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U.K. Invasion and streaming television

English Village Photo by Maria-Bernadette Inkmann from Pixabay

When we think of British programming we usually envision crime sleuths, royalty or quirky comedy. I am a fan of all of them. No one does better serial period drama pieces than the BBC. Recently, however, there have been some edgier selections that have been a delight to watch.

Three shows you may…or may not have seen

Fleabag (2016, 2019) Amazon: I was happy to see this show recognized this year for a fantastic second season. I am not sure how many people actually watched the first season, which is hilarious. I am normally not a huge fine of some of the "dysfunctional woman" selections out recently. They tend to just be a female version of the previous male versions. Fleabag, however, is different. The title itself was enough to get my attention, and then after watching the first episode, I realized this is something very different and original. The creator and main character Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is fantastic. Her dysfunctional family includes a perpetually depressed sister, a lecherous brother-in -law, widowed father and offbeat and dominate mother-in-law (Olivia Coleman). Oh… and Fleabag also owns a guinea pig themed cafe that is always empty…as if a food establishment with a rodent theme was a good idea.

Peaky Blinders (2013 - ) Netflix: This show involves the emerging underworld in Birmingham, England after the first world war. Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) is the leader of a gypsy gang known as the Peaky Blinders as they put razor blades in their caps. Family members include Aunt Polly (Helen McRory) and an outstanding cast of British and Irish actors. It is a highly stylized series with lots of interesting plots involving Russian aristocracy, and Irish and Jewish mobsters. The seasons can be a little uneven, however. In particular, the season with Adrian Brody as a Mafia gangster out for revenge was not that interesting. Other seasons more than make up for it though. Also, any period piece that can work in a Black Sabbath song and be cool is refreshing.

Rebellion (2016, 2019) Netflix: This is a limited series involving fictional characters during the time of the Irish Easter rebellion in 1916. Irish nationalists decided to directly confront the British empire and it did not end well for them. However, the brutality and lack of due process imposed by the British military made martyrs out of those executed and eventually led to the successful independence of modern Ireland. There are a number of storylines woven around the rebellion to include Irish soldiers on leave from service in Turkey with mixed loyalties, aristocratic British and Irish leaders and politicians and the general wreckage that a revolution brings. Brian Gleeson plays one of the Irish revolutionaries and Michelle Fairly and Ian McElhinney, both in Game of Thrones fame, play an aristocratic Irish couple.

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