Do you ever get the overwhelming feeling that there are too many options when it comes to TV shows? The quality of TV has vastly improved over the years, treating viewers to intricate and compelling storylines that emotionally resonate with us. This latest batch of shows ranges from the violently brutal, to the coldly calculating, and historically informative.
Gangs of London
In hindsight, this show is binge-watching material. The weekly showing often leads to mass confusion about the new players emerging and the intricate dynamic within London’s criminal underworld. Nevertheless, Gangs of London is a thrilling show that explores the fragility of power when the Flynn Wallace, head of London’s most powerful crime family is assassinated. The wake of his death forces his brash son, Sean Wallace inherit the “throne” and embark on a brutal crusade to hunt down those responsible for his father’s death. In doing so, Sean threatens to tear apart the fragile alliance that exists between London’s international crime gangs. The show took its time to get going, but that was largely due to the intricate layers that needed to be established before everything implodes. Warning, the violence in this show is brutal and bloody, with a literal butcher appearing in the first episode, and the striking image of a burning man introduces us to the sheer brutality of this world. However, beyond the violence, we are treated to an intricate thread that somehow ties everything back to Flynn Wallace. It’s a riveting drama that has oodles of layers and a shocking final that shakes the core of London’s organised crime scene.
Rise of Empires: Ottoman
A Netflix original historical docudrama, Rise of Empires: Ottoman, is an informative 6-part series that spotlights the conquest that would lead to the rise of one of the most formidable empires to shape the course of history. Centring on the ambitious young sultan, Mehmed II this show provides an insightful exploration of Mehmed’s character as a youthful spirit, fuelled by his stubbornness and ambition. He’s a fascinating character as his brutality demonstrates his ruthless temperament, yet his intellectual prowess spotlights his diplomatic nature, earning modicum respect from his enemies. His undertaking to conquer the city of Constantinople is a feat that would cement his legacy, succeeding to do what 23 leaders, his father included, have failed to do. With Charles Dance narrating and insightful analysis from historians, the story effortlessly weaves into the drama of this tale as our lead actors perfectly embody the majesty, the arrogance, and leadership qualities that made Mehmed II, Constantine XI, and the notorious pirate mercenary Giovanni Giustiniani such formidable leaders. While the central conflict focuses on the imposing influence of Constantinople’s sophisticated defence structure, but beyond that, there’s a clear insight on the strength and fragility found in hope and ambition. History fans are going to want to watch this informative and highly entertaining series.
Cardinal (Season 4)
The final season of this Canadian crime drama was a fitting end to a tense series, one that beautifully balances the workings of the latest string of murders in the picturesque fictional city of Algonquin Bay. Based on the book, this series comes to its natural conclusion as Detective John Cardinal and his partner Detective Lise Delorme are tasked with tracking down a serial killer targetting those closest to the people that turned his life upside down years prior. It’s a classic revenge story, but the personal stakes in the case heighten the urgency of this 6-part drama. Woven between the mechanisms of this case is the personal struggles our leads face as Cardinal, having finally found closure following his wife’s murder, now has to contend with life going forward. Delorme, on the other hand, accepts an opportunity in Toronto, bringing further changes to the lives of this police department. As it’s the final season, Cardinal made sure to keep viewers hanging on the edge of a knife as time worked against them and the bodies pile up. While the finale does give room for another season, the conclusion felt like a natural end to what was a thrilling crime drama.