Mr Selfridge is a TV series about the American Harry Selfridge (Jeremy Piven), who moves to London in 1909 with the intention of building a magnificent new department store. Drama ensues as he tries to make his store successful in spite of conservative British customs, his opportunist financier Lady Mae (Katherine Kelly), his own marital troubles with his wife Rose (Frances O'Connor), and, in season 2, the impending World War One.Meanwhile, shopgirl Agnes Towler (Aisling Loftus) has her own personal troubles to deal with, including her rebellious brother George (Calum Callaghan), her rivalry with catty shopgirl Kitty (Amy Beth Hayes), and her burgeoning romance with Henri LeClair (Grégory Fitoussi); and Josie Mardle (Amanda Abbington) tries to stay strong in the face of her secret love affair with Mr Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill).
This series has examples of the following:
Alpha Bitch: Kitty certainly behaves like one, especially towards Agnes in early season 1.
Aristocrats Are Evil: Lady Loxley has shades in this in season 1, obviously having ulterior motives whenever she helps Harry out. However, she pales in comparison to her husband, who, as revealed in season 2, abuses her physically and emotionally, believes in Marital Rape License and has highly shady business deals going on.
Awful Wedded Life: Lord and Lady Loxley: in season 2, Lord Loxley moves in with her, and it's shown that she really had reason to like things the way they were in season 1.
Lady Mae: When Lord Loxley is in London, I'm in the country, and when Lord Loxley is in the country, I'm in London. That's the secret of a happy marriage.
Darker and Edgier: Season 2 in comparison to Season 1, mostly because of WWI: the first season ran on plots of shopgirls fighting over promotions, getting celebrities to visit Selfridge's, and love affairs. The second one runs on plots of young men enlisting, characters trying to find ways to help the war effort, espionage, and love affairs.
Deliberate Values Dissonance: So, so much. Woman employees are fired if they decide to marry (and note that Harry is supposed to be a fairly progressive employer); Harry's wife Rose shrugs on his sleeping with other women but woe on Rose if she even kisses another man; the Empire Exhibition treats the British Empire as a fantastic thing with no consideration for the negative sides of colonization, and so on...
G-Rated Drug: Ellen Love's implied cocaine use: and by implied we mean that she does it on-screen, and it is fairly obvious that it's supposed to be cocaine although the drug isn't named. Other characters treat it as a vice little worse than smoking. Truth in Television, again, as cocaine was legal at the time, and it was a fairly acceptable vice as long as the user remained a Functional Addict.
May-December Romance: The past-childbearing-age Josie Mardle with her much younger Belgian boarder, Florian Dupont. She thinks it could never work because of this; he doesn't give a damn and wants her anyway.
Miss Kitty: Delphine Dey, author and owner of a high class drinking establishment, in Season Two. She becomes friends with Rose Selfridge.
Porn Stash: Gordon acquires a small one in 2.03. (By today's standards, it wouldn't be considered porn at all: the pictures are of women wearing knee-length dresses, sitting on beds, but the characters treat them as "racy". Truth in Television, as in the 1910s a respectable woman would never wear clothing that revealed even her ankles in public - a knee-length skirt was practically nudity.)
"Shut Up" Kiss: Florian gives one to Miss Mardle as she's trying to list all the reasons a relationship between them would never work. She promptly goes up like a bundle of tinder in his arms before forcing herself to stop.