Mr Selfridge : Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

My mother and I enjoyed Mr. Selfridge, but I don't know anyone else who watched it. PBS didn't seem to give it much promotion. Did it simply suffer from NOT being Downton Abbey? I agree it was no DA but it stood up fine on its own. In fact, it is one of the few series I can think of that improved every season (unlike DA). Thoughts?

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

PBS & Masterpiece are not dissimilar from the commercial networks in that ratings do matter. In the US, most PBS stations initially aired Selfridge in the DA 9pm slot once the DA season ended. Selfridge simply didn't do that well in retaining DA viewers. In fact, Mr Selfridge's ratings fell consistently from the S1 premiere to S4.

Critics & ratings aside, ultimately it's a matter of personal taste. In terms of ratings & cultural popularity, DA was the blockbuster that no other PBS drama could touch. Personally, I think DA was well done, but overrated. For me, the reason Selfridge was a better show is that, story wise, it offered more than just a soap opera within the context of a historical setting.

It was also the story about how the institution of Selfridge's came to be, the inner workings of the retail industry, and the sweeping cultural changes (i.e. the changing role of women, the effects of World War I) that transpired during the years the business ascended.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

Sure was popular in our house!! Sorry we have now seen the whole series.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

I got hooked on all the other characters' stories. Yes, Harry's life was pretty interesting, but I found the surrounding characters much more involving. Some really great actors on this show. Some people don't have the patience to stick with something for a few episodes to see if they get hooked, I'm afraid. It took me 2 or 3 eps till I was.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

I agree. I also don't get why nobody I know watches this. I loved how it has female characters who has concerns other than men (although they still have love interests). I loved Agnes Towler, Josie Mardle, Lady Mae, and later (much to my surprise) Kitty Hawkins. Their stories beat those of the Downton girls! Some said the production value isn't as high than DA but I don't agree. I think the set is super realistic and the costumes are very nice.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

I agree that the show in many respects suffered from being in the shadows of Downton Abbey. Perhaps American viewers see DA as being more quintissentially "British" than Mr. Selfridge and were therefore more attracted to that show.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

The shadow of DA clobbered every period drama that aired on PBS, ITV, and the BBC after 2010.

For Mr Selfridge specifically, a lot of people on both sides of the Atlantic were turned off by Jeremy Piven's portrayal of Harry. I didn't get it, because Harry is supposed to be brash, theatrical, and slightly false--just like his store.

I also think the show felt like an American TV series rather than a cozy British costume drama, so that could have been an element that made it hard for (typical) period drama watchers to get into.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

I much preferred Mr Selfridge over Downton Abbey. DA was/is just your average soap opera with a less modern day setting. Selfridge's had a "point" to it with the BTS running of a store.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

I thought the show was pretty boring. It's kind of like muzak, has a lot of elements that could be interesting, but is ultimately not. None of the stories or characters were much more than filler, very little intrigue.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

Because people want to watch reality TV trash with the bottom of the barrel of humanity and talent shows where you can vote. YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

Here in Britain the first series came pretty close to Downton... as a Londoner it feels much closer to home than rural DA, and I thought the costumes in MS are far more gorgeous and outrageous than in DA.

Re: Why Wasn't This Show More Popular?

Mr. Selfridge > Downton Abbey, largely due to pace and the fact that it's in London and thus in the center of things. DA seems rather sleepy by comparison.

I agree it wasn't promoted enough. I've talked to people who never heard of Selfridge. I've loaned them my DVDs.




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