A picture of the Peaky Blinders (including Tommy Shelby played by Cillian Murphy) ready to take action

All Peaky Blinders Seasons Ranked Worst to Best

Tommy Shelby and his ever constant and occasionally faithful gang of mobsters have cemented themselves in the pantheon of pop culture history as Small Heath’s infamous Peaky Blinders but with an upcoming movie on the way and The Redemption of Thomas Shelby onstage in London, let’s take a look back at its six-season TV run. With consistent stellar reviews across the board for all six series and 36 memorable episodes, this one is going to be a tough—but fun—list to rank. 

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Season Five

Polly Shelby from the Peaky Blinders
(BBC)

Season Five contains three of Peaky’s highest rated episodes of all time, according to IMDB, which are “Mr. Jones” (ranked sixth), “The Loop” (ranked ninth), and “Black Cats” (ranked tenth). Despite this, the show’s penultimate season is often give the last spot when it comes to rating all six series from lowest to highest—told you this was going to be a hard one to rank.

Series Five mostly focused on the Shelby Family reeling from the Wall Street Crash, as well as Tommy’s political career, particularly with his involvement with real-life figure Oswald Mosley. This season mostly diverged from the first four in that it involved a lot more politics, with Tommy taking the Michael Corleone route with his attempts at “legitimizing” the business, all while working as a double agent for the British Government. Huge 180 from the streets of Small Heath and fixing the races, huh?

Season Six

Tommy Shelby from the Peaky Blinders
(BBC)

Series Six was essentially a continuation of everything that went down in Season Five, which doesn’t make it much of a surprise that the two rarely stay on opposite ends of lists like these. The two are respectively at 89% and 88% on Rotten Tomatoes based on audience scores, which are significantly lower in contrast to the first four seasons which are all rated upwards of 94% based on over thousands of user ratings.

Despite this, however, I am of the opinion that the show went out in the best way it possibly could have: Tommy riding away a white horse, paralleling the black one he rode when he first entered our screens. Behind him, the caravan he was set to die in was left ablaze with symbols and trinkets of the life he once cared about inside it. Peace at last, indeed.

Season One

Tommy Shelby from the Peaky Blinders
(BBC)

The first season is memorable for countless reasons, aside from the fact that it’s the one that introduced us to the Shelby family. There’s little Finn and Aunt Polly (cue sobbing), Grace’s now famous “Happy or sad?” line and her and Tommy’s enemies-to-lovers arch which we all loved, Chief Inspector Campbell, John and Esme’s wedding, and of course, the stolen guns.

The first season of Peaky was a simpler time in contrast to the ones that came after it and so looking back at it now, it just feels so nostalgic in the best way possible. From their family meetings in their old house to the grimy streets of Birmingham to Billy Kimber and his boys, Series One was a great start to an epic show. 

Season Four

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on the final season of Peaky Blinders
(BBC)

Fans generally have divisive opinions when it comes to Season Four although one cannot deny that it’s probably the most thrilling out of all the six series. In fact, it contains three highest-rated episodes: “The Company” (ranked third), “The Noose” (ranked fourth), and “Heathens” (ranked seventh).

Season Four showcases the Shelby family divided after a brief stint in prison and being put quite literally on the brink of stepping off a platform to meet their deaths, with the exception of Tommy who manages to save everyone at the last minute. This doesn’t do much to help with family ties as everyone (for good reasons, to be fair) blames him for what happened. To further complicate matters, each Shelby receives mysterious letters from the Sicilian mob, signalling the beginning of an all-out war wiuth one of the family’s most formidable enemies: Luca Changretta. 

During this season, we watch as the Shelbys (much to everyone’s annoyance) are forced to band together once more and return to Birmingham. It also contains one of the show’s most heartbreaking deaths: John Shelby’s.  

Season Three

Tommy Shelby in front of a war zone in Peaky Blinders
(Netflix)

Where do we begin with Series Three? Well, for starters, it contains the highest-ranked finale (and episode) of all time out of the show’s 36 episodes. This season opens with Tommy and Grace’s beautiful wedding, only for Grace to tragically die exactly an episode later, leaving Tommy shattered and broken and, well, dead inside. It’s also the one where we witness that iconic scene with the Shelby women walking hand-in-hand, as well as that heated argument between Alfie and Tommy where Alfie essentially calls Tommy a hypocrite after being told that he’d “crossed the line.”

Admittedly, this season had its rough edges (the plot involving the Russians come to mind) but it set up internal conflicts with several of the main cast that were recurring points until the end like Linda and Arthur’s relationship, as well as Tommy’s grief, guilt, and later on, fixation on weird curses. There is also, of course, Father John Hughes, who was very much an effective villain. 

Season Two

Tommy Shelby faced with a gun in Peaky Blinders
(BBC)

The consistent fan favorite and best-rated season, Peaky Series Two was probably the one that got us all hooked. It follows the Shelby’s as an established fixture in Birmingham after their takeover of Billy Kimber’s gang and eventually, several other rival groups, as well as their continuing expansion. We are also introduced to Michael Gray and Tommy’s beloved frenemy, Alfie Solomons.

Some iconic scenes from this series include Aunt Polly’s revenge against Inspector Campbell, Grace’s comeback, and of course, Tommy kneeling out on a deserted field, whispering, “In the bleak midwinter” as he waits to be shot only to be told that he was not going to be killed and that at some point in the future, Winston Churchill was going to need his help. 

Much like the first season, Series Two was very fast-paced with a lot of surprises and cliffhangers along the way. It was also the last season with the main cast together before the deaths and much darker themes we saw as the show progressed. 

What was your favorite Peaky Blinders season? Let us know in the comments!

(featured image: BBC)


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Author
Danielle Baranda
Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.