BEST TV OF 2014: Nobody Will Watch ‘Peaky Blinders’ with Me but Everyone Should

When Peaky Blinders debuted across the pond, it seemed like it was tailor-made for me—and possibly only me. I can see why other people wouldn’t seek it out the way I did, because they might not share:

  1. My love of Boardwalk Empire, which I think exceeds most people’s, at least until that deadly fourth season.
  2. My demonstrated, um, interest in Cillian Murphy.
  3. My love of what’s rapidly becoming my favorite genre of TV and movies, which I can only describe as “Don’ You Go Rounin’ Roun to Re Ro” (or British petty crime thingies that seem like they have “a lot of killing over a very small amount of money”).

So, yeah, I resigned myself to watching the first season of the show—about a gang of toughs trying to seize control of the horse-race betting racket in post-WWI Birmingham—as a solo venture.

Everything changed for the second season. It was available on Netflix almost right away, so it didn’t require as much effort to watch. The show expanded its focus to interest people other than me and only me (and by “expanded its focus,” I mean “added Tom Hardy”). More people were watching Sherlock than ever (at least on my Twitter feed), so they were more used to checking out BBC shows for quality entertainment. And…I’m still the only one I know who watches Peaky Blinders. D’oh!

But someone out there should watch this with me. Here’s why.

Crazy Casting!


The second season is basically a turf war between three gangs. One is led by Cillian Murphy, obvs. Another is led by Tom Hardy (also on my shortlist of backup husbands), and the third is led by Noah Taylor! That is a lot of acting muscle, you guys. What’s even better is that their casting is kind of, well, I’ll call it “against type,” but I mean “totally bonkers.” Taylor heads the Italian mafia-style gang. I don’t know if I ever would have pegged him for part of the cosa nostra. And Hardy is the leader of the Jewish gang, and a kind of insane one at that.

Long Takes!

This show has them! One of the very first scenes involves a couple of long-ish shots of Cillian Murphy riding a beautiful black horse (possibly bareback?) through gritty Birmingham while Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” plays. Mmmmm.


So foppish! Let it be known that Cillian Murphy had that haircut before Robert Pattinson became cool, joined Death Grips, and shaved his hair all weird.


I’m a sucker for period movies/TV shows that use contemporary music. If you fell hard for that Great Gatsby trailer that played Jack White’s “Love Is Blindness,” this whole show is like that. Almost literally: The first season is almost entirely scored by Jack White projects, plus the Cave song, of course. The second season adds P.J. Harvey, the Arctic Monkeys, and some others, and plays the riff of “Red Right Hand” so much it’s like the personal “How You Like Me Now” of the show.


I honestly don’t know what Sam Neill is supposed to be doing. To me he sounds like the cop in Looney Tunes. (“Ya might, Rabbit. Ya might.”) And everybody else sounds like Wakko Warner, but in a good way.

Steven Knight!

Steven Moffat is over! It’s all about Locke writer/director and Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight now. At least, Knight seems to be the one who has the direct line into the pleasure centers of my brain. First, he was the one who had the obviously brilliant idea to make a movie that’s basically nothing but Tom Hardy’s face ingredients for 90 minutes. Then, his next project (Taboo, which will come to FX) will star Tom Hardy as a 1900s rogue explorer out for revenge. Did I dream that?


There are only 12 episodes total (and they’re all on Netflix). I watched all of the second season in three days. Basically, you can watch the entire thing in the time it would take to watch half a season of Elementary. It’s winter, you just want to hole up inside—get this one done, guys.