After a tragedy at sea claims the life of the presumed heir, Lord Crawley is faced with the possibility that the house he's loved his whole life might someday belong to a distant cousin he's never met. Will the fate of Downton and its family be resolved?
Cora makes a discovery that throws the inheritance issue into chaos. Thomas leaves the Abbey and Mary exacts vengeance on Edith for her treachery, while the household is rocked by a shocking announcement.
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I'm one of those people that refused to watch this show because EVERYONE was talking about it. It took me until season 5 was airing originally before I started to watch. Of course like everyone else, I was hooked instantly. I loved it so much I decided to start from the very beginning again when I saw it on Amazon. Beautifully acted, and lovingly produced, there is so much to enjoy about this series it's hard to pick out the best parts. There is a wonderful balance between the storylines with the servants and the aristocrats. The characters are beautifully drawn and very relatable. The truth is at the end of the day it's an extremely high end "soap opera". I mean that in the best way possible. It's a pure joy to watch.
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2017
I've been watching this series repeatedly for years. I've watched it five time through. Unbelievably, I am just now looking at the reviews. I have never, ever, ever seen such an overwhelming five-star review. Over 90% of reviewers gave this series five stars. There is nothing left to say at this point about this series because everyone knows what it encompasses and if it's for them. I just truly thank PBS for producing and broadcasting this series. It is sorely needed in this world of crudeness mistaken for talent. Honestly, it didn't need a bit of that to be superb. That is the sign of true artistic expression, true artistic talent and creativity, and I'm so thankful for this series. Adult humor, intelligence, silliness, irony, deep character development, historical accuracy, it has it all. Those shows and movies endeavoring to gain success through shock value and exploiting women, for example, have much to be jealous of, because this series kicks those series' asses. The historical accuracy down to how they sit, speak, move their heads, et cetera, is extensively researched and executed, but the humor and vulnerability of aristocracy makes us watch it. Lord Grantham, well, he was Squiggy in Knotting Hill, and I was so surprised to see him here in such a gallant role, such a dichotomy, but he pulled it off beautifully.
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2017
Wonderful series. I binged watched from the first episode to the very last. It was interesting to see how people lived in a different place and time and how the characters developed along the various story lines. Very well done. The garments were beautiful. All in all, I would highly recommend Downton Abbey to anyone interested in different historical periods.
The acting, the story line, the backdrop are all first rate. If you love period pieces, this is definitely a drama you need to watch. Seeing the British aristocracy have to change with the times and the growth of the characters will make you want to watch this through all five seasons. This is my second time watching this and I continue to laugh at the Dowager, cry with Lady Mary, Lady Edith and Branson, cheer on Mrs. Passmore, Mrs. Hughes, Anna and Bates and despise Mr. Green and Thomas. This show has such good acting that you feel like you are a part of it all. Try it and I assure you, the Yorkshire countryside, the castle and the characters will keep you enthralled.
Every character in Downton Abbey is brilliantly cast and even more so brilliantly acted. If you enjoy watching productions whose main focus is human interest then this is the series for you. The interaction among the members of the staff and among the members of the family as they take you through what it was like to live that life and how superbly they portray the demeanor and etiquette of that era is acted so naturally that you feel as though you are there with them. Every one of them is so genuine. I would find it hard to chose a favorite.
If you need car crashes and things being blown up and all other sorts of shock-value violence you should definitely not choose Downton Abbey for this show is not about special effects, it's about real acting.
An intriguing look into the lives of wealthy British aristocracy and their large and diverse group of servants, as they face the challenges of a changing world in early 20th century England. The cast is terrific, delivering performances that inspire drama, empathy and well placed humor as they portray a compelling story that draws you into their world. From the father who is trying to secure his families future, sibling rivalry run amok, a dysfunctional relationship with a stuffy but very amusing mother-in-law, and an interloping third cousin, to the infighting and politics of the house staff, the myriad of story lines keeps your interest throughout. There are so many characters that it all seems a bit much for the first few episodes. But once you get to know the characters it becomes easy and delightful to follow.
I started hearing the raves about Downton Abbey a few years ago but didn't want to jump in to a story half told. Kept trying to catch up with the beginning of a re-run session on PBS but never got there; its availability on Prime was one of my main reasons for joining. Am almost finished with season one (although I accidently started with an episode in season four or five which confirmed my wisdom in starting at the beginning.) Even after I corrected my Prime settings it took one or two episodes to place each character in his or her place in the story. Now I am hooked.
From the perspective of this century one has to wonder at the loyalty of the staff and the entitlement of many of the "upstairs" characters. Well maybe not the latter so much; we do have lots of current examples - several of them running for President. The stories of the women are particularly compelling (and aggravating). Maggie Smith is snide and, as always, wonderful and I have to believe reincarnation may have played a role there. She is the dowager countess!
While I would have hated living there, I love visiting Downton Abbey. Don't miss it, but do start at the beginning.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 29, 2012
Downton Abbey Series I confirms that there is nothing that comes close to a British made Period drama, especially this one and 'Cranford'and 'Lard Rise to Candleford'. In fact, in spite of the fact that Downton Abbey took the Emmy Award for 2011, i personally thought that the latter two were the better films and this is due to the fact that the plot in Downton Abbey sometimes stretches the line of credibility.
Having said the above, this sumptious costume drama set in England in the years leading up to the First World War about the complicated community of Downton Abbey makes rivetting television viewing. It is about the lives of the Crawley family that have owned Downton Abbey for generations and the lives of the servants of this prestigious family.
I will not elaborate on the plot, other than to say the servants know the secrets of the family while the family know so few of theirs.
The acting from the whole cast is impeccable and while Maggie Smith has been singled out, they all give magnificent performances. Needless to say the cinemtography is outstanding and the attention to detail brilliant. Just one small thing in the opening to the film, the camera follows telephone lines, multiple ones, that would not have been in place at that time(I'm being picky!!!).
An excellent TV series worthy of place in your film collection.
5.0 out of 5 starsSuperb quality on Blu-ray - much better without the adverts!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2011
This review is primarily for the technical quality of the Blu-ray edition of Downton Abbey Pt1. I guess I am not alone in watching the series in reverse order. We only started watching the second series on ITV HD. We enjoyed it so much that when it came to an end we decided to buy the first series at the bargain price of under £10 for 7 hours of glorious television. The video quality is absolutely stunning! In the past I have tended to be a little skeptical at the quality of ITV HD broadcasts. In my opinion they rarely matched the excellence of BBC HD. However, not so with Downton Abbey. ITV have excelled themselves. Furthermore, it was so much more enjoyable watching the episodes without the interminable interruptions of the adverts - in some cases the programme interval seemed shorter than the adverts. I know that you can fast forward the PVR but the adverts still cause unnecessary disruption. In due course I will be re-watching the second series by way of dvd - but definitely Blu-ray.
Aside from the technical quality the series is compelling viewing. No expense seems to have been spared on the production of this wonderful period piece. Wonderful acting from everyone. This expensive 'soap' can go on for many more series providing there is sufficient money in the pot!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2011
I hate ironing but I got through a backlog of ironing without noticing! This is a very entertaining and gripping story, wonderfully acted and the settings and sumptuous costumes are a pleasure to the eye. The only downside is the format of the video which presents each episode as a separate section and I would have thought that it would be an easy matter to stream all the episodes into one continuous viewing. At the end of each episode you have to select the next which can be a bit confusing. There are 3 discs. That aside it is a wonderful rainy winter's afternoon's entertainment not to be missed and I cannot wait for series 2 due out in September!
You will relish the exchanges between Maggie Smith (who has always been a wonderful actress - I don't understand why she has not been made a Dame yes) and Elizabeth McGovern, full of propriety, pinched acidity but eventually tolerating each other in agreement. The entire cast provides superb acting and the narrative is rich in information, plots and subplots, understairs politics, greed and redemption. You can see the passing of a century and people's lives changing over time. What makes this better than Uptstairs Downstairs is the cast and the superb acting. Not to be missed. You will enjoy every minute of it.
5.0 out of 5 starsDowntown Abbey a brilliant series written by Julian Fellows
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2019
I watched this wonderful series when it first came on the tv. I loved it then and now I love owning it. One of the finest series I have ever seen. Waiting now for the film Downton Abbey to be on DVD. That'll be great, didn't get to see it at the pictures so I can't wait to own it too.
5.0 out of 5 starsDecent Sunday night period drama
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2011
Having been shown on ITV during the autumn of 2010, I missed the initial broadcast and bought the DVd at Christmastime. I have only just got around to watching it. What a gem it is!! And how silly of STV (Channel 3 in Scotland) to not screen the series last year. Boasting a fantastic cast with the presence of Dame Maggie Smith, the period detail in this piece is excellent, Maggie's characters outfits were always particularly impressive. The period in detail is from the sinking of the Titanic up until the announcement of war with Germany in 1914. Storylining in the series is excellent, I particularly enjoyed Thomas's love interest in the first episode, the missing snuff box and the sudden death of the Turkish visitor. It's easy to see why this series commanded audiences of around 10 million on Sundays and that's without Scotland watching. If you enjoy period drama, great acting, attention to detail - well this series is sure to make your day. Can't wait for series 2 on DVD!