Dec 152016

Downton Abbey is one of more compelling television shows on and between the excellent performances and amazing production and costume designs, it’s easy to see why it has captured audience’s attention on both sides of the pond.



Downton Abbey
— The Complete Collection —


Genre(s): Drama
PBS | NR – 3075 min. – $149.99 | October 18, 2016

Date Published: 12/15/2016 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Writer(s): Julian Fellowes (created by)(written by)
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Jessica Brown Findlay, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Tom Cullen, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Siobhan Finneran, Michael Fox, Joanne Froggate, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, Thomas Howes, Lily James, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Rose Leslie, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Matt Milne, Lesley Nicol, Amy Nuttall, Julian Ovenden, David Robb, Maggie Smith, Ed Speleers, Dan Stevens, Cara Theobold, Penelope Wilton
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 21
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English
Disc Size: NA
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Note: Portions of this review was copied from my Seasons 1-3 Limited Edition review.

THE SERIES — 4.5/5

Season 1:
After a tragedy at sea claims the life of the presumed heir, Lord Grantham (HUGH BONNEVILLE) is faced with the possibility that his beloved Downton might someday belong to a distant cousin (DAN STEVENS) he’s never met. The house has been home to the Crawley family for generations but it is also where their servants live, plan, and dream. The difference is they know so many of the family’s secrets, while the family knows so few of theirs. Pitting hundreds of years of British aristocracy against the tides of social upheaval and technical progress, under the looming shadow of World War I, will the fate of Downton and its inhabitants—above and below the stairs—be resolved? Or will this way of life be altered so dramatically that its master no longer matters?

Season 2:
The Great War rages across Europe, and Downton Abbey is not left untouched. Triumph and tragedy, romance and passion, scandal and betrayal are all in play. The intertwined lives of the Crawleys and their servants are complicated by the storms of war, and when these have finally cleared, will life as they know it have changed forever?

Season 3:
Spring 1920. The Great War is over and the long-awaited engagement of Mary (MICHELLE DOCKERY) and Matthew (STEVENS) is on. But all is not tranquil at Downton Abbey. Wrenching social changes, romantic intrigues, and personal crises grip the majestic English country estate above and below stairs. In the precarious post-war landscape nothing is safe, and as a wave of financial uncertainty engulfs the country, the Crowleys face a battle to safeguard their home.

Season 4:
With the twenties in full swing, the tides of change are sweeping through Downton. While grieving a great loss, the family must face the future, from the challenges of managing the estate to the temptations of the bright lights of London. Meanwhile, below stairs, passions run high and young hearts look set to be broken.

Season 5:
The year is 1924, the radio is the latest miracle, a new Labour government heralds changes throughout the land, and Downton’s traditional ways are besieged on all fronts. Robert (BONNEVILLE), Mary (DOCKERY), and Branson (ALLEN LEECH) must navigate these shifting sands together to ensure the future of the estate for generations to come. Downstairs, all of the servants must consider what effect social changes may have on their working lives. No one, from Mr. Carson (JIM CARTER) to Daisy (SOPHIE MCSHERA), will be left unaffected.

Season 6:
It’s 1925. Momentous changes threaten the great house, its owners and its servants, while past scandals continue to loom. Discover what will finally become of the Crawley family, and the servants who work for them, as they face new challenges and begin forging different paths in a rapidly changing world. Secrets and rifts threaten the unity of the family, while those below stairs continue to navigate social changes which put their futures in jeopardy.

Quick Hit Review:
Downton Abbey
is one of more addictive shows I’ve encountered and it’s not an easy task for me to keep watching, especially live, as my attentions tend to go in different directions and can easily fall behind in my TV viewing. However, this PBS series features some of the best acting (both on TV and in film) in combination with rich production design. There’s no surprise why this show has garnered so much attention both in England but more amazingly, in the States. Its romantic location combined with sizzling drama marks for a series that continues to go along at the same pace and quality with each subsequent season.



The 21-discs are housed in 3 Blu-ray cases (1 15mm, 2 22mm) and each side slides into an outer, reflective, case.

Season 1 (2.0/5)
Making of Downton Abbey (13:45; HD)
– This is a cursory look at the show with comments from the creators, actors and others chatting about the stories, characters and other aspects. Not a whole lot of info but still fun to watch.

A House in History (10:08; HD) looks at the house and how it’s a character in itself.

Season 2 (2.0/5)
Fashion and Uniforms (11:12; HD)
takes a look at the costume designs for the series and keeping it right for the era.

Romance in a Time of War (13:51; HD) examines the story-lines surrounding the war, featured in the second season.

House to Hospital (8:22; HD) – This featurette looks at the recreation of the conditions from the war and turning the Abbey into a makeshift hospital.

Season 3 (3.5/5)
in 1920 (17:24; HD) Here, creators and others discuss at the change that occurs with a new era and how it changes the characters, costumes, etc.

The Wedding of Lady Mary (13:03; HD) and The Wedding of Lady Edith (16:02; HD) delves into the big moments of the season for each of these women. Producers, the creator/writer and others talk about the importance of each in the stories.

The Men of Downton Abbey (9:02; HD) examines the various male characters, and their roles in society, on the series.

Shirley MacLaine at Downton (9:07; HD) introduces us to MacLaine’s new character to the show.

There are two Behind the Scenes featurettes: The Cricket Match (6:44; HD) and A Journey to the Highlands (12:46; HD) each provides insight into different scenes/sequences from the season.

Season 4 (2.25/5)
Diaries (13:37; HD) – This is basically a day on the set with the various actors.

The Making of (12:22; HD) takes viewers behind-the-scenes as cast and crew discuss the fourth season.

Meet the New Cast (9:22; HD) – Here we get introductions to new members of the show.

Season 5 (2.5/5)
Behind the Scenes: Day 100 (10:14; HD)
takes audiences behind-the-scenes with the cast and crew on the 100th day of filming including a set tour.

The Roaring Twenties (26:32; HD) looks at re-creating at that era and the societal and political changes.

A Day with Lady Rose (7:52; HD) takes us behind-the-scenes for the big wedding day for Rose as played by Lily James.

Season 6 (2.25)
Farewell to Highclere (6:55; HD)
is a goodbye love card to the iconic castle.

The Cars of Downton (11:03; HD) — Here we get a look at the re-creation of the cars, including the racing ones featured in the season, of that era.

Changing Times at Downton (14:17; HD) is about the end of the era for the upper class in Britain.

Manners of Downton Abbey (53:54; HD)
and More Manners of Downton Abbey (54:15; HD) looks at a variety of topics like How to Eat, How to Marry and How to Make Money amongst others.

How to Make a Dress (2:52; HD) is, I guess, a bonus feature that didn’t make either special.

Great Houses with Julian Fellowes:

  • Burghley House (47:53; HD)
  • Goodwood House (47:31; HD)

Downton Abbey
Creators’ Favorite Scenes (1:00:51; HD) – Creator Julian Fellowes and Executive Producer Gareth Neame watch and discuss their favorite scenes from the series.

Character Documentaries:

  • Lady Mary Crawley (21:31; HD)
  • Carson (23:52; HD)
  • Bates (17:49; HD)
  • Daisy (19:29; HD)
  • Lord Grantham (21:57; HD)
  • Lady Grantham (19:57; HD)
  • Lady Edith Grantham (20:50; HD)

The Story of Downton Abbey (1:39:10; HD)
is a recount of the entire series and features interviews with members of the cast and crew and behind-the-scenes footage.

Downton Abbey Supercuts (31:31; HD) are a variety of memorable moments from the series.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Each season is presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78 and on Blu-ray with a 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture more or less looks the same as the original airings; colors are bright and provide a nice punch, detail levels are well defined and I didn’t notice too much in the way of artifacts or pixilation. This is a pristine transfer which will be more than satisfactory for the home viewing public.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

Each episode comes with a 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio track which is enough for the show considering it’s almost entirely dialogue driven and most other audio driven to the outer channels. What is there is nice and clear with everything being said is discernible.


OVERALL – 4.5/5

Overall, Downton Abbey is one of more compelling television shows on and between the excellent performances and amazing production and costume designs, it’s easy to see why it has captured audience’s attention on both sides of the pond. This massive 21-disc set is fantastic… so long as you didn’t already own the various other collections be it the individual sets or limited editions and I suspect fans already do, so this set is probably geared more to casual viewers.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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