What’s On Optik: Downton Abbey, Seasons 1-3

Funny, our job. The way we live with all this pirate’s horde within our reach… but none of it’s ours.

– John Bates

Unquestionably one of TV’s most gratifying melodramas, Downton Abbey ranks top notch on our best to binge-watch TV list. The early 20th-century British period drama, centered around the Aristocratic Crawley family and their company of (mostly) dutiful servants, first aired back in 2010 in the UK. Three seasons later with a fourth on the way, the series has earned acclaim from both fans and critics alike, and is one of the most-talked about television shows online. Variety calls it “compulsively watchable”, a terrifically apt descriptor, and the very reason we’ve made each and every episode from Seasons 1-3 available On Demand.


The miniseries follows the affairs of those who reside at the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey – the Crawley family, esteemed British social elite, and their humble house staff who perform their biddings. In the series premiere, the story’s set in motion when news arrives (via telegram, no less) of the sinking of the Titanic (SPOILER ALERT: it’s 1912… as if the hats weren’t already a giveaway). Turns out, the iceberg and its aftermath have resulted in the subsequent death of the only living heir to the Crawley estate (FYI: no mention of Jack Dawson, in case you were hoping for a series cross-over). With the property’s future in turmoil and the family’s assets at stake, head of the household Lord Robert Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) sets out to find a new heir. Littered with class commentary, less-than-subtle thematic overtones of power and authority, and just the perfect amount of snootiness, Downton captures the Victorian era in all its glory.

In its three seasons to date, the show’s received numerous accolades around the globe – an Emmy for Outstanding Writing, a Globe for Best Mini-Series and dozens of other awards/noms for Costume, Directing and Cinematography. Not to mention the tremendous cast, including none other than the ever-adored Maggie Smith, known best for her roles in Harry Potter, Gosford Park and Hook, if we’re choosing favourites (RUFIO!). With the highly anticipated fourth season around the corner, catch up on S1-3 plus bonus specials, all available On Demand for only $2/ep. Find it by clicking On Demand > Featured > Downton Abbey.