‘Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series” Positives Outweigh Its Negatives

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Early this year, itv and PBS’ hit serial drama Mr. Selfridge took its final bow with the conclusion of the series’ fourth season.  In celebration of the series’ end, PBS Distribution released the series in its own complete series box set last month.  The set is a good gift idea for fans who might not already own the series’ previous standalone sets.  That is due in part to the set’s pricing, its key element.  While the pricing is a key positive to note, the set’s availability only on DVD is something of a negative that must be addressed.  This will be discussed later.  The availability of the series’ original bonus material in this collection makes up for the set’s primary negative.  Each element is important to note in its own right, to be fair.  All things considered, Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is still a set that the series’ fans will want to have in their DVD libraries.

Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is a fitting final statement for fans of the beloved itv and PBS series.  That is due in part to the collection’s price.  The collection’s average price The set is listed at a rather wide range of prices from one retailer to the next.  When those prices are averaged out, though, the set averages at approximately $63.  So considering that average and the collective cost of the series’ standalone season sets, the average price of this set proves to be its own positive.  This is the case even considering that PBS’ price for the set is the most expensive at $85.  When one adds up the cost of the series’ standalone season sets both on Blu-ray and on DVD through various outlets including PBS, the collective pricing of each by itself is still more expensive than this new set’s most expensive price.  That is especially true when one adds in the cost of shipping and handling to those collective prices.  Keeping all of this in mind, while the set’s price varies from one outlet to the next, it is still lower than the collective price of the series’ standalone season sets.  That maintains its place as a clear positive to the set’s presentation.  While it is a clear positive, the set is not exactly perfect in its presentation.  That is because it is presented only on DVD.

The pricing for Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is clearly a positive that must be noted in examining this full series presentation of the show.  While it is an important piece of the set’s presentation, it is not the only element that must be noted.  The fact that the full series set is available only on DVD must also be noted.  For whatever reason, the show’s full series set is available only on DVD.  Audiences are not given the option to watch it on Blu-ray as well.  Sure, it might be a little more expensive than the DVD set.  But said set would likely be less expensive than the collective cost of the series’ standalone Blu-ray sets.  It is a minor complaint to have, certainly, but still one that must be addressed.  The same was an issue with the full series presentation of Inspector Lewis.  It would have been nice to see that set released on Blu-ray as well as DVD, too.  Even with that in mind, the availability of Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series exclusively on DVD is the set’s only real negative.  Considering this, the set is not a total loss.  The inclusion of the bonus material included in each of the series’ standalone sets is also presented here.  It makes up for the negative that is the set’s exclusivity on DVD.

The pricing for Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series and the set’s availability exclusively on DVD are both key to the set’s presentation.  The pricing is a positive while the availability of the set only on DVD is a bit of a negative, but it doesn’t completely ruin the set.  Even with that one negative in mind, this set is still a good addition to the home DVD library of any of the show’s fans.  That is especially the case considering the fact that the set also includes the bonus material that was included in the series’ standalone season sets.  That material includes cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and even a documentary focused on the downfall of Henry Selfridge in the series’ final season among much more.  The fact that all of the bonus material included in the series’ standalone season sets is included here more than makes up for the fact that the series is available only on DVD.  It make that lone negative trivial even as important as it is to note.  All things considered Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series proves itself to be a piece that any of this hit series’ fans will want to have in their home DVD libraries.

Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series is a good addition to the home DVD library of any of the series’ fans.  That is due, again, in part to the set’s pricing and the inclusion of the bonus material presented in each season’s standalone season set.  While all of this stands out positively in examining the series’ presentation, it isn’t without its negatives either.  The set is available only on DVD.  Audiences are not given the option to view the series on Blu-ray even though its standalone season sets were available on both DVD and Blu-ray.  Even with this in mind, the set’s two brighter positives outweigh that one negative, maintaining the set as a welcome addition to the DVD library of any of the series’ fans.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other Masterpiece titles from PBS is available online at:

 

 

 

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‘Mr. Selfridge,’ ‘Inspector Lewis’ Full Series Sets On The Way Next Month

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

PBS Distribution has announced it will release complete series sets from its hit import series Mr. Selfridge and Inspector Lewis next month.

Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series and Masterpiece: Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series will be released Tuesday October 8th.  Both full series sets will be released exclusively on DVD and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.

Based on the real life Harry Selfridge, Mr. Selfridge follows the meteoric rise of the American businessman in early 20th Century London and his equally shocking downfall.  The series starred actor Jeremy Piven (PCU, Entourage, Serendipity) as the groundbreaking, playboy entrepreneur.  He was joined by Amanda Abbington (Sherlock, After You’ve Gone, Ghosted), Tom Goodman-Hill (The Imitation Game, Everest, Humans), Katherine Kelly (Coronation Street, Happy Valley, The Night Manager) and Frances O’Connor (The Missing, Artificial Intelligence: AI, Bedazzled) among many other accomplished actors and actresses on screen throughout the series’ four-season run.

The Wall Street Journal called the series “A treasure box of tales about love, loss, ambition, and the spirit of a new age” in its first season.  In its second season, The Los Angeles Times lauded the series as “lush and lovely.” The New York Daily News said of the series in its third season “visually glorious.”

Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge: The Complete Series will be spread across twelve discs and will retail for MSRP of $89.99.  It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.

 

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Courtesy: PBS Distribution/PBS

Also being released on Tuesday, October 8th from PBS Distribution will be Masterpiece: Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series.

Finally after eight seasons, one of the most beloved crime dramas on British television—and one of PBS’ most beloved imports—has come to its end.  The series just recently finished off its eighth and final season and released Season Eight on DVD and Blu-ray.  Now thanks to PBS Distribution, fans of the long-running crime drama can own the entire series for themselves on DVD.

Masterpiece: Inspector Lewis follows Inspector Robert Lewis (Kevin Whately—The English Patient, Peak Practice, The Broker’s Man) as he steps out of the shadow of his mentor Inspector Morse.  Lewis is joined by his partner Detective Sergeant James Hathaway (Laurence Fox—Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Becoming Jane, Gosford Park) as he takes on some of the most brutal and mysterious cases that Oxford, England has seen.

Masterpiece Inspector Lewis: The Complete Series will be released Tuesday, October 8th.  It will be spread across 18 discs and will retail for MSRP of $99.99.  It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.

More information on both of these series is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

 

 

 

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Mr. Selfridge Goes Out On A High Note In Its Final Season

Courtesy:  PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

The end is finally here for Harry Selfridge.  What started a little more than three years ago on Britain’s itv finally wrapped earlier this year.  And this Tuesday, May 17th, the final season of the historically-based period drama will be available on DVD and Blu-ray.  For those that haven’t yet seen this season, hopefully those viewers have already seen the series’ previous three seasons.  That is the only way in which viewers will have any understanding of and appreciation for this season’s story.  Speaking of the story, the work put in to establish the story—that of the series’ writers—is the central element of this season’s presentation.  That will be discussed shortly.  The work of the series’ cast is just as important to the season’s presentation as the writers’ contributions.  The collective work of those behind the cameras—the costume and set crew, editors, etc.—is just as important to note in the show’s presentation this season as that of the show’s writers and cast.  It rounds out the season’s most important elements and brings everything together in full.  Altogether, all three elements send this standout series out on just as much of a high note as that on which Mr. Selfridge went out (not to give away too much).

The fourth and final season of Mr. Selfridge is one of the series’ finest hours if not its finest.  It sends off the show on just as much of a high note as that on which Mr. Selfridge himself went out.  That is due in part to the work of the series’ writers.  On the surface, the writers have once again expertly woven together so many storylines from one episode to the next for the ensemble cast.  The connection between each storyline is so finely tuned that there is not even a need for a program in order to follow each one.  They are that well balanced.  Looking deeper at those storylines, each story is just as certain to keep viewers as entertained as the other beginning with the story of Harry Selfridge’s fall from grace so to speak.  What’s really interesting in this story is that Harry is such a sympathetic character here.  Yes, he continues his playboy lifestyle, spending money, wooing women, and more.  But that downward spiral happens as a result of having lost his mother not too long after having lost his wife.  When one loses so much over such a short period of time, it is easy to see how said person would fall so fast.  The speed at which he falls, and the work put in by star Jeremy Piven to help illustrate that fall, leaves viewers wanting things to turn around for Harry so badly.  In other words, their combined work ensures audience engagement from the season’s premiere to its finale.  It is just one example of the strength of the series’ writing this season.  The laughs and loss that are experienced over the course of this season’s ten episodes can also be cited in explaining the strength of the show’s writing this season.

Harry’s downward spiral this season is a powerful and engaging storyline that will most certainly keep viewers engaged from Episode One to Episode Ten.  It is just one of the many storylines that make this season so entertaining and engaging. There are plenty of laughs and even some painful losses presented throughout this season.  The store suffers a terrible loss late in the season as one of its own passes away somewhat unexpectedly.  The emphasis is on somewhat as it ties in to a diagnosis that had given character more time.  It’s an interesting twist to the story to say the least.  On a related note, another key character from the past returns, leading to a wedding.  There is also a whodunit element that helps move the series on to its finale and even yet another conflict for Harry with Lord Loxley out of the picture.  This time it’s with an unscrupulous newspaper man who is set on destroying Harry’s empire.  There’s also a birth and a divorce for good measure.  It sounds like a lot.  And it is, too.  But again, the manner in which the series’ writers balance each of the storylines will keep viewers engaged from one episode to the next, like a good book that one can’t stop reading.  All things considered here the writing proves in the end to be a hugely important part of Season Four’s presentation.  It is not the season’s only important element, though.  The cast’s work in interpreting the scripts is just as important to note as that of the show’s writers.

The writing behind Mr. Selfridge in its fourth season is immeasurably important to its overall presentation.  That is the case especially considering just how many storylines have once again been incorporated into the season’s overall story and their balance.  There is so much power in each storyline due to the season’s mix of joy and sadness within each one.  While the writing behind this season proves to be of the utmost importance to its presentation it is hardly the season’s only important element.  The cast’s work in interpreting each episode’s script is just as important as the stories that were crafted for the cast.  It has already been noted that star Jeremy Piven is just as on point here as in the series’ previous seasons.  His emotional display upon Harry’s discovery of his mother’s death hits all the right notes.  This sort of scene is nothing new in the realm of TV dramas.  It goes way back to television’s golden age.  Keeping this in mind, it would have been so easy for him to over emote and really ham it up.  But he didn’t go that route.  Rather he managed to keep Harry’s reaction controlled just enough to make the moment (and Harry’s pain) believable.  His eventual emotional breakdown following her death is just as believable.

On another note, the growing friendship between Mr. Grove’s daughter Meryl (Lottie Tolhurst) and seamstress Tilly Brockless (Mimi Ndiweni) is another example of the power and importance of the cast’s work.  It’s interesting to see how the pair’s friendship grows despite the difference in skin color.  On the surface their friendship serves to illustrate the growing progressive nature of the world in that era.  The changes experienced by African-Americans weren’t limited to just America, obviously.  They were evident in other parts of the world, too.  On a deeper level, the pair’s friendship served to show changes in both women.  On another level it serves to show both women’s personal development.  They grew both personally and together thanks to their friendship.  And the manner in which both women handled their roles was just as impressive as those of their cast mates.  Considering how new both women were to being in the limelight that is saying quite a bit.  If that isn’t enough of an example of the importance of the cast’s work, Vincent Riotta’s take on Harry’s gambling agent (I.E. bookie) is just as impressive despite being just a temporary cast member.

Riotta’s work as D’Ancona conjures thoughts of Marlon Brando’s Don Vito Corleone from the famed Godfather franchise.  While he may not be on camera anywhere near as much as Brando was so many decades ago he is just as solid in his role.  That is because of the attitude and self-confidence that he brings to D’Ancona.  Even as D’Ancona sits in his car, silently giving orders to destroy the windows at Selfridge’s, there is something about the subtlety of his simple action that makes him a great gangster-style figure.  It’s just one more way in which the cast’s acting proves important to Season Four’s overall presentation.  Emma Hamilton and Zoe Richards are just as fun to watch as the gold-digging Dolly Sisters.  They make audiences love to hate them as they bring the selfish, money-grubbing pair to life.  There are plenty of other examples that could be cited here.  Those examples, alongside the ones more directly noted here, serve to show in whole why the acting presented in Season Four is just as important to the series this time out as the writing.  Both elements are equally important to Season Four.  However they are still not this season’s only important elements.  The work of the show’s crew is just as important to note as its cast and its writers.

The work of Mr. Selfridge’s writers and cast in the show’s fourth season is undeniably important to the show’s presentation.  Both elements work in tandem to make Season Four’s overall quite impressive in its own right.  As important as both elements prove to be in the long run, they are not the season’s only important elements.  The work of the show’s crew is just as important as its cast and writers.  The transitions between scenes, and even from the opening credits to each episode’s opening scene are a credit to the work of the show’s editors.  In the same vein the camera and audio crew is to be applauded just as much for their work.  The different angles and shots presented by the camera crew play their own part in illustrating each scene’s emotion.  This applies not just to the wider shots but to the closer shots that require a certain amount of emoting from the cast and even from general exteriors and interiors.  In the same vein, those responsible for handling the show’s audio elements deserve just as much credit for their work.  Between what this critic has come to term as “whisper scenes”—which are exactly what they sound like—the blowouts, the moodier moments, and points in between, the audio engineers captured the emotion of each scene just as well as the camera crew.  They caught the emotion in each actor’s voice just as well as the camera crew did in the cast’s faces.  On another level, the balance of those moments with the show’s musical audio adds even more depth to the show’s presentation.  Believe it or not there are still shows out there today whose audio engineers don’t know how to balance said shows’ music with the cast’s lines from one scene to the mix.  The end result is a presentation in each case that is anything but easy on the ears at either end of the volume.  Luckily that wasn’t the case here.  That being the case the work of all involved joins together to make Season Four just as aesthetically pleasing for audiences as the writing and acting does in ever y other avenue.  All things considered, each of the elements noted here is important in its own right to the presentation of Mr. Selfridge: Season Four.  In total they send this season out on just as much of a high note as that on which harry himself went out.

The fourth and final season of Mr. Selfridge is quite the sendoff for the series.  Thanks to the work of the show’s writers, its cast, and even its crew, the series goes out on just as much of a high note as that on which Harry himself went out.  The writing is so powerful as it presents Harry at his lowest point, struggling to regain some normalcy to his life and business.  In the same vein, the show’s other interweaving storylines prove their own share of interest all while maintaining their separation from one another.  The cast’s work in interpreting each episode’s script plays just as much of an important part in proving this.  From the leads to the lesser appearing characters, all involved present their own impressive performances.  The show’s crew is just as deserving of credit and applause for their work as the cast and writers.  That is because they work together to fully capture the emotion of each scene and heighten it in all of the right ways and moments.  Each element plays its own important part in the whole of the Season Four.  Even the bonus material included in Season Four’s new home release plays its own part.  That’s a story for another time.  All things considered, this final installment of episodes from Mr. Selfridge sends the series off on just as much of a high note as the on which Harry himself went out.  together with the series’ previous seasons, it shows one last time exactly why it is one of the best dramas on television in recent years and why PBS remains today the last bastion of truly worthwhile programming on television.  It will be available this Tuesday, May 17th in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store both on DVD and Blu-ray at http://www.shoppbs.org/family/index.jsp?categoryId=20384186&sr=1&origkw=Mr.%20Selfridge.  More information on this and other PBS Masterpiece programs is available online now at:

 

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PBS Announces Release Date For “Mr. Selfridge: Season 4”

It’s finally time to close up shop for Mr. Selfridge.

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

PBS and PBS Distribution will release the fourth and final season of Mr. Selfridge this spring.  It will be released on Tuesday, May 17th on DVD and Blu-ray. This final season of Mr. Selfridge sees Selfridge & Co. celebrating its 20-year anniversary.  One would think that it would mark a time to celebrate.  But things aren’t quite as they seem.  The store’s ongoing success is beginning to take even more of a toll than ever on the store’s staff.  It is also taking a big toll on Harry’s family, friends, and Harry himself.  There is a growing divide between Harry and his son as things progress and issues stemming from a major gamble on a failing emporium, Harry taking on a new business partner named Jimmy Dillon (Sacha Dhawan – After Earth, 24: Live Another Day, Outsourced)  and much more this season.

Returning for the final season of Mr. Selfridge are: Katherine Kelly (Coronation Street, The Night Manager, Happy Valley) as Lady Mae, Amanda Abington (Sherlock, 20 Things To Do Before You’re 30, The Bill) as Josie Mardle, Tom Goodman-Hill (Case Histories, The Imitation Game, Everest) as Mr. Grove, Ron Cook (Chocolat, Hot Fuzz, Little Dorrit) as Mr. Crabb, and Trystan Gravelle (Anonymous, One Chance, A Way of Life) as Victor Colleano.  Also back on board for this season are: Amy Beth Hayes (Eva, Insoma, Shameless) and Samuel West (Van Helsing, Hyde Park on Hudson, Notting Hill) as Kitty and Frank Edwards, and Greg Austin (Law & Order: UK) as Gordon Selfridge.

Alongside Sacha Dhawan, Robert Pugh (Game of Thrones, Master & Commander: Far Side of the World, Robin Hood) is new to the cast this season.  He plays press magnate Lord Wynnstay, who is a constant thorn in Harry’s proverbial side.  Also new this season are Emma Hamilton (The Tudors, The Cold Light of Day, Into The Storm) and Zoe Richards (How To Become a Criminal Mastermind, Get Him to the Greek, The Possession of David O’Reilly) as the Dolly Sisters, Rosie and Jennie.

Mr. Selfridge: The Final Season will be released Tuesday, May 17th.  It will be released on DVD box set and Blu-ray box set.  The DVD box set will retail for MSRP of $39.99 and the Blu-ray for $49.99.  Both can be ordered at discounted prices of $34.99 and 44.99 respectively via PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=85849986&cp=2809871.20384186&sr=1&origkw=Mr.+Selfridge&parentPage=family.  Audiences can view a trailer for Mr. Selfridge: The Final Season online via PBS’ YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8XX4Rvx8bA.

 

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

Courtesy: PBS/PBS Distribution/itv

 

More information on this and other titles from PBS’ Masterpiece is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/

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To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/series/mr-selfridge/

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PBS Announces Date For U.S. Release Of Mr. Selfridge Season Three

Courtesy:  itv/PBS

Courtesy: itv/PBS

Americans’ long wait for the third season of Mr. Selfridge is almost over.

PBS Distribution announced this week that it will release the third season of Mr. Selfridge on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, May 5th. In what has been revealed to likely be the penultimate season of the hit British import, World War I is over and the men that survived the war have returned from to reclaim their jobs—that is jobs not already taken by their female counterparts. While they may be back from the war, many of the men at Selfridge & Co. are still haunted by the horrors of the war. Audiences also see a funeral this season. Returning for Season Three are: Amanda Abbington (Sherlock, Season 3) as Josie Mardle, Aisling Loftus (Page Eight) as Agnes Towler, Gregory Fitoussi (World War Z) as Henri LeClair, Amy Beth Hayes (The Syndicate) as Kitty Hawkins, and Samuel West (Any Human Heart) as Frank Edwards.

Those that have followed Mr. Selfridge since its first season will recognize also the return of the villainous Lord Loxley, played by Aidan McArdle (Jane Eyre) this season. Loxley was handled soundly in the series’ second season. But as audiences will see in Season 3, he doesn’t go down so easily. Selfrdige’s CFO Mr. Crabb returns this season, too. And he will be played again by Ron Cook (Little Dorrit). He is joined by fellow returning star Tom Goodman-Hill (Case Histories) who fills the role of Selridge’s personnel director, Mr. Grove. And Trystan Gravelle (Anonymous) returns, too as businessman Victor Colleano, who dreams of opening his own night club.

Real-life twin sisters Kara Tointon (Eastenders) and Hannah Tointon (The Lost Future) are newcomers in Season Three, playing Harry Selfridge’s daughters Rosalie and Violette.

The show’s list of guest stars this season includes Zoe Wanamaker (Poirot) as Princess Marie De Bolotoff, the mother of Harry’s new son-in-law and Kelly Adams (Endeavour) as Nancy Webb. Princess Marie De Bolotoff proves to be quite the thorn in Harry’s side whereas Nancy Webb plays an equally integral role in Harry’s life just in a different way than Princess Marie De Bolotoff or Lord Loxley.

Mr. Selfridge: Season Three will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, May 5th. Season Three will be spread across three discs in both the DVD and Blu-ray box set. Both sets will also include a bonus half-hour-long behind-the-scenes feature. The DVD box set will retail for MSRP of $39.99 and the Blu-ray box set for MSRP of $44.99. It can be ordered online direct from PBS’ online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/family/index.jsp?categoryId=20384186&sr=1&origkw=mr.%20selfridge. All of the latest news and updates on Mr. Selfridge is available online now at:

Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/programs/series/mr-selfridge/

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/masterpiecepbs

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Mr. Selfridge Is Even Better Than Before In Its Second Season

Courtesy: PBS/ITV Studios

Courtesy: PBS/ITV Studios

PBS’ British import Mr. Selfridge came as quite the surprise hit in its first season. There were those that expressed some uncertainty about the show, arguing that it was just PBS and it capitalizing on the success of Downton Abbey. The reality is that Mr. Selfridge is absolutely nothing like that program. As a matter of fact, Mr. Selfridge showed throughout its first season that it actually surpasses Downton Abbey. That’s thanks to a combination of solid writing and acting along with equally impressive production values in front of and behind the cameras. Season Two has already wrapped overseas and work on Season Three is underway. In the meantime, PBS will release Season Two of Mr. Selfridge on DVD and Blu-ray April 29th. It goes without saying that the second season of Mr. Selfridge continues that high standard established in the series’ first season. The show’s writers step things up in Season Two, incorporating more drama and even a certain amount of comedy that audiences are certain to appreciate. The acting on the part of the show’s cast is just as solid as ever, too. This includes the new additions to the cast this season. And the period attire and settings are right on par with the changed times, too. Each factor alone is important to the success of this season of Mr. Selfridge. Together though, they make the series’ second season even more impressive than the first.

The writing behind the second season of Mr. Selfridge is the most important factor in this season’s success. The series’ first season was centered primarily on establishing the series’ cast and their relationships. This season offers far more in terms of story lines. Selfridge’s and Mr. Selfridge himself have been caught up in World War I. The result is scandal that takes viewers right up to the season’s finale. The result of the scandal is a much more focused figure in Henry. Henry’s relationship with his wife Rose seems to be better. In fact, she even takes a more active role in the operations of Selfridge’s. That increased role leads to some wonderfully entertaining moments that are certain to have audiences laughing. Some of those moments are linked to the ongoing battle of the sexes. They are both still quite relevant to viewers today, just in a different way. Things in the store have changed a bit, too. One romance blooms while another takes a dramatic turn. Some employees leave while another returns. The store has a new weasel by the name of Mr. Thackery (Cal Macaninch). He looks and acts the part, too. His was an excellent addition as his almost childish behavior will lead to just as much laughter as anger. That’s because everyone knows someone or has known someone in their daily lives just like Mr. Thackery. Lord Loxley (Aidan McArdle) creates his own havoc for Harry along the way, too. And a surprise health diagnosis for Rose makes things even more interesting. These are just some of the many storylines that take place in Season Two. There are far more that viewers will enjoy when they purchase Season Two for themselves. With all of this going on, one would think it would be easy for the writing to get caught up in itself and get muddied. But somehow, the series’ writers managed to balance everything and even make each storyline play into the other to create one whole. That balance creates a whole that will keep audiences watching with as much fervor as any drama out there today British or American.

Those charged with crafting the scripts for each episode of Mr. Selfridge’s second season handled their duties quite well. Their ability to interweave this season’s various storylines with so much ease is the primary reason that this season is even better than the show’s first. Just as important as the series’ writing is the acting on the part of the cast. This is a direct link to the writing. The cast from the series’ first season is back. And only minimal additions have been made to the show’s cast lineup. Whether new or more experienced, the show’s entire cast does an outstanding job of interpreting each script. The cast together manages to pull in audiences and make them feel like they are actually part of the story unlike certain other dramas wherein audiences know they are watching a story unfold. And because Harry has to take a business trip at one point in the season, it allows the rest of the cast to shine. They do that and more. The cast doesn’t present that stereotypical image that so many people have of characters in British dramas. Rather, they actually present an image of being everyday people just trying to make it through another day. So kudos are in high order for the cast this season. Having examined the writing and acting undertaken for the second season of Mr. Selfridge, the only remaining logical point to examine in this season is the collective attire and settings.

The attire and settings are right on par with the times in Season Two. Season Two takes place at the start of World War I. The women’s attire especially shows the coordination with the times. There are some flappers starting to show up among some women. Even the British military uniform matches the times. And there is even a discussion between certain characters regarding the boots used by the British troops. Audiences see one of those boots, rather than hear about them. It’s nice to see the painstaking efforts of those behind the scenes to make even such minutia work in conjunction with the changing times in the story. It’s one more element that makes this season so enjoyable. On the side of the settings, audiences will appreciate how the writers incorporated Selfridge’s and the war into each other. Audiences see the British union jack throughout the store as Britain enters the war. And while audiences never really see any of it, the writers include the removal of all German goods from the store shelves. Indirectly speaking, this is part of the setting, too. It’s just an indirect part of the setting. But it still counts. And because of that, it makes this aspect of Season Two even richer.

Whether one admires mostly the settings and attire, the acting, the writing, or all three together, every bit of what went into the second season of Mr. Selfridge made this season work. It all came together to make this season even better than the first. Even more so, it all went a long way toward making Mr. Selfridge even better than Downtown Abbey. And that is saying something. Anyone that has seen the series’ first season but not yet this season will agree that this season is an important turning point for this series and a must see for anyone wanting to see how a drama is done right. It will be available in stores and online on DVD and Blu-ray Tuesday, April 29th. It can be ordered direct via the PBS online store at http://www.shoppbs.org/product/index.jsp?productId=32224976&cp=3529703.20384186&ab=Aspot_Selfridge2&parentPage=family.

More information on Mr. Selfridge is available online at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mr-Selfridge/303888089680606. To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.