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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Downton Abbey - Season 5 -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Like a few others, I'm a huge fan of Downton Abbey, and it's never-ending parade of new faces, trials and tribulations as time passes.  At the opening of Season 5, we find ourselves in 1924.

With the exception of a slight conversion hiccup in Season 2, which PBS immediately corrected, I find this series to be one of the most beautifully produced and ready for upgrade from digital broadcast to Blu-ray, especially in projection.

To wit, I avoid the series in broadcast entirely, along with all press and discussions, and choose to view it (generally) in projection.  The cinematography is just that good.  As far as I'm aware, the series is still shot with an Arri Alexa, and the resultant imagery is (almost) never less than staggeringly beautiful.  I've dropped in an obligatory "almost," as I found a single outdoor sequence (possibly in the second episode) to have gone a bit cyan-blue in facial tonalities to suit my taste.  Whether this was intentional, a rush through final color toward a broadcast deadline, or something that occurred in the preparation of the Blu-ray, I have no idea.  But it passes quickly, and we're on to more perfection.

I've always loved the Edwardian vehicles, and I miss seeing those that we got to know early on in the series.  The passing parade brings newer models, and we move away from the Edwardian ethics that we experience early on.  Subject matter also moves along smartly toward the modern world and the ills and spills of impending modern society.

I got to thinking how far we've come over the decades in TV series handling the problems of growing up, dating, and family matters.  A quick visit to the likes of mainstays such as Father Knows Best (1954-1960), The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet (1952-1966).  Parental advice never had to deal with anything more difficult than "Bud, you need to ask Susie to go to the prom, if you want her to go..."

Bottom line, Downton, as all regular viewers are aware, continues to grow in storyline and quality, but the point to be made, is that to really appreciate the art of the series, Blu-ray is a necessity.

Fortunately, there seem to be no more disparities between the original UK versions and those available in The Colonies.  We all get the uncut originals.

For those who have not yet acquiesced to becoming fans of the series, PBS has seen fit to create new boxed sets closely in sync with each annual offering.  For those ready to jump in, the first four seasons are available at a street price of $58, with season 5 currently priced under $30.  At least people are able to catch up and join in the spirit of the series as things progress.

I've often wished that when a series becomes available as a boxed set, think Breaking Bad, True Blood et al, that the usually more compact packaging should be made available to those who have been keeping up with Blu-rays on an annual basis.  I'd be the first to pay a reasonable price to save a bit of shelf space.

The series continues to be...

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

 

Mark-W

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In terms of image and sound quality, I fully agree. With regards to the show itself, I know more than a few friends felt that series 4 was mostly treading water. Series 5, based on what has been aired on PBS, is an improvement over series 4.


Also, yes, I love compact DVD/Blu-ray packaging. I repurchased the entire set of The Looney Tunes Golden Collection on DVD just to have it in much more compact packing that also made it easier to access specific discs.
 

Robert Harris

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Watched some extras. Very happy to find interiors shot at Ealing. A nice historical touch. I bet Sir Alec would be happy.


RAH
 

noel aguirre

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I watched the remaining episodes the last 2 nights upconverted 4K to a Sony 4K. The image quality is exquisite ,the solidity of the colors outstanding, the production values exceed prior seasons especially the finale, the writing/acting are perfection as always. Well done.
 

davidmatychuk

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I'm finding once again that even people who watch "Downton Abbey" on PBS in HD can tell the difference when they see this on Blu-Ray. This show is so enormously popular that its release on Blu-Ray in the middle of its North American broadcast - EVERY fan wants to watch all the other episodes RIGHT NOW - is a rare teaching moment for the format, and one that I think boosters of home video should take advantage of for the next month.
 

Matt Hough

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I can tell you for a fact about my experience. I got my review copy more than two weeks ago, and after I watched it and got the review posted, I was BESIEGED by friends and neighbors who knew I had this advanced copy to borrow it so they could binge watch the rest of the season and not have to wait on the PBS broadcasts. One friend didn't have a Blu-ray player, so the set wouldn't have done him any good, but the set has certainly been passed around during these past two weeks before the official release date.
 

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