In the wide TV landscape, regress is more common than progress. Plenty of shows get worse over time but the same cant be said for Peaky Blinders. Part of the reason the show has a cult following is that the first season hooks viewers quite easily. And once they have invested their time, they can hardly walk away because the quality remains.
Many of the little things that make season 1 such a joy to binge are greatly improved on in later seasons. A great writing team and a dedicated showrunner in Steven Knight can be credited for this. And with season 6 on the way, the expectation is for the improvement to continue.
Strong Female Characters
In the beginning, fans are introduced to a few strong female characters. Grace is the double agent, Polly is the matriarch of the family, and Ada is the independent sister who won’t let her gangster brothers tell her what to do.
All these female characters are heavily involved in the proceedings and as the show progresses, they are granted greater responsibility. Additionally, many more strong female characters are introduced. May proves to be more than just a horse trainer by almost ousting Grace out of Tommy’s heart, Esme gets to be somewhat of an opposition leader who questions each of Tommy’s choices while Linda graduates from escort to secretary and First Lady of the Blinders.
Passionate And Motivated Villains
Former Royal Irish Constabulary lawman Chester Campbell gives Tommy plenty of migraines in the first few episodes, He doesn’t stop until he gets the cache of weapons he is looking for and even tries to battle with Tommy for Grace’s heart. He eventually dies but mightier baddies emerge.
In the seasons that follow, the villains turn out to be even more formidable. Luca Changretta proves impossible to vanquish as an Italian mobster keen on getting revenge for the death of his father and brother. His relentlessness sees him cause some of the saddest deaths in Peaky Blinders, including that of John. The villains are not just stereotypical gangsters either, which starts with season 1. They stretch across all corners, from Father Phil in the religion sector to Sir Oswald Mosley in the political arena.
Tommy’s Love Life
Tommy’s career as a crime boss is fairly stable but his love remains a seesaw. Initially, it’s all about him and Grace. She makes him lose his prized guns but grows deeper in love with him, opting to stop being a double agent.
Tommy and Grace’s relationships blossoms as it should in later events, leading to the mandatory marriage. New lovers such as May and Tatiana are also tucked into the events so as to spice things up, and they do that in a magnificent manner. Seeing how it all begins with Grace, especially knowing that it ends in such tragedy, is special to witness.
The Inclusion Of Big Name Actors
Sam Neill and Tommy Flanagan are two of the popular faces to be featured up early in the show. The two are best known for their work in Jurassic Park and Sons Of Anarchy respectively. In future seasons, even bigger names appear, including Tom Hardy, Aiden Gillen, and the Oscar winner Adrian Brody.
Big names are always guaranteed to attract more eyeballs hence it’s not hard to figure out why the series has gone on to garner a very large fanbase. Hardy and Brody specifically prove to be perfect castings as they end up portraying what could arguably be the top two out of Tommy Shelby’s biggest enemies. Still, it all began with Neill and Flanagan, who are great in season 1.
One of the first major storylines involves Tommy’s decision to hold on to a cache of government weapons headed for Libya. He figures whoever wants them will be willing to cough up a fortune for them. It’s a risky move but it puts him in the spotlight, placing him on a path to meet powerful men like Winston Churchill.
Tommy’s level of ambition when he is first introduced is enough to impress any fan, and things only get better. He infects his gang with his bravery, making them take over several businesses belonging to rivals. He also expands to the much riskier territory of London and reminds everyone that he is not just your ordinary gangster by venturing into politics.
Impressive Action Sequences
As is the case with most great TV dramas, emphasis is placed on dialogue rather than action. There are limited action sequences in season 1 but they are very impressive, the most notable one being the battle with Billy Kimber’s gang at the Garrison Lane.
The Kimber scene is modeled after ’80s action flicks since despite being outnumbered, Tommy’s men are able to take out most of Kimber’s goons by just using a single machine gun. By Season 4, the action sequences morph to blockbuster levels. Arthur’s takeover of the Eden Club is hard to erase from the memory and so is the mafia’s war against the Blinders, which was all set up by season 1’s sparse but great action
The Inclusion Of Real-Life Characters
Though based on the actual Peaky Blinders gang, the show’s tale is mostly fictional. However, two real-life characters are included early, notably Billy Kimber and Winston Churchill. As more events take place, the number triples.
The introduction of more real-life characters makes the BBC drama more appealing to historians. Furthermore, it makes everything feel much more realistic. It’s impossible to not get awed as Alfie intimidates all of his fellow crime bosses, including Tommy. Additionally, Charlie Chaplin provides some temporary comic relief while Oswald Mosley establishes himself as a great political foe.
One of the things that make viewers fall in love immediately is that everything looks beautiful. From the three-piece tweed suits to the molten orange sparks depicting industrial-age Birmingham, the cinematography and costume design create a feast for the eyes.
The visuals have gone on to become more colorful in recent times. Part of this has to do with the fact that Tommy and his extended family have gotten really wealthy from their various criminal exploits. Everything about them ranges from the grand to the glamorous. In one of Tommy Shelby’s best quotes from season 1, he mentions that his suits are always on the house but now he can afford to import some. Rooms also switch from basic ones to highly decorated ones.
The English Accents
Tommy and his family members make sure to flaunt their English accents right from the first few minutes but it isn’t until characters like Alfie and Aberama are introduced do viewers get to realize just how refined vowels can get.
The accents serve as a reminder that this is a very British show. The stronger they are, the more authentic everything feels. For a character like Arthur, a strong English accent makes him a more intimidating gangster such that when he declares an establishment has now been taken over by order of the Peaky Blinders, no one doubts him.
Tommy’s intelligence is frequently displayed through the words he chooses. In the beginning, he talks about guns, fashion, and rivals but by season 5, he appears to have turned philosophical.
It’s hard to not be impressed when Tommy sits inside Churchill’s office and explains how ‘conviction’ is the enemy of oratory and how some weeds cannot be dealt with by mere pruning. The crime boss also strides away from engaging in exchanges, preferring to simply make declarations and expecting them to be followed.