Entertainment

Downton Abbey - Season 3

by David Foucher
EDGE Publisher
Tuesday Jan 29, 2013
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How often do you get to fast-forward to the end of one of the most talked-about seasons in television? Enjoy that sensation with the Blu-ray or DVD of "Downton Abbey", and then go ahead, spoil it for all your friends on Facebook.

We’d never recommend posting TV spoilers to Facebook, certainly not when it comes to "Downton Abbey," the gayest non-gay television show to hit the airwaves since "Project Runway." No doubt you’re halfway through the season on PBS right now, and if you’re behind in the show and friends haven’t told you about Sybil’s untimely death last week via social networks, I just did.

Was that an uncool feeling? Would you rather just know what’s going to happen to our favorite English country family in its third remarkable season? Would you like to watch all of Maggie Smith’s dry one-liners in one night, right now? Like, today?

Then run out and catch the Blu-ray or DVD of Season Three -- it’s hitting shelves today.

It seems an odd turn for PBS to release the discs prior to the end of the season, until you consider the fact that the whole thing has already aired across the pond, and encouraging you to snap up the box is like scoring a donation from you (without the irritating sycophants hawking the fabulousness of public television, particularly that "Les Mis" concert you’ve watched 322 times).

But let’s face it: if public television gives us Lord Grantham and his engaging crew of angsty aristocrats and tragicomic servants once a year, they deserve some of your pocket change. This season, post-War and pre-swinging ’20s, we’ve got financial struggles, romantic asides, prostitutes, personal crises, babies, death, Shirley MacLaine and the aforementioned quips of Maggie Smith -- not to mention a season-ending shocker sure to send millions of gays into a titter (or is that a Twitter?)

More importantly, these are the UK versions of the show, which means you don’t need to suffer the snipped editing of PBS targeted to American (read: attention-deficit) audiences. The video and audio quality is first-rate, menus are simple and easy to navigate, and the acting -- as always -- is simply brilliant.

Aside from a bit of less-than-inspired writing from Julian Fellowes here and there, the season is a wonderful piece of entertainment spread out over three discs, with a host of special features including behind-the-scenes with Shirley MacLaine. And yes, this set includes the Christmas Special "A journey to the Highlands."

Downton Abbey -- Season Three (UK Version)
BD/DVD
$54.99

David Foucher is the CEO of the EDGE Media Network and Pride Labs LLC, a member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, and is accredited with the Online Society of Film Critics. David lives with his husband and daughter in Dedham MA.

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