I recently became obsessed with a BBC Two drama out recently on Netflix called Peaky Blinders. That's a problem because I finished the second of its two six-episode seasons last night. There's no word on when the next season will come to Netflix, so in the meantime I'm going to try to get everyone I know to watch it so we can fill the void for each other.
Peaky Blinders is set in post-WWI Birmingham, England. Cillian Murphy plays Tommy Shelby, a decorated war hero and gangster who rallies his family and those who fear them to build a gambling empire that makes the Shelby family rich. The gang are so named because they wear razor blades in their peak caps, which quickly become weapons in moments of rage.
The series is notable not only for it stellar cast, intricate sets and costumes and thrilling plot. It's also a fine example of how much character development a skilled storyteller can fit into a season less than half as long as what we're used to here in the U.S. The characters are nuanced, continuously interesting and relatable, despite having so little screen time. And external forces like the war and political climate are well-developed characters in their own right.
Peaky Blinders is a highly stylized show — contemporary rock music underscores scenes both ordinary and violent, explosions and grit provide a frequent backdrop, Tommy's sauntering is at time slowed down to epic proportions and there is no end to dramatic gestures. It's excellent.
PS: Big ups to my friend Aamna, who suggested Peaky Blinders to me. She was right.
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