Since it entered the TV game in 2013, Netflix has been on a roll with it’s original shows. House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black have become bonafide hits, garnering both commercial and critical acclaim, and becoming pop culture juggernauts. But Netflix isn’t slowing down, upcoming releases Marco Polo (Which, from the look of the trailer, is Game Of Thrones in China), Sense8, MARVEL’s Daredevil, and Bloodline are already garnering huge interest before they even premiere. Unfortunately, the streaming site’s latest effort (BBC import Peaky Blinders) seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Fortunately for you, I’m here to clear things up.
So yeah, Peaky Blinders.
Let’s start with a trailer:
What’s it About?
The Official Plotline from BBC:
“A gangster family epic set in 1919 Birmingham, England and centered on a gang who sew razor blades in the peaks of their caps, and their fierce boss Tommy Shelby, who means to move up in the world.”
“Peaky Blinders is a magnificently told British family Gangster saga, with an emotional center that never comes off as cheesy. The show features strong performances, fantastic visuals, and some of the thickest accents anywhere on TV.”
Who’s In it?
The show stars Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins, Inception) as Thomas Shelby, the leader of the Peaky Blinders. Also appearing are Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Helen McCory (The Harry Potter Series) and Paul Anderson (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows).
They will be joined by none other than Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) in Season 2, which is airing right now in the UK and premieres on Netflix this November in the States.
Why You Should Watch
Peaky Blinders completely blindsided me (…Sorry).
I didn’t expect to enjoy it anywhere near the amount that I did. Cillian Murphy owns the show with a fantastic performance as the family leader Thomas Shelby, bringing added dimensions and complexity to a character that could easily become a one note stereotypical mob boss. The supporting cast each hold their own as well, Sam Neill in particular takes on a character arc that was incredibly hard to pull off, and makes it believable and most importantly relatable.
While I’m on the subject of character arcs, the story building of Peaky Blinders is incredibly well done. Each character, no matter how significant or insignificant they seem at the start of the story, has a purpose and a journey that fits into the overall mythology of the show.
When the show opens, the audience is presented with a world, full of interesting puzzle pieces scattered in varying directions that eventually will fit into some larger story. Peaky Blinders is so good because it’s build up is so patient and well written. There are remarkably few lulls in the story, the stakes consistently are raised, as more and more is revealed. The pieces all fall into place as the season reaches it’s end, hitting both the action beats and the emotional character arcs with ease and providing a satisfying finish to a great story, only to throw the whole thing back into disarray in the final minutes.
Great serialized TV shows excel at this, and it’s part of the reason a lot of dramas are having trouble in the US. Not many shows can build to and execute a climax as diligently and as entertainingly as Peaky Blinders does during it’s six episode first season. CW’s Arrow, HBO’s Game Of Thrones, and CBS’s Person Of Interest are the only three shows airing now that I can think of that do it consistently and effectively. This not only thrills audiences, but it also is a good way to encourage viewers to continue to watch. Once Blinders gets going, it’s really hard to stop watching.
Blinders is also a visually stunning show, though it is technically a period drama, the shows look is very slick, stylized, and modern. Though the show has a dark, very bleak color scheme, it never overwhelms the viewer. (*couch* Walking Dead cough*) In particular, the opening credit scene of each episode always features some amazing shots.
So yeah, to sum it all up, I really liked Peaky Blinders.
I think you should watch it.
Alright, You Convinced Me. This Show Sounds Awesome, How Can I Watch it?
Season 1 is currently on Netflix, with Season 2 coming soon after it finishes it’s run on BBC this month.
Check it out, if only for the thick british accents, and if you hate it, feel free to berate me and my choices of entertainment in the comments.