There are times where I just want to talk about my favorite things, whether they be books or something else. I was having a conversation with a friend that is currently going through this series and it reminded me how incredible it is. So I figured I would make a post about it and tell you why this is one of my favorite shows ever.
Overall Series Rating: 9.5/10
Peaky Blinders is a Roma-origin gangster family epic set in Birmingham, England, in 1919, several months after the end of the First World War in November 1918. The story centres on the Peaky Blinders gang and their ambitious and highly cunning boss Tommy Shelby.
Why I Love This Show
Stellar Acting and Well Developed Characters
Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, and Helen McCrory are the standouts in this series, but the acting is amazing all around. These actors are 100% committed to their characters and it shows. Every single named character has their own distinct personality that makes you feel some sort of way about them. The antagonists in this series are very well done. The 2nd and 3rd season especially have antagonists that are nuanced and motivated by so much more than “just being evil” and the plot benefits so much from this.
If you are a fan of morally gray characters this is the show for you. We follow a family of gangsters that often do very bad things, but are also kind, generous, and protective of those that they care about. These characters also never pretend like they are good people. They know what they are and own up to it. I came to really care about many of these characters and their fates throughout the series. Tommy (Cillian Murphy) is the head of the family that comes up with many of the ideas that advance the Shelby family. He is very smart, but struggles with PTSD from the war that him, Arthur, and John came back from recently. Tommy is a very compelling character to follow. Aunt Polly (Helen McCrory) is the heart and anchor that keeps everyone grounded. Arthur and John are Tommy’s two brothers and are the reliable muscle any time Tommy needs them. Ada does a lot of the finances and business end of the Shelby business. This family is tight and totally loyal to one another which is another thing that I really love about this series.
“We’re a close family. Always within punching distance.”
This show is immersive. Everything from the clothing, cars, people, musical scores, culture, and visual effects add to the dank and dark atmosphere of Birmingham during this time period right after World War I. The creators of this show did such an amazing job in this area that it legitimately feels like you are there in Birmingham watching these events play out in person. In fact, the show has won multiple awards for several different things that would be under the setting category. I’m not sure that I’ve seen another show that is as immersive as The Peaky Blinders.
“I don’t pay for suits. My suits are on the house or the house burns down.”
High Intensity Plot and Intrigue
With only having 6 episodes per season (up until season 5 at least) the pace does not let up for a second. As the family goes from humble beginnings to doing their utmost to build a criminal empire there are many people who try to destroy them. Many who would either steal their empire for themselves or use the power they have accumulated to their own ends. The Shelby family basically always has death hanging over them in one form or another and stakes can’t get much higher than that.
Not only is there a lot of action and suspense in this series, but there is also quite a bit of intrigue. Whether political intrigue or threats from rival gangsters, there is always something to figure out. Some mystery to solve or some problem for the Shelby family’s leader, Tommy, to think of a solution. Tommy is incredibly smart and some of his solutions just blew my mind in their ingenuity and complexity. As the Shelbys gain more wealth they become more powerful and attract more powerful enemies, especially in the realm of politics.
“This is the day we become respectable….but first, we do the dirty work.”
If you are up for a post WWI gangster tv show that spans through the roaring 20s and into the Great Depression with morally gray characters that are easy to care about, high stakes, well done action, and intrigue/suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat, watch this show!