Anytime I see a new period drama like The English Game on a streaming service, one thing I know is, I’ll be taking a closer look. Some, it turns out, are not my cup of tea, but other times, I find one that’s really quite good.
The English Game (2020) Netflix Review
Leaving Scotland wasn’t in the plans of Fergus Suter (Kevin Guthrie), but for the love of football and the chance of a better life, along with his friend, Jimmy (James Harkness), the two head to England. Bought as players by the owner of an amateur team, resting on them lies the hopes they can help win the prestigious FA cup as the first amateur team.
The wealthy “gentlemen” bristle at the thought of welcoming those less than them, and all men who dominate the sport. Soon the board learns the amateur players are being paid, and armed with this, they determine to drive them out. All that is except Arthur Kinnaird (Edward Holcroft), a man who comes to see the plight of the working man is never easy.
Created by the talented story-teller Julian Fellowes, this British drama is one of those that arrives as an unknown. I’d read about it way back when (as one often does), but like with anything, other things come up as a distraction or to take up our time set aside for binge-watching. When it appeared in the states, I binge-watched the 6-hour mini-series over two days, and am very glad to have done so. Seeing it all in a tight space brings it all together, even though I’m also sad to see it end; which is always the downside to binging!
Though I like many things about this, one of them is the marriage of two conflicts. Not only does this focus on the historical birth of change in sports (from players playing for the love of it to being paid), it also dives into factory workers. Like North & South, here we again see workers who want more. It’s an interesting era to look at and much of the class divide reminds me of the aspects in North & South. Gives the story some texture, and makes us curious to watch “what’s next” as each installments ends with the viewer wanting to hit “play” and find out.
While I don’t know from any firsthand knowledge, a quick Google search does suggest that while this is inspired by real events, much of the script uses its creative license liberally. But there’s something too intriguing about the series to care, plus the cast is quite solid. In addition to all of the good story-telling and the men who play these historical figures, their female co-stars are not to be forgotten. Jamestown’s Niamh Walsh plays an interesting local named Martha, and Charlotte Hope plays Margaret, Arthur’s wife. Their relationship is beautiful plain and simple, but it’s in the shifts it undergoes that make it shine. It’s not an easy relationship, but through it all, their love shines through.
The sign of any good story is that of one we’re sorry to see end. This is true of The English Game. It’s a fascinating look at a time in history that isn’t often depicted on film. Not only that, but it’s another example of why I enjoy the stories from Fellowes pen, and hope to continue to do so. With plenty of conflict, an interesting backdrop and likable characters to champion, plus “just enough” romance, this Netflix drama is very easy to enjoy.‘The English Game’ is the Fantastic & Inspired Netflix Drama. A new #Netlix #PeriodDrama penned by Julian Fellowes Click To Tweet
Content: there’s some “tense” instances [a mob gathers to burn a house, men get into fisticuffs, etc.], and one sensual scene [nothing beyond kissing]. There may be some slang or minor profanity. The series is TV-14