writing

What I Watched on Summer TV

SPOILER ALERT!

Netflix series: Peaky Blinders, Bloodline, The Walking Dead, Fargo

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Peaky Blinders: is a British historical based fictional crime drama television series starring Cillian Murphy (Tom Shelby) as a gangster operating in BirminghamEngland, during the aftermath of World War I. According to a fan of the show known as “brendanmackenziepaidraig” his analogy of Peaky Blinders is: The differences in this British series are what make Peaky Blinders stand out first. One is that it’s not set in London. Why is this a good thing? It’s a nice change of scene, change of accent and culture. The second reason it stands out is it’s told from the criminal’s point of view.”  You get into the head of a Peaky Blinder and ride out the plot as him.” Kind of like Tony in “The Sopranos” only Tony doesn’t carry as much baggage.  What actually is a Peaky Blinder? It’s a tri corner wool cap worn by the Irish clan who works the docks and bookie joint. Hidden in the rim of each hat are razor blades. When someone is attacked, the workers swipe off the caps in self-defense and cut up faces of their attackers.

The acting is just short of brilliant. Tom Shelby likes fine things and even though he is dirt poor in the beginning of the series, he leads a champagne life. His older brother Arthur is a drunk, and fighting in WWI, didn’t help his moods any. He wears his war weary traumas on his sleeve. Aunt Polly does her best to keep the Shelbys in line but a woman in those days was fighting an uphill battle.

Peaky Blinders did not get rave reviews for Season I and II, although “the (director’s) attention to detail, the costumes, the dwellings, have all been created by the highest standard.” This is the best acting you’ll get in any “prime time British drama.” Stick with this show for at least an hour and find out why the Shelby clan finds it necessary to wear razor filled caps, why Thomas has a penchant for fine horses, and what kind of shipment did the dock workers receive by mistake that leads to an all out war against the British. Just as history tells, the Irish were oppressed then, and unless a third season comes about, their civil war could lead to further oppression in another series.  Watch it: Not to be missed.

Bloodline: “is a dramatic thriller that explores the demons lurking beneath the surface of a contemporary American family. The Rayburns are hard-working pillars of their Florida Keys community. But when the black sheep son comes home for the 45th anniversary of his parents’ hotel, he threatens to expose the Rayburns’ dark secrets and shameful past, pushing his siblings to the limits of family loyalty”. Family loyalty aside, this nearly unheard of series offers up family drama at every turn.  The second oldest son also happens to be the local chief of police, and it is he who acts as Danny’s protector. Which Danny resents. There are 13 episodes in this series and as each segment unfolds, you bite your nails, trying to figure out what will happen next. Being that the series takes place at a resort in Florida, each segment sort of languidly leads you along. Because you’re at a resort. But Bloodline could easily have a second season, as too much was left unsaid in segment 13. The acting is good but not great although Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard certainly deliver as their reputations precede them.

I’m in the midst of the first season of The Walking Dead  – for the second time. There’s so much innuendo, biblical theorems and Shakespearean references I missed the first time, I just had to watch it all over again. Normally I despise vampire and guts shows, although, having grown up with The Twilight Zone. I shouldn’t. But, I now startle at the slightest noise and picture complete strangers with knives stuck in their heads. And, I’m falling in love with the character Darrell who is virile and sweaty and very very muscular. He was on Jimmy Fallon last night with the crazy way he wears his hair, and that’s when I learned his real name – Norman Reedus. Of course. A guy who portrays a tracker from the deep South could not be named anything but Norm, Darrell, Shorty or Spike. But this show is not a feast fest for women to drool over its stars. If you’ve read the thrillers “1984”, “The Road”, the Hunger Games series, or seen the movie “There Will be Blood,” you can handle this. It’s a serious “what if” of an end of the world as we know it drama. Gruesome and scary.  Hint: watch this series only during the day. Otherwise, you’ll never get any sleep.

Fargo: This is Fargo the series, not Fargo the movie, but it plays off the movie in being another  dark comedy where a spouse plots to kill another of . Billy Bob Thornton is the lead character and I still haven’t figured out if he represents the devil or is an alter-ego to Jack Nicholson’s character in The Shining. Fargo the series scares you half to death right away in the first segment. From then on, it’s a real challenge to turn off the tv and wait for the next episode. There are all sorts of twists and turns where you think Billy Bob will get what he deserves, and then there he is, front and center, in the middle of your TV screen. This TV version also takes place in a snow filled ten degrees below 0 area, which adds to your uneasy titillation. The plot is over the top, and Billy Bob’s character is also over the top. To date, he is the best character actor out there. At one time, Paul Newman was. Not to be missed.

 

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