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!
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
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 24 October 2013
Definitely pre-ordered! I love this programme and watch it every week, I am so glad there is going to be special features as well. Lots of people are complaining that scenes have been cut according to their maths or just a sixth sense, they obviously haven't read the product description very well, it clearly states "This product includes the same episodes that air on UK television and no scenes have been deleted. Both the UK and US versions have the same content; however the US version is converted to NTSC from PAL format and this conversion adds 5 mins per episode. This equates to an additional 45 minutes and is not extra content but the conversion rate." Please dont jump to conclusions and hate, if you hate Downton Abbey why are you commenting on Amazon, it makes no sense!
on 29 May 2016
Bought this as a present for my mum who is a fan of Downton Abbey and was surprised to find myself enjoying the series as well. Engaging period drama, good performances overall by the cast and an interesting insight into people's lives during that time. Throughout the series, contrast and statements are made on the way of life for the working, middle and upper class divisions, as well as some often moving personal dramas between various characters.
on 16 November 2013
As I refuse to watch programmes interrupted by adverts every 10 minutes and Downton is issued on Blu-ray (unlike Poirot), I didn't even bother recording this series. I have just finished a three night binge on series 4 and, although the production and acting are generally top notch, I feel that I have been watching the highlights of a much longer story. Characters come and go in the most perfunctory manner, and what one assumes are going to be major plot lines are summarily dismissed in a few lines (e.g. Lord Downton's visit to the USA and the resolution to Anna's "experience" (not wishing to spoil it for those who have not yet seen series I can say no more). I presume that Julian Fellowes now regrets setting Downton in Yorkshire as members of the family and other characters routinely make the trip to and from London as if it were just down the road. In those days the journey by train would have taken about five hours each way, while a road journey would have been, at the very least an all day affair and more probably a two day trip with an overnight stop. In spite of all this, the show remains a hugely enjoyable viewing experience, not least due to Dame Maggie Smith's double act with Penelope Wilton (they would have given Morecambe and Wise a run for their money).
on 17 December 2013
After the multiple deaths and tragedies in season three one would expect a quieter season this year from "Downtown" and this season more than ever the series' soap opera roots are well and truly displayed. New characters are introduced in a haphazard but predictable way but all amounting to very little. The "rape" storyline was poorly handled with an ending that was so predictable it was almost embarassing and probably the worst and most obvious plot contrivance in the history of the series. The only thing that saves this series from becoming "Days of our Lives:in costumes is the fine work of the cast most notably Michelle Dockery,Allen leech and Maggie Smith. Not sure where else this series can go, it sure is no "Upstairs Downsatirs"(original) and never has been even though it has stolen almost all of that series' storylines which doesnt help with the predictability. Of course on blu ray it all looks really lovely which helps.