Top Boy Season 2
Depending on one’s point of view, this is either the second season of Top Boy or the fourth. Channel 4 dropped the series in 2014, and that was assumed to be that, until Drake (yes, that Drake) decided to executive produce new episodes and relaunch the series on Netflix. So, unless Celine Dion is spearheading a tenth season of Peep Show, Top Boy has the curious distinction of being the only Channel 4 show resurrected by a Canadian musician.
The second instalment of Netflix’s Top Boy tidies up a few lingering plot points left over from the previous season (a little too tidily in some cases, but this is an insignificant concern). Jamie’s (Micheal Ward) time in police custody is craftily resolved, while Dushane (Ashley Walters) doesn’t quite attempt to go legit, but works on a scheme that will at least provide a veneer of legitimacy, while the undercover cops from last season continue to encircle the fascinatingly convoluted drug empire at the heart of the series.
The cinematography is better than a TV show’s has any right to be, with the composition of many shots really rather captivating. Early scenes of Jamie in custody, looking at the outside world through barred windows play with light in such a rich, textured way. Nondescript council estates become warmly-lit tableaux with darkening shadows at the edge of the frame, giving the impression that something ominous is about to pounce.
Unexpected flashes of violence have become a fairly standard component of many television dramas that explore the criminal underworld of their respective settings – to the point that it feels unearned and lazy. There’s nothing lazy about Top Boy’s writing, and a lack of reliance on shock value gives the show a solid, gritty grounding (with something sinister always looming). It simply doesn’t try too hard to pull viewers into its world, and instead gently coaxes them in, resulting in something quite immersive.
Top Boy Season 2 is released on Netflix on 18th March 2022.
Watch the trailer for Top Boy Season 2 here: