Someone once told me, “ you seem like the kind of person who would like Downton Abbey”. They swore it was a compliment (ya, okay), but I tell you this so you can use it as a guide for whether or not you will enjoy this post.
IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN PEAKY BLINDERS STOP READING AND GET THEE TO A STREAMING DEVICE.
Seriously, it isn’t often that a series, or movie, is able to capture a story so wholly as Peaky Blinders does. Or maybe I’m just saying that because my biggest screen crushes, Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, Inception, Red Eye, Wind that Shakes the Barley) and Tom Hardy (Inception, Dark Knight Rises, Bronson, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, many others), are in this series. Either way, this show is the bomb.
I am completely satisfied by period dramas, the clothes, the sets, the language. Peaky Blinders incorporates all of these elements to create a beautifully dark story of three brothers, Tommy, Arthur and John Shelby, who use their gang, the Peaky Blinders, to gain power in post WWI England. From Birmingham to London, the Shelby brothers look to be at the top of the underground scene, work towards becoming legitimate business owners, and try to cope with the effects of their service during the war.
Tommy, the main character, spent time as a shoveler, digging tunnels underneath the trench-based system that was orchestrated in WWI, a job that often meant death, either from collapse of the tunnels or when shovelers from both sides met. If that doesn’t sound like an interesting enough back story for you, then I cannot help you.
While TV of the past (and some of today, tbh) had a system in which supporting characters had a shallow focus, Peaky Blinders gives attention to more than just Tommy’s storyline, and a series of narratives are told throughout the series, all eventually coming together. And although I haven’t caught up on the most recent season (dang you, Entourage, and my hope that you somehow become less misogynistic!)
Are you seeing a theme yet? 😉 British television is my everything.
Anyway, Skins boasts a cast of young British actors, whom you’d probably now recognize for their larger successes following the series. Nicholas Holt (Mad Max:Fury Road, X-Men: First Class, About a Boy), Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, Chappie, The Newsroom), Kaya Scodelario (Moon, Maze Runner), and Jack O’Connel (Unbroken, ‘71), make up the cast of the first two ‘generations’. It is widely understood that these are the best, and, from what I’ve heard, the only ones worth watching.
While the third generation definitely lacks the same level of quality as the first two, I, however, feel differently, and wish to never be parted from this series in any way. Also the third generation gave us glimpses of Joe Cole, who is really great in Peaky Blinders as John.
I watched this series before leaving for London, where I had an internship lined up (which you can read about here, it was fairly rad). And I about shit myself watching this show, as I am a baby who has had little experience in the lines of drug use, the sex, and general tomfoolery. However, having returned from my internship, where I was constantly told that I looked really young, I think my life of mostly clean living has done me well.
Anyway, Skins does a wonderful job of creating a cast of well rounded characters that have personal attributes that allow for the discussion of really important topics. Religion, sexuality, race, and gender are all brought up through the events of the story and talked about in a way that would be helpful to the targeted audience for the show, that being teens and young 20 somethings.
More than that, it’s just interesting to watch. The show is always captivating (maybe less so in the third generation), and the aesthetics of the show are equally attention grabbing. My favorite part of the series is the last season, where we revisit characters from the earlier generations, mostly because of the maturity of the aesthetics. Not only have the characters grown up, they show itself has as well, embodied through the cinematography, the overall look of the scenes.
New Zealand! Not only where the LOTR and The Hobbit was filmed, but also this gem (which features a certain dwarf in a lead role). Following the life of a group of brothers, who gain powers of Norse gods on their 21st birthday, The Almighty Johnsons combines mythology and modern life so well I was hoping that my 21st birthday was going to be just as eventful. (Spoiler: it wasn’t. It did however involve a Piña Colada that tasted exactly how cat piss smells, so there’s that.)
If you desire wonderful accents, great humor, strong female roles, and above all amazing performances, look no further.
I honestly don’t even want to say anymore for fear of giving away the really good parts, so just go watch. (Though I will say that the rushed ending of the show leaves something to be desired, but if y’all would’ve been watching it when it was being made, it probably wouldn’t have been cancelled, and then rushed, so that’s on you) (I will learn to forgive you) (eventually).
I have not seen the American version, but this is where it’s at. The fact that James McAvoy met his now wife (Anne-Marie Duff, who is a badass in her own right) while filming this is enough to make me love it, but beyond that it’s just an all around great show.
Following the life of residents on the Chatsworth Estate, Shameless gives particular attention to Frank, a severe alcoholic, and his kids. We watch as the children of Frank struggle to make ends meet, and propel themselves to a better life, all the while struggling to love, and hate, their father. The show discusses race, religion, sexual orientation, and tackles gender roles (which by now you should know it’ll already get a gold star from me), but it does so in a way that never comes off as preachy, even with several character monologues.
My favorite moment of the show is when one character, who shall remain nameless to protect your viewing experience, questions our conception of sexual orientation. He says that maybe it’s more like shifting sand, we love who we love, and sometimes that goes outside of our previous conceptions about ourselves.
This show is funny, heartwarming, sprinkled with serious moments that keep it from turning entirely ridiculous, and it’s a perfect watch to unwind and de-stress, though it’s inclusion of social issues keeps it interesting, and all the guilt out of the pleasure of binge watching it. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have gotten through my freshman year of college (aka University) without it.
Welp, that’s that. I have many more dearly loved TV series currently available on Netflix, which I will share at a future date. Until then,
Have you seen these TV shows? What did you think? Let me know, in the comments below!