Available tomorrow (October 18th) on DVD is Doctor Thorne, the period miniseries from Julian Fellowes which has widely been described (and even marketed) as emotional methadone for Downton Abbey addicts going through show withdrawal. The drama is based on the novel of the same name by Anthony Trollope and follows the romance between the poor (but kind and beautiful) Mary Thorne and her childhood friend, Frank Gresham, whose elevated social status and snobbish family members complicate what would otherwise be a straight ride off into the sunset.
I would encourage any viewer who has not seen the series to manage expectations if comparing it to Downton Abbey–the two have very different attributes, not the least of which is that while Downton Abbey had fifty-two episodes in which to develop characters and tell its story, Doctor Thorne has four. Also continuing with the “Downton Abbey Lite” theme is the lack of substantial bonus features on the DVD set: there are a few short snippets that talk about the characters and themes, a tiny featurette on the making of the series, a bit from Julian Fellowes about adapting the novel for the screen, and that’s it. Considering that the creators obviously want viewers to draw parallels between the two (the trailer and DVD cover for Doctor Thorne both prominently reference Downton Abbey by name), I would have thought they might flush out the bonus features a bit more if they’re trying to bridge the divide for fans of the latter.
As it stands, the DVD set is available on Amazon for $9.99, but if you have Amazon Prime you can stream it for free (you won’t get the bonus features, but in my opinion they don’t add $10 of value.) If you do decide that the DVD is a good option for you (or someone you’re gifting it to), if you’re in the US, make sure to get the one for Region 1 (the first one currently listed on Amazon is Region 2) to ensure the discs will play properly.