on 11 November 2013
This has seen a return to form; no random, melodramatic storylines, some shocks and well executed arc to the story. Ok, it is not as fresh as Series 1 but it never could be. This has been a thoroughly enjoyable series with several storylines which are clearly being planted and not rushed.
To be truthful, I can't wait for the Christmas special!
Initially I was a little confused because there seemed to be a missing episode between the last episode of season 3 and the first episode of season 4 - turns out there's Christmas episode that's really, really important and a lot of big things happen in it. So if you haven't seen Season 3 episode 9 (the Christmas special), which isn't included in the UK box-set and has to be purchased separately, be sure to find that episode before starting Season 4 otherwise there'll be a spoiler for you the second you start watching 4x01.
I found Season 4 to be thoroughly enjoyable - every episode leaves me hungry to see what happens next. Watched the whole season within a couple of days. It should come with a warning that it's so addictive :) Very good show!
on 3 December 2013
I was just about to place my order for the latest series series 4 of Downton Abbey until I realised that the cost of £34.99 was only a penny less than the complete series 1-4 plus the two Christmas editions. As the complete set is around 30 hours compared with 8 hours for series 4, this makes no economic sense. Plus the fact that the blu-ray discs for the previous series are only about a third what Amazon are currently attempting to charge, I cannot help but feel that we are being taken for a bit of a ride bearing in mind the close proximity of Christmas.
I have cancelled my order until the price drops to a more realistic level and Amazon apologises for attempting to rip off the public.
David Riley, Poole
on 13 May 2014
Having seen and enjoyed the previous series, I was pleased that season 4 had surpassed even these. The direction seemed tighter with no drawn-out story lines & trite endings, all helped by seasoned actors and (at times) a very witty script. I particularly liked the dialogue between Mr Ross and Lady Mary in which he declares his intentions of giving up Lady Rose...."In a better world, I wouldn't" and her reply ... "In a better world, I wouldn't want you to": Great stuff!.
With a global audience of over 125 million, Downton Abbey Season 4 is probably the most anticipated show this year. This number of followers is set to increase as Chinese State TV has, apparently, just started to broadcast it, although what the average Chinese television viewer will make of the antics of the Crawleys I shudder to think! This time round we pick up six months on from the tragic end to the Series 3 Christmas Special.
Downton has moved with the times, and, as usual, great care has been taken to make the setting, including all the small details, correct for the period. Hence clothes and hair styles have changed and advances in technology, such as telegrams, telephones and even new fangled electric kitchen gadgets are evident. The cast has all the significant characters who survived the last series, so Maggie Smith continues as the matriarch who dominates every scene she is in and can always be relied upon for a caustic comment. There are some new faces to look out for, one of whom is Kiri Te Kanawa, the New Zealand opera singer as well as a couple of other well known characters in cameo roles.
More of the scenes this time round have been filmed on location in London. Meanwhile at Downton itself, the antics and interaction of those `below stairs' continues to contribute some very interesting story lines and their trials and tribulations are, in many ways, one of the most interesting aspects of the show. Above stairs initially Lady Mary is, understandably, rather subdued whilst Lady Edith takes a much more prominent role, having, perhaps, been somewhat overshadowed previously. In advance of this series the producers publicly promised no more deaths, at least for a while, but I will not be giving away any key parts of the plot here as I certainly do not want to spoil the enjoyment of anyone who has missed the series on TV!
Downton Abbey has certainly continued to go from strength to strength and has confounded those critics who thought it would peter out after a couple of series. If you enjoyed the previous seasons then Season 4 is unlikely to disappoint, and there is every sign that the show is set to continue. I do not believe any announcement has been made about Season 5 yet but apparently some of the key figures have already signed contracts for it. However, personally I would not be surprised to see it run up to the 1930s in due course. I certainly hope so!
For those interested in extra features, included with this set are 'A Making' , The Downton Diaries and New Arrivals.
The UK version of this DVD set does not include the Christmas Special 2013, and this will doubtless be issued separately following the Christmas Day showing. However, the North American DVD set will include this episode which is the finale of Season 4, when it is issued early next year. Also, for anyone outside Europe who is tempted to buy this set in advance of their locally issued version, please note that this is a Region 2 DVD which will only play on a Region 2 or Region Free DVD player.
on 4 December 2013
I live in Cyprus and so it is difficult to watch Downton Abbey when it comes out on television, as a result of which I purchase the DVDs which I have just finished watching. As each new series comes it is an improvement on the last which seems almost impossible to imagine, I find myself almost believing that the characters portrayed are real which is very scary and a sign of excellent acting. It isn't just the story lines, or the actors but also the costumes and the sets are so redolent of the early 1920s that if there were anybody alive who lived in that period, they would have to agree they are jolly accurate. To think we have to wait almost a whole year before the next series comes out! But, in the meantime, we have the Christmas special to look forward to, however, Amazon I have not found any mention of the possibility of pre-ordering it, why is that? I want it and I want it now or I am going to jump up and down and scream and shout until I am sick!! I have already signed up to be alerted once the next series is becoming available to purchase, why not the 2013 Christmas Special?