Mr. Selfridge, the latest PBS and ITV collaboration, chronicles the exploits of the man who founded the famous high-end Selfridges department store in London, and in doing so, changed our understanding of modern merchandizing. The series ran at the first of the year in the U.K. to mixed, though generally favorable reviews, and having personally consumed the entire ten-episode series in a matter of days I can say unequivocally that it’s worth watching. Mr. Selfridge doesn’t ask much of its viewers, but it’s a sprawling drama adapted by Andrew Davies (who has adapted pretty much every British miniseries you can think of) from a novel, and the series’ sumptuous costume designs and whirling stories are greatly entertaining.
Hit the jump for what Mr. Selfridge, starring Jeremy Piven (Entourage) has to offer, and why the women of the series end up stealing the show.
The upstairs/downstairs shenanigans of Downton Abbey are poised to continue for at least another year. Hot off its highest U.K. ratings to-date for the show’s third season, THR reports that the British drama Downton Abbey has been renewed for a fourth season by ITV. Series creator/showrunner Julian Fellowes recently opined that it would be strange to see ITV not order another season of the addictive soap, and it appears that his intuition was spot-on. Season three averaged 9.7 million viewers on ITV when factoring in same-day DVR viewing, which is a rise over season two’s 9.5 million average.
We’ll finally get to see the continued adventures of Lord and Lady Grantham over here in the states on PBS on January 6th, when season three has its U.S. premiere. A two-hour Christmas special will air on ITV on Christmas Day, which finds The Granthams taking a summer break in Scotland. Season four will be set in the early 1920s and is expected to air on ITV in Fall 2013. Production begins in February.
Edwardian soap opera Downton Abbey, which will air first on Britain’s ITV next month and then later this year in America on PBS, has added a new character to its third season sure to shake things up — Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) mother Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine.
For those not up on Downton history, Cora married the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) for position while he married her for money. Though it turned out to be a good match in the end (as they are actually affectionate with one another), there are clearly mixed feelings by the Earl’s mother, Violet, Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) about an American having rescued their estate. Now, several decades later, with Downton’s fortunes again on the downturn, it seems that Martha is in town for a visit (to pay some bills?) but she’ll be up against Violet’s distain and sharp barbs. For a preview of their deliciously devilish discourse, hit the jump.