TV Review: Gangs of London (Series 2)

The hyper-violence of Gangs of London begins to wear a little thin for me but if you liked the first series, you’ll like this second one too

“London is on fire”

The hyper-violence of shows like Gangs of London isn’t really my bag, so I was pleasantly surprised by how gripped I was by the Sky show’s first season. And if it isn’t the most obviously festive viewing, I was determined to take advantage of my parents’ fancy TV to catch up the second series which was released in October, picking up from the highly tumultuous final episode.

Created by Gareth Evans and Matt Flannery, Gangs of London continues very much in the same (bloody) vein of hardcore violence as the criminal organisations battling for supremacy in London continue their never-ending schemes to get to the top to control…something or other. Giving nothing away, it also manages an audacious bit of plotting in the first episode that showed some real daring.

It was thus a shame that the rest of the series didn’t really show a similar level of inventiveness, falling back on a couple of well-worn tropes in order to steady the ship, as it were, maintaining at least a core of continuing characters alongside the constant churn of international gangs who refuse to learn from the lessons of the last international gang that tried to seize power and subsequently got annihilated.

I shouldn’t complain really. As I said, the show continues to do what it does and what it clearly has the audience for, it just isn’t for me, the stylised hyper-violence almost becoming dull in repetitiveness (I mean you could play a drinking game based on the number of times slow-motion blood splatters on someone’s face as the person they’re talking to is ‘shockingly shot’…). 

A quality cast means that the show is usually more than watchable and the writing, shared between a large team here, has fun in leading us down convoluted rabbit-holes of treachery and terror. I’d argue though that the reliance on the tropes that it goes for diminishes something of the unexpectedness that you kinda want to continue throughout. It’s there in moments but in a show like this, jeopardy needs to apply to all characters to really make an impact. 

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