"Downton Abbey's" third season was released Tuesday on DVD and Blu-ray — even though three episodes still have not aired in the United States
"Downton Abbey" released its complete third season on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday — even though three episodes still have not aired in the United States.
So viewers who can't wait for crucial details about the location of Lord Grantham's missing dinner jacket or the odd character death — now can simply arm their own scullery maids with $50 and send them out to Target or Wal-Mart.
Another payoff: The box set boasts two hours of bonus material, including the features "Downton Abbey Behind the Scenes" and "Shirley MacLaine at Downton."
The long delay between when "Downton Abbey" airs in the U.K. and when it debuts stateside on PBS has already made it difficult for fans to remain in the dark about the various twists and turns taking place on the grand estate.
The current season premiered in the U.K. on September 2012, but we had to wait until January 2013 to check back in with the Granthams.
Even cast members such as Hugh Bonneville (a.k.a. Lord Grantham) have called on the show's producers to close the international gap.
"The idea of fans all over the world trying not to reveal storylines is becoming increasingly impossible,” Bonneville told People. “It would make sense to give everyone a shorter release window, which would reduce piracy instantly.”
However, PBS President Paula Kerger has argued that the delay was necessary because she did not want the new season to go up against the onslaught of new programs that U.S. broadcasters release in the fall.
"At the end of the day, I want to make sure we are putting the series in a place where the most people can find it," Kerger said at the Television Critics Association panel this month.
So far, the delay hasn't hurt ratings. The third-season debut of "Downton Abbey" was seen by 7.9 million viewers, a record for the series and four times what the average PBS program draws in primetime.
Season 3 ends its U.S. run on Feb. 17.