The third season of “Downton Abbey,” the popular show from the United Kingdom has been released on DVD here in the states–despite having three more episodes to air on PBS. For those viewers who cannot wait for the details about the location of Grantham’s missing dinner jacket or character deaths, they can simply head down to their local shopping mall and grab the DVD set for $50.
The box set also includes an additional two hours of bonus material, including two features “Downton Abbey Behind the Scenes” and “Shirley MacLaine at Downton.” Of course those that were fans of the show when it began airing in the United Kingdom and before it made its stateside debut will probably already be aware of the story progression taking place in the third season.
Many cast members, including Hugh Bonneville who plays Lord Grantham say that show producers need to work on closing the international air-date gap. “The idea of fans all over the world trying not to reveal story lines is becoming increasingly impossible,” Bonneville said in an interview. “It would make sense to give everyone a shorter release window, which would reduce piracy instantly.”
However PBS and its president Paula Kerger argue that the delay in airing season three in the United States was absolutely necessary to ensure the show did not have to compete with the onslaught of new programming that debuts during the fall season. Even with the delay the show has not struggled in the ratings and the debut of the third season drew 7.9 million viewers–which remains a primetime record for PBS.
In this increasingly ‘digital’ age, Downton Abbey was made available on iTunes prior to launching on PBS, as they secured first broadcasting rights. Season 3 of “Downtown Abbey” ends its run on PBS in February, however, those who can’t wait can simply buy the DVD box set and see the conclusion before then.