Downton Abbey: A New Era 4K review

Jul 06, 2022- Permalink

The British historical drama Downton Abbey, which follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their staff in the post-Edwardian era, ran for six seasons from 2010 to 2015. It has since spawned two big screen follow-ups, the latest of which – Downton Abbey: A New Era – has just been released on 4K by Universal. I had a chance to review a copy.

Downton Abbey: A New Era takes place in 1928. The Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) reveals she was bequeathed a French villa by the Marquis de Montmirail and most of the characters head across the channel to check the place out and maybe learn how the Countess came to be the recipient of such largesse. Meanwhile, back at Downton, a film crew is using the estate to shoot a film. Though the fees will cover the costs to repair the leaking roof, the production proves to be more than disruptive.

The 2160p HEVC / H.265 digital transfer with Dolby Vision is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. The image has amazing clarity and detail with facial textures, environments and textiles looking amazing and enhancing the locations that the story unfolds in. The overall colour palette is subdued. Black levels are very good and there is no loss of detail in the shadows.

On the audio side, your ears have the choice of an English Dolby Atmos track which converts to English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for those without the height speakers. There are also French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are available for English SDH, French and Spanish. This isn’t a Marvel film, so the more gentle use of surrounds is mainly for ambiance. The score is dynamic and clear and dialogue is clear, centred and well-prioritized.

The 4K set also comes with a Blu-ray disc and a digital code. In terms of bonus materials, there’s an audio commentary from director Simon Curtis, a “we’re happy to be back” featurette from the cast, another piece from cast and crew discussing the shoot, a piece with the cast gushing about Maggie Smith, a look at the film within the film, a piece on Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, and a tongue-in-cheek Q&A piece.

The Downton Abbey: A New Era 4K has excellent audio and video presentations and an okay selection of extras. With such a large cast of characters and a six season back story, it’ll probably be hard for non-fans to get into it without having seen the show first. Fans of Downton Abbey will no doubt want to add this to their collections.