User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 101 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 86 out of 101
  2. Negative: 8 out of 101

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  1. Jan 20, 2013
    Julian Fellowes has done it again. Series 3 of Downton Abbey is just as excellent as its predecessors. The first season was absolutely incredible, with every storyline providing a wonderful story by itself. The second season, while still fabulously written and well acted, was too founded on melodrama to make me truly love it, though I still liked the series greatly. This current series, the third series, is just as good, if not better, than the first series.

    Maggie Smith still anchors the cast with her deliciously snarky performance as the Dowager Countess, with Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville continuing their great work as the Earl and Countess of Grantham. Jim Carter, Joanne Froggatt, and Phyllis Logan continue their strong work, as do Jessica Brown-Findlay, Rob James-Collier, Siobhan Finneran, Lesley Nicol, Sophie McShera, Amy Nuttall, Kevin Doyle, and Allen Leech. Michelle Dockery, after giving brilliantly subtle, emotionally suppressed performances in the first 2 series, gives by far her most emotional characterization this season, especially in the series' first episode. Mirroring her, Dan Stevens also amps up his acting, providing some scenes that are simultaneously heartbreaking, infuriating, and emotionally painful. After becoming somewhat a character of annoying habits and nitpicks, Penelope Wilton's Cousin Isobel receives a welcome role renewal and is allowed to show her underrated acting abilities once again. Laura Carmichael is also terrific in showing the pain agony her character must endure and then trying to find herself and her place in the rapidly changing world. Unfortunately, the more and more episodes I watch, the less and less I like Mr. Bates and the more and more I like Anna. My distaste for Bates comes not from the character himself, but from Brendan Coyle's monumentally annoying portrayal of him. His constant whispering is maddening at best and downright infuriating a good portion of the time. Coyle's annoying characterization aside, this show has left behind any negative parts of its melodramatic streak in series 2, and has blossomed anew. Shirley MacLaine's presence is brilliant and every one of her lines is perfectly delivered. Her banter with Maggie Smith is a high point.

    Period detail-wise, the show just keeps delivering. The costuming is spot on every time. Even if I had no idea of the point in history when I began, I knew immediately it was the 20s when Mary donned her blue proto-flapper dress and hat in the first episode. John Lunn's fabulous music is still just as terrific as always, and Nigel Willoughby's cinematography is just as beautiful as always. The tracking shots are possible the best since Thomas Schlamme's flawless walk-and-talk one in Aaron Sorkin's works, especially The West Wing.

    I don't know how many series are ahead, but all I can say is I hope it never ends.
  2. Jan 17, 2013
    This season delivers the same stunning photography, immaculate attention to detail acting, wit, the list can be made very long. Story wise this show was better in season 1 and 2 but its still a master piece.
  3. Jan 9, 2013
    By far the best series yet. Downton Abbey series 3 has all the elements that makes the show a great entertainment for all the family. Downton makes us cry, laugh and enjoy at the same time. It is very recommendable.
  4. Sep 9, 2014
    Returned drama and fashion and aristocracy in the third season, but went some heroes presidents "and the death of Lady Sybil convincing a large" but the strike was in Matthew Crowley, but overall still impressive Downton

Universal acclaim - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 27
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 27
  3. Negative: 0 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Jace Lacob
    May 30, 2013
    The strength of Season 3 is marred somewhat by its relatively lackluster season finale.
  2. Reviewed by: Sara Smith
    Feb 1, 2013
    Those who accept it for what it is--a funny, manipulative soap that relies on historical upheaval to frame its scarce plots--should be happy to hear that Downton’s new season is better than its last.
  3. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 7, 2013
    Through it all, though, Downton Abbey is still superior entertainment on a grand scale.