Sure you could get your kicks from laying out a ton of cash at the multiplex to see the latest Hollywood offering on the big screen, but let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like curling up at home and immersing yourself in some really great television – especially when it’s winter in Canada.
Luckily for lovers of all things British and soapy, season three of Downton Abbey hits DVD shelves on January 29th, pretty much ensuring that you can blissfully say goodbye to at least 10 hours of your life as you’re drawn once more into the world of Lord Grantham, his very proper (and occasionally improper) family and their staff of loyal servents who have their own melodramas playing out “below stairs.”
This season offers a step up from the second season, in which creator Julian Fellowes succumbed to the pressure to up season one’s ante by adding laughably overdramatic plot twists (a miraculous recovery from paralysis being amongst the biggest offenders) and a strain of misery that seemed a lazy route to delaying characters’ happiness (an evil ex-wife coming between Bates and Anna as well as the on-going will they/won’t they of Lady Mary and Matthew). Season 3 features similarly soap opera-like plot twists, but they play out in a smarter way that makes it less obvious which way Fellowes-as-puppetmaster is directing his cast of characters.
Without offering up any spoilers, here’s what you can look forward to in season three: Shirley MacLaine as Cora’s American mother descending on Downton for a big wedding, a few new staff members that may or may not inspire a war between former allys-in-all-things-dastardly Thomas and O’Brien, reviled sister Edith finally coming into her own and stepping out from behind Mary’s shadow, Maggie Smith continuing to have the best line delivery in the history of the entertainment industry and of course, the costume porn…oh, the costume porn.
The Downton Abbey Season 3 DVD set also includes 7 featurettes that cover topics ranging from behind-the-scenes looks at some of the show’s locations shoots, to American actress MacLaine’s contribution to this very British phenomenon, to what goes into making a wedding that will satisfy every Downton fan’s greatest fantasy. It’s a great way to cap off another great season of television – one that’s very definitely even better than anything you will be able to find on the big screen.
Downton Abbey Season 3 is now available on DVD. Check out one of Toronto’s many indie video shops to get your very own copy.
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