Do you enjoy watching crime dramas? What about historical fiction with main roles played by film stars? Do you have a preference to seeing violence in dramatic slow motion sequences? If you answered yes (or yes…?) to any of the above, then Peaky Blinders is going to be your new best friend/lover/social interaction inhibitor. Don’t let the name dissuade you though. If you’re thinking it sounds like a children’s program about how to correctly spy on your neighbors like I did, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Here are just some of the many reasons you should make this show your new, extended study break.
It’s a history lesson (kind of)
As can be inferred for a television series, there are plenty of fictional events and people made up to make things interesting, BUT there is truth to several of these storylines. Set in 20th century Birmingham, England, this show follows the Shelby family as they struggle to survive in the aftermath of World War I. The men of the family also happen to make up the notorious gang called the Peaky Blinders, which is where truth comes into play. This was an actual English gang in the 1900s, their name in reference to the peaked caps they were known to wear with blades sewn in at the edges for convenient fighting purposes. Real historical figures, like our good man Winston Churchill, also pop up in episodes. And sure, it may be a bit glamourized, but who wouldn’t like to imagine sharp-dressed men (literally, ha) in a gang doing hoodrat British things? Plus if you’re anything like me, watching the show will make you want to read more about actual events that occurred (I just love to learn, okay?)
That cinematic quality
Because it’s a BBC show, you just know that the network is gonna take its sweet time in making this program (see interval-length between seasons of Sherlock). That being said, the product of their time and effort is quite worth it. Each episode of Peaky Blinders is an hour long, and although there are sadly only six to a season, the quality of each episode is excellent. Shot in film style and with the extreme industrial look, one could say their depiction of 1920s Birmingham is ~off the chain~. The opening shot of Tommy Shelby slowly riding a horse down a street of this city while fire balls casually burst from the side make it seem like an old Western, except the clothing in this is much more preferable. The costumes and hairstyles make the show all the more authentic, and the gang even has their own special haircut (which I promise you’ll get used to over time).
Played by the ever-so-talented Cillian Murphy, the leader of the Peaky Blinders is as cold as he is calculated. But he wasn’t always like that; having fought in France during the war, I guess you can say Tommy has seen some things. His quiet demeanor commands power from everyone and if there’s one thing Murphy does great as an actor, it’s his ability to display so much of his authority by what he doesn’t say. Basically, he’s just a really amazing actor. But his character isn’t all dark and brooding. Tommy Shelby loves his family, a ~certain someone~, and horses. How does a mysterious family man/horse lover who also leads a violent gang and operates an illegal bookmaking ring not sound appealing?
Instead of having music that was made in the time period it was set in, this show juxtaposes its “historical” events with fast paced indie rock. The White Stripes, Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, and The Raconteurs all make an appearance, just to name a few. Never will you ever feel more pumped up and ready to tackle anything than when you’re watching a gang fight break out with The White Stripes jamming away in the background.
Where else would you find the actors of Scarecrow and Bane from the Batman series, Narcissa Malfoy from Harry Potter, and Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park all together in one program? I know, I know! Just start watching the show already!
Both seasons are on Netflix
Already a hit in its homeland of the UK, Netflix bought distribution rights of this gangster epic for a reason. So what are you waiting for? Twelve hours of amazing television await! Although fair warning: once you finish, you’re going to have to wait at least a solid five months before being able to watch new events unfold in season 3. So pace yourself. But also, don’t. Because I promise, you won’t be able to stop once you press Play.