I have a syndrome and I don’t think there is a medical term for it, yet. I need to obsess over a drama series or else my life feels empty. If I’m lucky enough to stumble upon a story on Netflix that I can connect with instantly, I start obsessing, and binge watching, and obsessing some more, and soon enough the series is over. Then my life feels empty again because I can’t share my dizziness with anyone. So, i’m making a desperate attempt here to sell you one of my recent obsessions: Peaky Blinders, a British drama series that is not talked about as much as it should be. Here are the top three reasons, among many, that I think would be compelling enough to coax and cajole you into making it your next Netflix binge-watch:
The Story: Set in the post World War I’s dreary backdrop, the story builds on the life of an actual gangster clan of the same name run by the Shelby family in Birmingham. Steven Knight took the stories he heard as a child from his father, re-created a pack of powerhouse characters in all their three-dimensional glories, and gave us a dazzling epic that is more Dickensian than Scorsesian in essence. Curious now? Wait, next comes the best part.
The Hero: At the heart of the epic is the ever-enigmatic charismatic head of the Shelby clan, Thomas Shelby (writing that name itself made me skip a heartbeat! Yeah…he’s that good). Shakespeare was a master puppeteer who knew how to pull strings and when to turn the audience’s sympathy for a heavy-flawed hubris-crowned hero. Writers and directors in the world of cinema has made umpteen attempts since then to recreate the Shakespearean tragic hero in a modern setting, but none as successfully in recent times as Vince Gilligan with Walter White in Breaking Bad. Let’s just suffice by saying that Steven Knight has done with Thomas Shelby what Vince Gilligan did with Walter White. By now, you should at least want to Google the series. If not, it’s time to introduce the cast.
The Stellar Cast: The show features the best of the best, including two of Christopher Nolan’s “fetish actors”, Cillian (pronounced Killian) Murphy and Tom Hardy. If stares could kill, I would be dead by now staring at the Netflix screen with Cillian Murphy staring back at me smoking his half cigarette. But if Cillian Murphy as Tom Shelby is your ultimate fantasy Irish Coffee Cake, Tom Hardy as Alfie Solomons, the Jewish Gang Leader of Camden Town, is the out-of-the-world chocolate-coffee frosting on top of that cake. You better watch the show with a good appetite because both will leave you licking your fingers and wanting for more. Add to that the gutsy performance of Helen McCrory as Aunt Polly and Paul Anderson as Arthur Shelby. Their characters go through much transformation throughout the seasons. In fact, with each season, Aunt Polly and Arthur’s character development turns out to be more interesting in certain ways than Tom Shelby’s. So, one more reason to look forward to season five is to see what Knight plans to do with Tom Shelby in now that we have seen enough of his charismatic and manipulative sides.
Come on now! If you still need more reasons, there’s the award-winning photography and light effects and the groovy soundtrack. Steven Knight took a gamble using contemporary music with a period drama and it has played off brilliantly. There ends my knowledge on that subject (except I have listened to the title track “Red Right Hand” by Nick Cave & Bad Seeds about million times by now). Each session promises and delivers surprises, both in terms of plot twist and casting, but perhaps you will need to wait for season four for the biggest surprise entry in the form of the Changretta family’s head, Luca Changretta. There’s also the possibility of the Chicago Mafia playing a pivotal role in season five. I won’t reveal and spoil it for you any further. If you need a sneak peak before taking the plunge, here goes the trailer. And, if you are a fan girl or boy of Peaky Blinders like me, don’t forget to share your thoughts, perspectives, gasps or sighs in the Comments section!