Note: This review will contain spoilers from Series 1 and Series 2 of Downton Abbey without warning. If you have not seen either series, you may not want to read this review at this time. I have reviewed both previous series if you would like to read the reviews.
|DVD Box Art|
With the end of World War I, the residents of Downton Abbey prepare for post-WWI life. With the impending marriage of Lady Mary to Matthew coming, Lord Grantham finds out that his investment in a Canadian railway company has failed, leaving Downton's future in jeopardy as they face bankruptcy. The expecting Lady Sybil arrives from Ireland with her new husband, former chauffeur Tom Branson, to attend Mary and Matthew's wedding; at Downton, Tom finds himself having difficulty fitting in with the Crawleys that he used to work for. Downstairs, Anna Bates continues to visit her husband, former valet to Lord Grantham John Bates, in prison as the two of them try to figure out a way to find him innocent.
The returning cast of Downton is filled with many familiar faces to period drama fans and there are also some new faces that are also familiar.
|Actor/Actress||Character||Also Seen In|
|Hugh Bonneville||Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham||Daniel Deronda as Mr. Grandcourt|
|Jim Carter||Charles Carson||Cranford as Captain Brown|
|Brendan Coyle||John Bates||Lark Rise to Candleford as Robert Timmins|
|Michelle Dockery||Lady Mary Crawley||Return to Cranford as Erminia Whyte|
|Joanne Froggatt||Anna Bates||Robin Hood (2009) as Kate|
|Maggie Smith||Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham||Becoming Jane as Lady Gresham|
|Dan Stevens||Matthew Crawley||Sense and Sensibility (2008) as Edward Ferrars|
|Penelope Wilton||Isobel Crawley||Wives and Daughters as Mrs. Hamley|
|Allen Leech||Tom Branson||From Time to Time as Fred Boggis|
|Robert Bathurst||Sir Anthony Strallen||Emma (2009) as Mr. Weston|
|Samantha Bond||Lady Rosamund Painswick||Emma (1997) as Mrs. Weston|
|Kevin McNally||Mr. Bryant||Poldark as Drake Carne|
|Christine Mackie||Mrs. Bryant||The Grand as Mrs. Harvey|
|Clare Higgins||Mrs. Bartlett||Pride and Prejudice (1981) as Kitty Bennet|
|Matthew and Mary finally getting married (and Mary doesn't|
have to change her last name!)
|Cora and Robert in mourning|
|Mary, Martha Levinson, and Cora|
|Just one of the many prison scenes|
|New footmen Alfred Nugent (left) and Jimmy/James Kent (right)|
|Lady Rose MacClare, a relation of the Crawleys|
|Robert at Duneagle with the Flintshires|
And who could forget the interior of Downton? The house itself hasn't changed all that much and much of the decorations and furniture remain the same (though it looked to me that Mary's bedroom changed wall color or something?) The downstairs setting also remains unchanged and looked almost as it did for the other two series.
|The Crawley girls in their 20s fashions|
|Mary and Edith's wedding gowns. Who do you think|
had the better wedding gown?
Probably the character with the most up to date costumes would be Lady Rose. Since Rose is young and wants to keep up with the latest fashions, it would make sense for her to have the edgy fashions of the 20s. I guess when you look at her clothes and see how some of the characters react to them, you can see the contrast between the older fashions and the newer, edgier fashions.
The music continues to be great! A lot of the songs use melodies from previous series, but adds something new to the songs to make the songs new. Most of the songs tend to be more serious with some occasional upbeat music.
Don't get me wrong: I still love Downton... But there were too many twists and turns this series that did very little for the plot. The plot does still continue to be interesting and kept my attention throughout the series and the scenery, costumes, and music meet most expectations, but I don't think Downton will ever be as good as it was in Series 1 or even in Series 2. I would feel better about this series if it wasn't for the plot decisions made in the last episode; the series could have ended with the second to last episode and I would have been satisfied, but after seeing the last episode, I would be surprised if Downton lasts past Series 4. I'll stay with it to the end, but I'm not especially excited about Series 4.
Downton Abbey: Series 3 is pretty much TV-PG with occasional PG-13 material. Unfortunately, a scene that I warn about in Series 1 reappears this series (in Episode 8), and, while it isn't graphic, is still talked about at length. There are also some other scenes that are suggestive and some suggestive dialogue and conversation.
Downton Abbey: Series 3 is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. There are nine episodes that are either 50 minutes long or 65 minutes.
This review is apart of the Period Drama Challenge at Old-Fashioned Charm! Come join the fun!
BIG SPOILER SECTION! DO NOT READ BELOW HERE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO ENCOUNTER SPOILERS!
Okay, now that you all have been adequately warned and that if you're reading this section, you've either seen Series 3 or don't care about spoilers, I'll get into the major spoilers.
One of my problems with this series was that two main characters, not only left the series, but were killed off so that there was no hope of their return...ever. First to go was Lady Sybil after giving birth to her daughter (also named Sybil). I felt so bad! I mean, Sybil was the daughter that everyone liked and that was clearly the nicest of the three Crawley girls. But the straw that broke the camel's back was the death of Matthew... and right at the end of the Christmas special. At this point, I would be surprised if Downton lasted past Series 4 (which has already been confirmed). In my opinion, the show could have survived without Sybil (as much as she was a likable character, she was becoming less and less of an important character that she could be written out without too much trouble), but I don't think the show can/will survive without Matthew. Him and Mary were such a central point to the plot that without them, I'm not sure the story will have much more of a leg to stand on. Let's face it, the Matthew/Mary storyline is probably the longest surviving plot in Downton: Anna/Bates was pretty much dragged out to the point where everyone got sick of it; Cora/Robert's arguments and problems only serve to upset the audience. I wish that Matthew could have been written out better instead of being killed off after his son was born. Couldn't they just send him away on business and not kill him off? I mean, a lot of couples are apart because of business and still have successful marriages where they really love each other. But still, I still hope for Matthew to magically come back, but it probably wouldn't happen (but I've come up with a couple of ways to bring him back!).