, I had everything I needed to know about the house dynamic and the role everyone played in it. There are many plot strands threaded throughout the production, but the main drama stems from the fact that the apparent heirs for Downton Abbey are killed on the Titanic. Unable to appoint a female inheritor (the Crawleys have three daughters), a distant and middle-class relative is next in line. When this city lawyer and his mother arrive to become acquainted with the property, the drama starts to unfold.
There is a LOT going on in this house--both in the servants quarters and in the master chambers!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Three cheers for retirement which afforded me the opportunity to binge watch Downton Abbey. This was a truly lavish production supporting a stellar cast which in turn delivered... Read morePublished 6 hours ago by Louis Lope de Haro
I truly enjoyed this Masterpiece! From episode 1 season 1, to episode 9 season 6.Published 8 hours ago by Fenton B Slaughter
This series was intriguing...i got hooked after the first episode! I'm almost done with Season 5 and have the final season left to watch after that.Published 8 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Can't stop watching this show. Unbelievably great to watch. must see.Published 10 hours ago by Amazon Customer
I'm not usually into these types of shows but this show really captivated me. The story line and the costumes are all just wonderful.Published 12 hours ago by Mad Scientist