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118 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Annual Downton Box Set
A new series of Downton is an annual treat, and as usual this year it is followed by the DVD compendium released just in time to give as a very welcome Christmas present. This includes the 33 episodes to date. There are seven episodes from the first series, eight each from the second, third and fourth, plus the 2011 and 2012 Christmas specials of which the first was a...
Published 11 months ago by Brett H

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Downton abbey
Got the box set for Xmas series 1to 4 great. Until I watched series 2 and the last episode (8) is not on the disc! I have the Xmas episode but I am missing the one before that. When Bates was arrested and members of the house get Spanish flu. Very annoying as its the episode with all the tying up from the whole season!
Published 9 months ago by twinkle


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118 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Annual Downton Box Set, 10 Nov 2013
By 
Brett H "pentangle" (Brighton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
A new series of Downton is an annual treat, and as usual this year it is followed by the DVD compendium released just in time to give as a very welcome Christmas present. This includes the 33 episodes to date. There are seven episodes from the first series, eight each from the second, third and fourth, plus the 2011 and 2012 Christmas specials of which the first was a dramatic masterpiece, but the second did not deliver in the same way in the opinion of most people although it ended dramatically.

The four series so far have taken us from 1912, just after the sinking of the Titanic, up to 1922. Each of the four series to date has had a slightly different background. Series 1 takes us to a very formal setting within the household with much concern about match making for the Crawley daughters to find them suitable partners which will secure the financial future of the estate. However, those above stairs are generally shown in largely a sympathetic light in their relationship with their servants below stairs and this sets the scene for the whole subsequent series.

The second series takes us through World War 1. Downton Abbey has been converted into a convalescent home for servicemen injured in the conflict. This quite different scenario provided the script writers with some interesting stories and the series runs from the Battle of the Somme in 1916 up to the end of the war in 1918.

The first Christmas special and the third series take place from late 1919 into 1920. The first features a very dramatic trial and this was probably the single best episode so far. 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.

The second Christmas special sees most of the action move to Scotland, and a tragic conclusion which shocked most viewers and rather put a blight on Christmas Day for many. The fourth series takes us a little further into the 1920s and some relaxation of the divisions between those above and below stairs is obvious, although it still all looks like a rigid division to our contemporary eyes.

A major source of story lines for the script writers has been the interaction between those below stairs and those above stairs. Quite a few of the main characters in both groups have been in Downton from the beginning and there are some very strong performances. However, I am not sure things would be the same without Maggie Smith as the matriarch of the family and she continues to dominate any scene she is in.

If you are interested in the additional features, this DVD set includes all the extra features which were on the individual season releases. These amount to several hours of additional viewing.

Personally I have been an avid follower of Downton Abbey from the first series and have seen every episode to date. I have now started to enjoy reruns of the earlier episodes. However, if you have missed out so far, then this DVD set is an excellent introduction to probably the best costume TV drama in recent times. Prospective purchasers should be aware that there will be a further Christmas Special later this year which is not included on this DVD set and there will inevitably be further seasons of the show, so whilst this is the definitive box set to date it will not remain so.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Downton worth it, 4 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Worth every penny a fantastic quadrilogy of downton deaths romances betrayals and Christmas specials a must buy item A MUST BUY ITEM

P.s way better than upstairs downtstairs
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars was wonderful present for my wife, 15 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
was exactly what my wife wanted for x mas, kept her quiet for hours ;) a must buy for those husbands wanting some quiet time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars downton abbey, 11 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
A wonderful story, brilliantly acted ,marvelous costumes and settings well worth watching. Waiting and hoping there'll be another series following,
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Upstairs to Downstairs and back again, 17 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
The first thing to be said about this series is that it is British from the very first scene to the very last by the vast range of actors and actresses as for age and the extreme quality of these actors, most of them having parallel careers in theaters, television and the cinema. They are thus able to act with a vast variety of stances and tones and at the same time with a great expressivity on their faces or with their body language. Within that great versatility and mental or dramatic agility there is not one single age that is privileged and the older generation is just as good and as present as the youngest one and the age range, apart from the few children, goes from the late teens and early twenties to the seventies. This is exceptional and no American series will ever be able to do that. A TV actor might turn up in the cinema but then he will never go back to TV, and both will hardly be able to work on a stage. The case of "Harry Potter," or Daniel Radcliffe if you prefer, is typically British who can play on the stage or act in a film. That mobility is not American, and American television sure misses something there, just as much as it misses the use of older actors and actresses, as well as very young ones, leveling the cast within a twenty to thirty years age bracket.

The second element that makes this series beautifully and exceptionally British is the fact it is situated before, during and after the First World War in England and everything is there to tell you, you are in England. The Mansion in which the action takes place, the official Downton Abbey, which is of course not the real name, the village next to it, the array of vehicles and cars, the steam engine and the train, even the London of that time, all is reconstructed the way it was or used to be. Only England can have that Tudor architecture. It is in no way similar to anything anywhere else in the world and if there is something looking like it in the USA, it is nothing but a copy, hence a fake, or maybe, like the old London Bridge, a rejected ruin that was bought over here and brought and rebuilt over there, in a piece of desert even.

The third element is the society it depicts. There is the upstairs of the aristocrats, lords, ladies, duchesses, earls and so on that is so English in its vanity, social exclusiveness, social segregation, social racism even. And there is the downstairs of the servants, the copy cat hierarchy of the service from the butler at the top to the housekeeper at the top too, then to the valets and the footmen on one side, and to the maids and kitchen hands on the other side, and with some hierarchy within each echelon of this social descending ladder. To be in the service was a great honor and privilege and one could spend one's whole life in it and climbing the rungs of that ladder one at a time over the decades. But this series is exceptional because it goes far beyond that simple capture of social stratification.

The main lady, the wife of the Earl has an American mother, and brother (not very much present in the series), and this American line is always the source of some humor more than anything else, though of course it is also the source of a lot of money and opportunities.

The chauffeur of the estate is Irish, a republican socialist what's more, and he falls in love with one of the three daughters and she would have eloped if her father had not accepted to change his mind. This daughter will die in childbirth and the Irish socialist ex-chauffeur who is thus the father of a little girl who is a blood relative of the family is accepted in this circle but as the one who is going to take over the management of the estate, hence a full time job, and yet he does not feel at home really. But he finds a real position because of what he is doing: saving the English aristocracy from being bankrupt and run over by the capitalists, by becoming capitalists themselves, with the help of a new generation of non-aristocrats who break all kinds of rules just because they can since they are not aristocrats.

The heir of the estate is a non aristocrat (he inherits the estate but not the title) but his fate is tragic though he provides the family with a very much desired male heir. His wife, the oldest daughter, is a very strange character though she might be able to change and evolve with the world, especially after the war because England has to change fast if they want to avoid some social upheaval.

The general picture here is fascinating.

In the same way what is happening downstairs is fascinating with love and hatred, with spying and plotting, of all sorts, even a rape here and there to pepper and salt the scene, a few violent crimes too, well disguised if possible. Not to speak of a possible divorce that is not brought to its fulfillment because the woman dies in the mean time. Bleak and dark, and yet some women in that set of servants are outstandingly honest and humane. This world is a world of its own and that too is interesting.

All together this series is a lot more fascinating than I have said because of these numerous and varied levels of social norms and taboos that are broken or challenged by a set of extremely good actors and actresses that make the show a real gem of television production. Note the way the Prince of Wales who was to become a king who married a divorcee and was obliged to abdicate because of it is ridiculed, is absolutely funny, though that more or less covers his bad political reputation since he was on Hitler's side, more or less, and to show him as having the most careless and freewheeling morality you can imagine for a future king justifies the fact that he was nicely pushed aside. It could not be done with more humor, though very cruel humor for that prince who has to acknowledge what could have been a scandal and his obligation to owe one to a set of aristocrats who used the skills of their servants to salvage a situation that was desperate. The London season is really funny then.

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent blu-ray package as is Downton Abbey the series, 14 Jan 2014
By 
Rajan "Rajan" (East Brunswick, NJ) - See all my reviews
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Though this excellent Blu-Ray package is in Region B, I was able to play on a regular US Blu-Ray player, by pressing the menu button on the remote after the region warning comes on the screen. This brings up the main menu on the disks from where you select the episodes and play it. The Blu-Ray transfer is excellent. The series itself is amazing with great acting, story, costume and settings. Amazon delivered the package to US in two weeks (during the Christmas rush period) which is fair enough. The set is worth every penny.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray version, 29 Nov 2013
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Just to let everyone know there are some blu-ray discs that will play on any blu-ray player regardless of the region. This happens to be one of them.

I purchased this series of Downton Abbey which I absolutely love. I have a blu-ray player (region 2) which I purchased in London where I currently live and I have a Playstation 3 which plays region 1 blu-ray discs. I bought the PS3 when I lived in the states.

When I saw that this series was made by Universal I knew that it would play in my Playstation 3 and it did. If you want to buy this series which i do recommend, it will play in any blu-ray player regardless of region. .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great set.... EXCEPT...., 25 Oct 2013
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It's really hard not to give this set 5 stars. The show definitely deserves a 5 star rating, however, I had to take away one star because this entire set was supposed to be Region Free. The first two series are, indeed, Region Free, but Series 3 is locked in at Region B/2. This is the only complaint I would have about this set. It is a magnificent show and is definitely worth purchasing if you can play Region B/2 locked Blurays.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Simply the Best", 27 Nov 2013
By 
P. Hulme - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
Sadly!! This is a Christmas present for my friend, I could not, at this time, justify buying myself a copy. But I will.!!!
I watched it all on TV. it was absolutely wonderful. If you want to slip into another era this is the Box Set for you.
I will add that I do have Series 1 to 3, Christmas Special and A journey to the Highlands, all of which have been watched many many times, Arrived very prompt and in perfect condition.
Regards PH
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars downtown abbey, 17 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] (DVD)
brilliant series no adverts you can just keep watching it,entertainment for everyone.i would reccomend this to anyone well worth watching
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Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013]
Downton Abbey - Series 1-4 [DVD] [2013] by Maggie Smith (DVD - 2013)
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