bookgazing: (i heart books)
bookgazing ([personal profile] bookgazing) wrote2014-03-15 10:57 am

Peaky Blinders Excitement - 15th March

Nymeth said: ‘Tell us about something you're super into right now! It can be a song, a sport, a TV series, a website, you name it. Just something you really like and why it's important to you.’


This is Peaky Blinders:

So now you’re like well how is this program different from any other historical gangster program full of white dudes?

This program is set in Birmingham. Almost no one sets TV dramas in the West Midlands.

Five things I love about it:

1.) Peaky Blinders is set just after WWII and it’s very frank about the psychological damage done to men by war. Tommy Selby, the leader of the Peaky Blinders gang, uses opium to block out memories of his time in the mining crews; his big brother Arthur has regular bouts of depression and in the first episode Tommy’s friend Danny ‘Whizzbang’ displays serious shell shock. This may be a common theme in WWI and WWII programs but this particular program is special to me because it’s about West Midlands men. Our region’s history is pretty absent from mainstream media.

2.) While full of social history, Peaky Blinders is also a solid crime drama. It’s plots are constructed around a "Hustle" style format – the plot sends you one way and everything looks bleak, but there’s a reveal which changes everything. Some critics felt that the constructed drama of these plots are a detriment to the show and that it would have been better if it were solely a social piece. I disagree. Peaky Blinders kind of amazes me because it combines a number of genres into a wholely satisfying piece – it’s running a little technical challenge inside itself. Can it be a crime thriller, a social history piece, a quirky artistic project and a family drama all at the same time without collapsing under these competing elements?

Programs don’t have to be the same as "The Village" or Call the Midwife in order to be a successful piece of historical drama is what I’m saying. There are other ways.

3.) A small thing, but there’s this scene where a character is trying to bring music back to the local pub (there hasn’t been music since the war because Tommy doesn’t want any) and she sing “The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery” to this pub full of burly West Midlands men. And at the chorus they all sing along. It’s this lovely soft moment that shows how much they’ve missed music and the way they look at Grace is all tenderness as if her voice makes her an angel.

One of the things I like about this program is how much compassion there is mixed in with the violence. It takes the time to show people being human and loyal even as they struggle to maintain dominance and control.

4.) Grace is fantastic and I can’t say more without spoiling, but take it from me she is a surprise package. Her romantic story is reasonably easy to predict, but that doesn’t make it any less electric.

5.) You know I have a thing for people inhabiting their characters and turning out these physical performances. So many people are killing that in this program. Cillian Murphy, who plays Tommy Shelby, is especially impressive (even if his accent is variable) and you get this real sense of menace coming off him every time her enters a room. Even when he’s being gentle he’s a bomb waiting to go off. The actors playing his brothers and his Aunt Pol also have that whole ‘caged lions’ vibe running through them.

The first series of Peaky Blinders just finished, but I’m excited for the second especially because it’s been announced that Tom Hardy and Charlotte Riley will be joining the cast! Hopefully the ending of series one will turn out to have a massive trick-reveal behind it and the internet will explode all over this show.

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