Mr. Selfridge Is As Entertaining As Ever As It Counts Down To Closing

Courtesy:  itv/PBS

Courtesy: itv/PBS

Late last year, it was announced that the fourth season of itv’s hit drama Mr. Selfridge would be the series’ last. The reaction among the series’ audiences has been quite surprising with an overwhelming show of support for the show. Now as season three has come to an end both on itv and PBS, which imported the series from the UK, audiences here in the United States have begun anxiously awaiting the arrival of that final season. No official announcement has been made in regards to the arrival of Season Four either on television or on DVD and Blu-ray. That being the case, fans that have not yet gotten up to speed with the hit drama still have some time to do so while they wait for Season Four’s arrival. That is because Season Three is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. It was released this past May on both platforms. For those that perhaps have yet to add Season Three to their own home DVD/Blu-ray libraries, Season Three offers quite a bit of entertainment beginning with its writing. More specifically, the stories that make up Season Three lie at the center of Season Three’s overall presentation. The cast’s interpretation of said scripts is just as important as the scripts themselves. Together, both elements create ten episodes that will keep audiences engaged from season premiere to finale. Last of note in this season’s overall viewing experience is its bonus material. PBS and itv take viewers behind the series’ scenes once again this season and show just how much work went into bringing the season to life. Together with the Season Three’s scripts and acting, that bonus addition builds even more appreciation for the work that went into bringing Season Three to life. And together with the scripts and acting, all three elements make the third season of Mr. Selfridge yet another incredible installment of the hit drama and one of the best of this year’s box sets for grownups.

Mr. Selfridge: Season Three is yet another incredible installment of itv and PBS’ hit drama. It is also one of the best of this year’s box sets for grownups. The central reason for this is the series’ writing in its third season. More specifically, the scripts that were crafted for this season are primarily to thank for this season’s success. There is so much that is going on throughout the course of each episode’s script. Yet even with so much going on, the writers were able to balance every interweaving story element seamlessly throughout each episode. That is saying quite a bit considering just how much goes on throughout the course of Season Three’s ten episodes. The whole thing opens with Harry laying his wife to rest, only to follow that up with him escorting Rosalie down the aisle. From that point, there is much more to note. Harry’s son becomes the store’s new deputy (not to reveal too much) and falls for one of the store employees. Mr. Groves has to come to terms with a double dose of devastating news that rocks his world. And even Harry has his own issues to handle as the vile Lord Loxley has returned once again in another attempt to ruin Harry. That’s just one of his problems. He also meets a beautiful woman named Nancy Webb and falls for her. But she isn’t exactly all that she appears to be. What’s really great here is that the writers don’t make this obvious to audiences early on. It isnt until later that viewers find out who she really is and the result of the discovery. It’s just one more way in which Season Three’s writing proves to be key to the season’s overall presentation. There are plenty of other examples that could be cited such as Henri’s (Gregory Fitoussi) battle with PTSD having fought on the frontlines of World War II, and Kitty (Amy Beth Hayes) being assaulted by anoth veteran. There is simply so much going on in terms of the series’ writing this season that there is not enough time to note all of its strengths. Regardless, it can be said of the writing in whole that it is more than enough reason for any of the show’s fans to add this season to his or her own home DVD/Blu-ray library. It is just one part of what makes Season Three such a hit, too. The cast’s interpretation of the season’s scripts is just as important to its overall presentation as the scripts themselves.

The scripts that lie at the center of Mr. Selfridge’s third season are key to the season’s overall presentation. That is because of the engaging story arcs and the writers’ ability to balance said story arcs so expertly. While the scripts are important in their own right, they are nothing without a solid cast to interpret them. Thankfully every member of the series’ cast displays the utmost expertise in interpreting each episode’s script. Not one of the cast members outshines the others at any point in the show’s run this time out. Jeremy Piven (Entourage, PCU, Serendipity) is spot on once again as the series’ lead character. When he mourns for his beloved wife in the season premiere, he makes audiences fully feel Harry’s pain. And when he falls for Nancy, his blind, impulsivity is just as believable. Everyone has been in his position or at least knows someone that has gone through that blind behavior. On another note, Aidan McArdle is just as great as the villanous Lord Loxley. He really makes audiences not just want to hate him but love to hate him. His self-righteous, hate-filled portrayal is just as spot both by itself and when set against Piven’s portrayal of Harry Selfridge. Moving to even another example, Tom Goodman-Hill’s pained Mr. Grove is a wholly sympathetic character as he tries to deal with the revelations that challenge him this season. He makes audiences want so badly to root for him and see him get over his struggles. As much as this critic would love to spoil the outcome here, that won’t happen here. Though, the outcome will leave a smile on fans’ faces. That much can be said. These are just a few examples of how the work of the series’ cast proves to be just as important to Season Three as the show’s scripts. And as with the scripts, there are plenty of other examples that could be cited here. Case in point Hannah Tointon’s (Penny Dreadful, The Inbetweeners, Walking With The Enemy) portrayal of Violette Selfridge is just as convincing in its own right. Her portrayal of the now defiant young woman is just as relatable for viewers. What viewer out there hasn’t had that sassy, headstrong teenager in their home? Exactly. It’s a portrayal that transcends cultures and in turn will entertain audiences on both sides of the pond. And Leon Ockenden (Red Tails, Heavy Rain, The Cosmonaut) is just as entertaining as Serge De Bolotoff. It is interesting to see him handle Serge’s growth from a snobbish, snivelling playboy to a much more mature individual with his head finally in the right place. The path that he takes in order to get from point “A” to point “B” will keep audiences just as engrossed as any of the other cast members’ portrayals. Whether for any of those noted, those not noted, or all combined, it can be said in closing here that the work of the cast here in Season Three proves to be just as pivotal to the series’ presentation this time out as the season’s script. And together with said scripts, the two elements together give viewers more than enough reason for audiences and fans alike to add this season to his or her own DVD/Blu-ray library. They are just two parts of the whole of the season’s important elements, too. The bonus material included along with the episodes rounds out the ways in which this season proves to be well worth the watch.

The scripts at the center of Mr. Selfrige’s third season come together with the cast’s interpretation of said scripts to make this season well worth the watch by themselves. While both elements prove by themselves to make Season Three well worth the watch by fans and audiences alike, they are collectively just a portion of what makes this season’s home release a surprisingly impressive collection of episodes. The bonus material that is included with Season Three is just as important to the season’s viewing experience as the scripts and their interpretation. The bonus material included in this run of episodes features interviews with the series’ main cast members as well as some in-depth discussions on the efforts undertaken to make Selfridge’s and London in whole as believable as possible for audiences. Viewers that perhaps have never paid attention to the bonus material in the series’ previous season sets will be surprised to see the seamless balance of the series’ CG elements and live action elements. In the same vein, audiences will be just as surprised to learn little tidbits such as how vodka (yes, vodka) was used in the place of cologne and perfume so as to keep the color in the associated bottles and how the packaging designs of many of the displayed items had not changed once since they were originally presented in the real Selfridge’s well over a century ago. There is also an intriguing revelation that even the documents signed by Harry are in fact copies of actual documents once handled by the real Harry Selfridge so long ago. Between these noted discussions and others–such as the playful discussion on who would win in a fight between Selfridge and Loxley or Adam Wilson’s (Broadchurch, Silent Witness, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch) discussion on growing a real moustache for the show versus having a false one put onto his face–the bonus material in whole shows to be just as important to the whole of Season Three’s overall presentation as the season’s scripts and acting. Each element plays its own important part in that presentation. Collectively, they make Mr. Selfridge: Season Three a collection of episodes that every one of the series’ fans will want to have in his or her own home DVD/Blu-ray library just as much as those that might be new to this hit series.

Mr. Selfridge: Season Three is yet another impressive installment of itv and PBS’ hit historical drama. That is made clear through solid writing that expertly balances its engaging and numerous story arcs. The cast’s interpretation of said scripts by the series’ cast is just as key to this season’s overall presentation. The bonus material that is included with the set (both on DVD and Blu-ray) rounds out the presentation. The bonus interviews and discussions add their own share of insight and entertainment to the season. Each element proves in the end to play its own important part in the whole of the season. Collectively, they make Season Three a fitting setup to the series’ final season and a box set that any of the series’ fans will want to have in their own home DVD/Blu-ray libraries while they wait for that final season to be released. Mr. Selfridge: Season Three is available now on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/family/index.jsp?categoryId=20384186&sr=1&origkw=Mr.%20Selfridge. More information on this and other Masterpiece offerings from PBS is available online now at:

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ITV Import Another Impressive Addition To PBS’ Programming Lineup

Courtesy:  PBS/itv Studios

Courtesy: PBS/itv Studios

It’s been said time and again that people love a good story.  People also like drama.  So if this is the case, then why is it that so few people are watching PBS?  The network’s recent import of itv Studios’ Mr. Selfridge offers viewers both a good story and more than its share of drama.  The ten-part mini-series is expertly led by veteran actor Jeremy Piven (Entourage, PCU).  His performance in the role of the famed retail magnate on which the mini-series is based is his finest yet.  The same can be said of co-stars Frances O’Connor (A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Madame Bovary), Aisling Loftus (Page Eight), Zoe Tapper (Zen), Katherine Kelly (Coronation Street), Gregory Fitoussi (Spiral), and Trystan Gravelle (Anonymous).  Together with Piven (and the show’s writers), the ensemble crafted a work that fully immerses viewers both male and female into its world and keeps them engaged through each episode.  Of course, one would be remiss to omit any mention of the show’s production values in its success, too.  As viewers will note in the bonus “making of” featurette, painstaking work went into creating a historically accurate world.  The sets and costumes took massive amounts of time to get just right and accurate.  This understanding makes the final product that much more entertaining for those viewers whose minds are open enough.  By the time it’s all said and done, audiences will see that while it is a British import, much as with Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge shows even more the value and importance of PBS.

The choice of bringing in Jeremy Piven to lead the cast for this itv mini-series was the first positive choice in bringing to life Harry Gordon Selfridge’s story.  His portrayal of Selfridge was completely believable.  He presents a man that despite being a strong and self confident businessman on the surface was also emotionally fragile and complex beneath the surface.  He showed that while Selfridge was this larger than life character, he was just as human as anyone else.  It makes him deeply relatable to viewers.  That ability of viewers to relate to Selfridge is the starting point of the show’s success.   Viewers will see this for themselves when they watch the program for themselves.  On a side note, perhaps most intriguing of all about Piven being picked was why he was chosen.  It was noted in the included bonus features that an American actor was specifically wanted to portray Selfridge.  The woman that is interviewed tells viewers in her interview that while there were plenty of British actors that could easily handle an American accent, an American actor was wanted over a British actor for his role.  This is important considering how many British actors have played American roles recently.  Two prime examples would be Christian Bale and Henry Cavill as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman respectively.  There are others, but these are the first two that come to mind.  Keeping this choice in mind, it makes Piven, the show and its heads worthy of even more respect. 

The acting on the part of Jeremy Piven and his co-stars is one of the prime reasons for the success of Mr. Selfridge.  Their ability to interpret the writing will keep viewers fully engaged from the series’ opening minutes to its bittersweet end.  Staying on that note, the writing behind Mr. Selfridge is another reason for the show’s success.  So much goes on throughout the course of the ten episodes that make up this standout British import.  Despite the number of storylines that interweave throughout the primary story, the show’s writers don’t allow the story as a whole to get bogged down even once.  Rather, the script moves fluidly and at a fast pace.  It isn’t too fast to lose viewers, either.  The different storylines incorporated into the bigger picture make the whole thing even more successful in that they will entertain both men and women.  Men will appreciate watching Selfridge’s personal journey from upstart businessman to one of London’s biggest names to an emotionally broken man.  They will enjoy seeing him in his highest of highs and lowest of lows.  Women will enjoy the series’ more soap opera style elements.  There is infighting between the women working the displays.  The infighting is the result of power struggles and to a far greater degree, romantic interests.  Because the storylines are able to keep from bogging down the mini-series as a whole, it allows viewers in general to focus on one more factor that makes Mr. Selfridge even more believable.  That factor is the series’ production values.

Viewers will see the painstaking efforts taken to make every episode believable in the set’s bonus features.  The bonus features included in the set tell a little about a lot.  This isn’t a bad thing.  Those that are interested in set construction and related topics will enjoy the discussions on how a carpet warehouse was turned into the first Selfridge & Co. store.  It’s incredible to think that such an open space could be turned into such a stunning set.  And anyone that has any interest in fashion will appreciate the discussion on making sure that the costumes worn by both the men and women were precise for the period.  Viewers will especially appreciate the discussion on the use of the corsets for women’s attire.  One of the female cast members even states that she liked using the corset and wearing clothes from the period of the story.  Not many women would likely so openly admit this.  But she did.  It’s one more entertaining and enjoyable aspect of the set that proves programming on PBS is just as valuable as any mainstream American dramas.  It is available now and can be ordered from the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=19273126&cp=&sr=1&kw=selfridge&origkw=Selfridge&parentPage=search.  And for all of the latest update on PBS’ Masterpiece series, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/masterpiecepbs and “Like” it. 

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