English drama entertains with historical accuracy
Nicholas Melillo, ‘Doah Staff Writer
January 21, 2015
Sex, drinking, violence, PTSD and undercut hair; what do these have in common? They’re all plentifully available within the series “Peaky Blinders,” which is primarily written by Steven Knight. The series’ first debut was on BBC Two, a UK television channel, on September 13, 2013; it quickly gained enough popularity to warrant a second season, which will soon be followed by a third. Following its success in the UK, “Peaky Blinders” was adopted by Netflix in September of 2014, and the third season will be released by Netflix at an undetermined date in the future.
In essence, “Peaky Blinders” is a historically accurate drama based around a post-WWI classic gangster family whose income revolves entirely around illegal gambling and booze; fun stuff, right? Our main protagonist, Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy who you may know from various Christopher Nolan films), runs the entire red light district upon which the Peaky Blinders operate their business. Tommy is your classic bad guy under a good light with a traumatic past, but you’ll get a better understanding of that past as the show progresses.
I first encountered this series on Netflix about a month ago, and though I’ve only watched the first season, I’m eager to binge watch season two and the soon-to-be season three sometime soon. There isn’t a dull scene throughout the first season which is important to me as my attention span is that of a squirrel when it comes to TV and film. Thankfully, “Peaky Blinders” has been more than able to encapsulate me with near-constant action and barrels of suspense.
On the other side of the coin, there’s a little something for the fans of forbidden love in film or television. Without intending to spoil anything for those interested, there will be a love interest conflict, which is almost standard in modern dramas. Sure, they may be predictable, but this love interest will have you questioning whether it’s right simply because it feels right.
For the sake of comparison, many have paralleled “Peaky Blinders” to “Boardwalk Empire” based on their similar setting and general theme. I, personally, have never seen “Boardwalk Empire;” however, fans of the series have highly recommended “Peaky Blinders” for its comparable theme with an English twist. Simply put, if you’re a fan of gritty, dramatic, classic gang violence intertwined with an easy-to-follow story and a fantastic cast, “Peaky Blinders” is a must-watch for anyone with a Netflix subscription.
If I were to make any complaints with the series, they would lie with the spoken interactions between characters, as there is a bit of an unconventional language barrier. Though the actors speak primarily English throughout the show, it is not the “normal” English accent that we tend to hear in movies; instead, the accent used by the characters is much heavier and can be difficult to decipher at times. For the heavy accent alone, I found myself rewinding scenes early on to fully catch the dialogue between actors. Eventually, I began to pick up on the speech patterns and by the third or fourth episode I had full comprehension.
Ultimately, I can see “Peaky Blinders” as a hit or miss depending on one’s general taste in television or film. Nevertheless, I’d recommend any Netflix-aholic to at least give the pilot episode a watch as it sets the tone for the remainder of the series. I hope you all enjoy the show, but excuse me while I go binge season two.