Although rarely seen on screen, the woman at the heart of the Profumo affair scandal that pulled back the veil on the British upper classes in 1963 is a big part of the December 8-launching second season of the Elizabeth II-chronicling series created by Peter Morgan.
Along with the excellent-as-always fourth season of Peaky Blinders coming to Netflix on December 21, both Britshows, as I say in my video review above, are welcoming presents under the streaming tree this holiday season as they trot out the strengths that made previous seasons gallop along.
Having already started on the BBC last month, with bigger guns than before, more Tom Hardy and a lot of sharp script and schemes, Season 4 of the Cillian Murphy-led Peaky sees the addition of a vengeance-seeking Adrien Brody, Game of Thrones‘ Aidan Gillen and Happy Valley‘s Charlie Murphy. The Jazz Age-set latest installment of the Steven Knight-created series that follows the Birmingham-based Shelby clan’s criminal rise and tumbles also is a glorious spotlight on a very different, equally as rough in its own way and often far more resonating part of the British class system than the posh orders of The Crown.
Even with another strong showing from Murphy in this round of Peaky Blinders, the unquenchable Helen McCrory and Paul Anderson once again dominate this six-episode must-watch tale.
With a tarnish on the 1956-63 narrative here and there and John Lithgow’s award-winning Winston Churchill having shuffled off and sadly missed, this 10-episode second season of The Crown is on one level a thoroughly entertaining exalted workplace drama where the setting is palaces, country homes and the changing monarchy of a declining Britain.
There is also the fun and fury of the season-stealing Vanessa Kirby as the more imperious than ever, blunted and wayward Princess Margaret: a character in another era that easily could have ended up drinking the Shelbys under the table and here is never more than two verbal razor blades away from cutting a swath through every scene she’s in.
Of course, in another sense, it is also transition as the story goes deeper into the Sixties, the family and Olivia Coleman awaits offstage to take over from the solid and steel-eyed-as-ever Claire Foy next season to play what is now the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Yet, in a time when the potential economic catastrophe of Brexit approaches and the royal marriage of once-Jack the Lad Prince Harry and Suits alum Meghan Markle looms to delight and distract, Season 2 of The Crown is in line to be one of the most politically and culturally relevant shows of this first year of the Trump Era, as I also say in my video review above
So, click on the review and see more of my take on The Crown Season 2 and Peaky Blinders Season 4 and why they are two very bingeable shows for fans old and new.
This review originally ran on December 6, 2017
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