July 22, 2020

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind And The Show’s Cult Status

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind

Usually, I don’t get to write about TV series. Well, in general anyway. Which is why I love writing about Peaky Blinders: Mastermind and the TV show of the same name. Let me explain. My usual agenda here at IndieGala is naming and sharing my favorite movies. Movies about sports, cars, or even rhinos. It doesn’t matter. Movies occupy about 90% of my content. However, Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is a nice and welcoming exception to my usual routine.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind And My Favorite TV shows

But it’s not like I haven’t written about TV series before. Far from it. I’ve touched on Narcos before and I even wrote about probably my all-time anime character – Vegeta. That counts as well right? I sure hope so.

However, now Peaky Blinders is on my agenda and I love it. I couldn’t tell you the joy and excitement I felt when I saw Peaky Blinders: Mastermind at Indie Gala. It’s one of my all-time favorite TV shows and I’d love to share my love for the BBC series with you. Since we have Peaky Blinders: Mastermind for pre-purchase of course. But before any further about the acclaimed BBC TV shows, I believe a word or two about the game is in order.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind & what’s the game all about?

Developed by FuturLab and published by Curve Digital, Peaky Blinders: Mastermind is a fantastic single-player, full controller support adventure/strategy game. It’s also a puzzle-adventure game, that’s based on the multi-award-winning TV show. Peaky Blinders.

Much like the TV show itself, the game is also set in Birmingham, during the aftermath of the Great War. However, the game is set right before the events of Season One. Also Peaky Blinders: Mastermind lets you join a criminal gang of the notorious Shelby family. You’ll get to follow the rise of Tommy Shelby because you are Tommy Shelby in this game. You will uncover a sinister plot to put the family out of business and position yourself as a mastermind of the Peaky Blinders.

In addition to becoming Tommy Shelby, here in Peaky Blinders: Mastermind you get the opportunity to fill the shoes of the other Shelby family members. Arthur, Polly and so much more. It’s up to you to choose your favorite.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind and what makes the show so good?

Well, for starters the Peaky Blinders are steeped in real-life history. Indeed. The urban street gang called The Peaky Blinders truly existed. Both in the city of Birmingham and roughly the same period as the show. But I must mention that historically, their impact was seriously diminished by the early 1920s. However, the characters, the plot and pretty much else you see on the TV show are purely fictional.

In addition to the real-life inspirations, the show’s title is derived from the gang practice of wearing flat “peaked” caps. Which they could then see under due to the shorter brims compared to the hats usually worn by more distinguished gentlemen. Fascinating, isn’t it?

The eclectic soundtrack binds the show

And you just know that it’s a phenomenal show just by the opening title. First of all, the opening theme called Red Right Hand is in fact 1994 single originally recorded by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Although decades apart between the song’s release and the setting of the show, the song fits perfectly into the show’s narrative. Don’t you think? And not only that. Peppered throughout the show is an array of incredible soundtrack selection that deserves mentioning. And iconic status as well. Between the flapper style of the 1920s and the violent nature of the show, there’s an incredible selection of tracks by Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, PJ Harvey, The White Stripes, Radiohead, and Tom Waits. Just to name a few. They’re all in the show and all incredible.

Peaky Blinders: Mastermind

It’s no wonder that fans of the show include David Beckham, Samuel L. Jackson, Julia Roberts, Brad Pitt and the late David Bowie. He even allowed his music to be used in the show. Oh, and Snoop Dog. That’s right Snoop Dog is apparently a huge fan of Peaky Blinders and I love that fact. 

Cillian Murphy is the man!

The TV show is filled to the brim with excellent actors, but one man really carries the entire show on his shoulders. I’m talking about Cillian Murphy. By the way, you can expect a follow-up post solely dedicated to the incredible talent of Cillian Murphy here at IndieGala. Stay tuned for that. But for now, I must point out his talent for particularly this role. He was born to play Tommy Shelby. And mind you this is not some lovable yet damaged individual. NO. We’re talking about deeply troubled, yet the layered man that in essence, is not a good person.

Staring Peaky Blinders GIF by BBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

He’s a manipulative, ruthless criminal, who will stop at nothing when it comes to the protection of his family. Or his „business“.  That’s right. Tommy has a „business“ to run, inner demons and a long list of enemies that he needs to juggle. Not to mention, family members that he needs to keep on tight leash. Add to that his crippling drug and alcohol abuse, PTSD, paranoia and guilt, and you have a recipe for disaster, if not handled properly. Thankfully Tommy and the rest of the characters are in good hands.

The supporting cast is top notch

However, it’s the smart writing, smooth direction and impeccable costume/set design that really makes the characters so engaging. Oh, and the haircuts. Can’t forget about the haircuts. They’re awesome as well. And it’s not just Tommy Shelby that’s fascinating. Every single one of the supporting characters is incredible, thanks to smart writing and fantastic casting.

polly gray | Tumblr

Helen McCrory is incredible as well, not going to lie. But if you take a closer look at her character (Polly Shelby) you’ll notice something incredible. Polly is one of the best written female characters ever. She’s fierce, strong and pragmatic. I dare you to find a strong female character on TV that’s remotely similar and frankly bad-ass as Polly. She’s the brains of the Shelby family.

A long list of fantastic actors

Sam Neil was a nice addition to the cast in the first two seasons. While Tom Hardy, Noah Taylor, Paddy Constantine, Aidan Gillen, Brian Gleeson and Academy Award winner Adrian Brody filled up the supporting cast in the latter seasons.

But did you know that the roles of Michael Gray and John Shelby are occupied by real-life brothers? Indeed. Fin and Joe Cole are brothers in real life, but that’s not it. Tom Hardy stars opposite his real-life wife Charlotte Riley (who plays the role of May Carleton). How cool is that?

Tom Hardy Threat GIF by BBC - Find & Share on GIPHY

And speaking of Tom Hardy… This is the fourth time that Tom has worked with Cillian. They were previously part of the cast in three motion pictures. Inception, Dunkirk and The Dark Knight Rises. Not only that. They both portrayed villains in The Dark Knight Rises. Tom Hardy played Bane, while Cillian Murphy played Scarecrow. Similarly, Paul Anderson and Tom Hardy were in the 2015 film The Revenant together.

Peaky Blinders’ cult status is very much deserving

The interesting thing about the Peaky Blinders is that it does have a cult following. A small but devoted cult following. But when you think about it, it’s not that universally well-known TV series. Well, not compared to the award-winning Boardwalk Empire, a TV show that’s often compared to Peaky Blinders. However, if I’d have to compare it to something, I’d go with The Sopranos, but with a different timeline and different setting. Swap Birmingham with New Jersey and 1920s with late ’90s and you’re pretty much there. The similarities are evident in my opinion. Not to mention you have the gradual moral decline of the main characters with the progression of the series. But, at the same time, I feel that as good as Peaky Blinders is, it’s still an acquired taste for many. It doesn’t have the ubiquitous status of The Sopranos, nor the popularity of let’s say Game Of Thrones or Breaking Bad. 

And don’t think for a second that it’s a bad thing. With shows like Peaky Blinders, I think it’s good that they don’t have that level of popularity. Or likability for that matter. The small percentage of people that actually watch Peaky Blinders is fascinating phenomenon for me. And it almost makes me feel like I belong to a small exclusive club. A club of people with great taste in TV content. A nice club to be a part of, don’t you think? Yup, I’d say so.

Do you like Peaky Blinders as well? And why do you like Peaky Blinders? Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know.

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