In 2011, we were introduced to the Summerhouse gang and the Top Boy series. The rawness, authenticity, drama and at times comedy of it all made it a popular show in the UK urban community. When the announcement came that the show was coming back thanks to Aubrey Graham (Drake)ss, the anticipation was nearly unmatched. The big questions we all had were; would it be as good as its previous seasons? Would the direction the producers take the show be up to scratch? Would it be just as raw and authentic as the past? Would it be relatable? The answer is yes. From start to finish this season’s Top Boy was captivating, emotional and fantastic.
I was interested to see how the producers would spin the ‘drug dealing story line’ in this season. I was pleasantly surprised to see that rather than trying to spin the big story line, they chose to focus on the intricacies of the smaller story lines and sub plots. The show wasn’t just about drugs gangs and guns, but focused on real life issues which affect many people every day. It made the show real. Made the audience look and see themselves in each of the many characters. The relationships between characters helped build these storylines from start to finish and helped us empathise with almost all characters. This was hugely helped with the scene selection. Through out the ten episodes, I did not feel that any scene was too long or too short or unnecessary. They all had an impact, from the way they were filmed, to the scenery, to the interactions and dialogue between the characters in said scenes. There were also many stand out scenes which made the audience cry along the characters.
The character development was phenomenal. Not only were there no wasted characters, each character had their own trial to go through and developed accordingly. Most importantly, the producers highlighted their development very well. We see characters such as Sully, Dris and Jaq evolve and add depth to their characters we didn’t know they had. We also see characters break down and become more volatile and irritable, showing the other side of character development; deconstruction of the psyche. David ‘Dave’ Omoregie, who played Modie, and Keiyon Cook, who played Ats, were two perfect examples of this.
There were too many stand out performances throughout this series. Dave as Modie, brilliant. Jasmine Jobson as Jaq, electrifying. Michael Ward as Jamie, outstanding. This is just to name a few! All of whom explored their characters exceptionally well and made them so life like, the audience believed they were real characters. However, for me, the MVP was Kane ‘Kano’ Robinson as Sully. The character development he undergoes during this season was exceptional. Dealing with the emotional turmoil from his actions or lack there of in some instances. How the consequences of circumstance and actions affect his interactions with other characters. It was really a near flawless performance from start to finish. There were a few scenes, which I won’t mention, where I forgot Kano was actually Kano and believed Sully was the reality. This is not to take away from any of the other actors and actresses who played their roles to near perfection. But for me what Sully adds to the story is so important and Kano embodies that perfectly. I have to give him a 9.4/10 for his performance alone.
The icing on the cake for the season was the way they ended. They left avenues for many different story lines to unfold in the future of the show which, I believe, there will be. One thing that can be improved on is some of the dialogue of the less important characters. At times it came across as a bit ‘cheesy’ and unnecessary. Though it may have been for comedic effect it did not always work.
If I had to rate this season of Top Boy objectively, I would give it an 8.4 out of 10. Not only did they touch on so many social, economic and health issues, they developed those issues alongside the characters and the story. They kept the same essence of the original seasons whilst providing us with something new. The show stayed raw and authentic and did not glamorise the drug life nor tried to blow it too far out of proportion. They showed us what was real. The realness of the people affected by this life and the things born of necessity and on the flip side wants. Whilst I acknowledge they did dramatise at times, but this is what they are supposed to do after all it is TV. This was a solid project and I for one cannot wait for the next season.
Written by ‘80’ (Twitter:80ThaPhilosopha).