Thanks for Leaving Me Melancholy, Mr. Selfridge

Mae&Harry
Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven) & Lady Mae (Katherine Kelly)

Whoa. Last night, my husband and I finished watching the final season of Mr. Selfridge. We’re a little behind the rest of you who watched it unfold each Sunday night in real time. We recorded all the shows and spent the last couple of weeks watching an episode about every other night. A big fan of Downton Abbey, we also watch Grantchester, Call the Midwife, and Poldark all on PBS. The quality of programming and the level of acting in these series are superior.

I’d taken the liberty of reading about the real Harry Gordon Selfridge, the American business man who opened the department store Selfridge & Co. in London, and knew much of the show was fabricated for television. Characters were invented or reinvented for added drama. The writers were able to make the show incredibly entertaining, and even though I was expecting the “real” and “true” biographical ending, they delivered on part of it, but not wholly. Thankfully, they gave us a little bit of hopefulness tossed in with the devastation. However, it’s Katherine Kelly’s character of Lady Mae that offers some sort of happiness for Harry (played by Jeremy Piven) despite the fact that Selfridge’s was in dire straits. And truthfully, after a while in this season, the Dolly sisters were making me wince.

There’s something about watching a man build something from nothing and then watch it all come crashing down that just leaves you a bit melancholy. This season was action-packed, and the episodes moved quickly with three main characters dying, and Miss Mardle, Kitty, and Mr. Grove, along with Harry Selfridge, facing hardships and crisis.

Mr Selfridge
Photo credit: PBS

In the end, it was all worth it–it was entertaining television with great sets and costumes that rival Downton Abbey. And unlike Downton Abbey where the final season put everything into place nicely and tied it up with a big “happy, happy” bow, Mr. Selfridge did not end that way.

For that, I think I’m happy.

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