“Intelligence is a very valuable thing, innit, my friend? And usually, it comes far too fucking late.”– Thomas Shelby
British crime dramas and documentaries have boasted of sheer class, brilliant police procedurals and epic whodunits. However, one must always resort to American shows for a riveting and nail-biting narrative from the perspective of a criminal take, for example, The Sopranos. However, Steven Knight’s 2013 series, Peaky Blinders, changed the course of British crime dramas.
Moody and dark, Peaky Blinders chronicles the escapades of Black Country gang, infamous for their notoriety and tendency to stash dangerous razor blades in their peaked caps. It follows the character of the handsome and eloquent, Thomas Shelby (played by the wonderful Cillian Murphy), who is ambitious, cunning and shrewd.
With its riveting and fast-paced tale of cold-blooded violence and gangsters, Peaky Blinders is set in post-first world war Birmingham and manages to capture viewers’ attention indefinitely. Captivating and gasp-inducing, the series seasons are renewed after consecutive prolonged hiatus which makes fans impatient. However, luckily, Netflix is our saviour, with its very own assorted collection of series that have a Peaky Blinders-Esque touch to it. To save your precious time, we have scoured through the various shows on Netflix to find the ones that would best suit interest and quench your thirst for the iconic Thomas-fucking- Shelby.
Here are five Netflix series that all Peaky Blinders fans must watch.
Let’s get going.
After losing his mother to a heroin overdose, the young 17-year-old protagonist, Joshua “J” Cody, moves in with his estranged, freewheeling relatives, the Codys, in Southern California. The crime-family is governed by a tough and manipulative matriarch, Smurf, who harbours immense protective instincts and borderline incestuous love towards her family. She is also J’s grandmother, and J poses a threat to her with a will to take control of her and her life.
The show has a riveting storyline and the intrinsic psychopathy woven into the narrative makes it a compelling watch. The actors are brilliant, especially Shawn Hatosy as Pope and ellen Barkin as Smurf. Hatosy manages to evoke rage as well as sympathy, something that is rare in a character. Smurf as the manipulative matriarch is an emotional seductress. Deceitful actions wrapped in a blanket of warmth and adoration triggers the madness and frenzy in the show. Fans have often likened it to the video game Grand Theft Auto with a dark and intriguing plot twist involving a crime family.
“We never set out to hurt anyone. That’s not the way we work. We don’t take stupid risks. We’re not greedy. But we’re human.”
With love and loyalty, brotherhood and betrayal, redemption and remorse acting as central themes, the series focus on the lives of a “close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in California’s Central Valley”. Jackson “Jax” Teller is the vice-president and then the president of the club, following the footsteps of his deceased father, John. On discovering John’s manifesto, that provides insight into an escape from the corruptible lifestyle, doubts and anxieties make Jax question himself, his relationships, brotherhood as well as the non-conformity of the club.
Well-paced and tightly knit, Sons of Anarchy is an engrossing watch. The plot focuses on human redemption and character development, with the plot rife with corruption, racism, rebellions etc. Haunting and dark, the soundtrack is a perfect garnish to the pervasive violence in the series. The actors are at the top of their game; the series abounds in narcissistic and misogynistic characters depicting sadistic tendencies. The figures of the matriarch and patriarch bind the story together. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the series is bound to come to a grim ending, but constantly raises an eternal question in Jax’s mind: to be (a part of MC) or not to be?
“When the time comes, she needs to tell my sons who I really am. I’m not a good man. I’m a criminal and a killer. I need my sons to grow up hating the thought of me.”
After his father’s death, James Delaney inherits his shipping empire and returns to England with fourteen diamonds. However, he soon realises that along with the inheritance, his father has bequeathed his enemies who would go to any extent to rob James of what rightfully is his. Set in 1814, the series explores the dark and vicious side of 19th century London, along with pertinent themes of politics, business, gangs, the conflict between the working class and the rich, rampant corruption etc.
With a dark, gritty atmosphere, this dialogue-driven British series is full of unexpected twists and turns. Tom hardy is gloomy and terrific on-screen with a brooding and menacing demeanour that heightens the quality of a scene. Supported by an astonishing cast, Hardy inhabits the character with all its flaws and emotional turmoil. Original, complex and captivating, Taboo is another one of Steven Knight’s brilliant masterpieces deserves to be watched by Peaky Blinders fans.
“What kind of rational man believes in justice?”
“The bite of the apple was not the original sin. Lucifer’s fall was.”
When financial advisor Martin “Marty” Byrde’s money-laundering scheme with an infamous drug cartel goes wrong, he is forced to make amends by setting up an even bigger operation in Lake Ozarks region, Missouri. To protect his family, Marty and the rest of the Byrdes move to the quiet Osage Beach. Soon they get embroiled with the local criminals such as the Langmores and the Snells, as well as the Kansas City Mafia.
Masterfully crafted and appropriately paced, Ozark boasts of stellar performances by Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and the rest of the ensemble. The characters are flawed and presented in their crudest forms; Marty’s quiet, gloomy and compromising nature is juxtaposed to his wife, Wendy’s ruthless, ambitious and go-getter nature. The immersive setting of the series set a moody tone to the storyline. Thrilling and intense, Ozark plunges deep into the world of mafia families and drug cartels and is focused on how far a family can go to stay together and protect each other’s integrity while being hounded by adversaries.
“A town full of ladies… it’s a ripe fruit for the wicked.”
Praised vehemently for its ground-breaking and daring breakthrough into a male-dominated genre of Westerns, with a female-driven ensemble, Godless is seven-episode series set in the 1880s. After a mining disaster, La Belle, a town in New Mexico, is inhabited completely by women. Frank Griffin and his band of outlaws pursue Roy Goode a former protege and traitor, relentlessly, driving him to take shelter in the town and he co-habits with the emotionless outcast widow, Alice Fletcher, with leads to rising tension in the town.
What’s better than watching classic Westerns? Watching a townful of powerful women taking up arms against notorious men to protect the integrity of their town. While it is reminiscent of the golden yesteryears, the tone is modern and unapologetic. The multi-faceted villain with an unforgiving rage has an epic duel and showdown with Roy Goode at the end which makes the series finale even more engaging. The women do not wait for men to come to save them; they are vicious and independent and do not fear taking up arms to protect what is theirs. With magnificent cinematography and a satisfying climax, Godless not only sings of women empowerment but also reminisces the classic West.
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