Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mr. Selfridge Season 1 review

I have had Mr. Selfridge on my "to watch" list since it first came out back in 2013. Then I would find other shows, watch those, and it kept getting bumped down the list. Then I needed something to watch while doing hand sewing. So I finally got around to watching the first season. Why didn't I do this sooner?
Mr. Selfridge stars Jeremy Piven in the lead role of Harry Selfridge, the American retail magnate who established the London department store of the same name. This ongoing series is based on the biography of Selfridge titled Shopping, Seduction, and Mr. Selfridge by Linda Woodhead. The first season starts in 1908 and covers the scope of Selfridge not only funding, but opening then establishing his store as a preeminent destination for the Edwardian shopper.

Also at the core of Selfridge (both the man and the department store) were his investors, most notable Lady Mae Loxley (Katherine Kelly) and Ellen Love (Zoe Tapper of A Harlot's Progress), and his family. Frances O'Conner (Iron Jawed Angels) leads as Rose Selfridge, the matriarch of the family. And then there are the employees of Selfridge's. Most notable is Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus), a shop girl whose life at Selfridge's begins long before the store opens.
Lady Mae Loxley, Harry Selfridge, Rose Selfridge, Agnes Towler, and Ellen Love (seated)
These ladies and many other individuals have their own impact on how the first couple years of the department store play out. Although each player has their own screen time and their own story, it is easily Rose Selfridge who stands out. O'Conner does a wonderful job of playing the woman who most not only show her support in her husband's endeavors, but put on a proud front for the family and business in the face of his infidelities.

Along with the acting, I loved watching this from the standpoint of a retail worker. The shopping style that Selfridge brings to London along with many of his shopping implementations, are tactics that are still in use today. However the "customer is always right" statement is something I would love to argue, but that's another day.
Image from Pinterest
And of course there are the costumes. While I may not be as well versed in my Edwardian costume history, the outfits worn by the cast were very well done. The costume designer, James Keast, has done a wonderful job of dressing not only the upper class in the wealth and opulence they were accustomed to, but also the workers in the attire that they could afford. Costumes were great, but there were a few women's hairstyles that had a very distinct wig-like quality look.

I finished the first season in only a couple days, and while I know the eventual outcome (Secrets of Selfridge's review) I can't wait to get started on the second season. The first season was left on an uncertain note, so it will be interesting to see where everything picks up.

Overall review - 4 out of 5
Costumes - 4 out of 5

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