The English Game Review
by M. Handcock
**** 4 Stars
‘In a story about football, I did not expect to see representation of the problems that accompany fatherhood, miscarriage, factory work, and guilt, in a football-based period drama.’
Directors: Birgitte Stærmose and Tim Fywell.
Starring: Edward Holcroft, Kevin Guthrie and Charlotte Hope
Synopsis: A Netflix original series following the true story of the origins of the FA cup and the first football feud – the Old Etonians Vs. Darwen FC. In order to establish what would soon become the world’s most popular sport, Darwen FC (a team composed of poor mill-workers from Lancashire) must pioneer their way across the vast wealth divide of the late 1800s and prove their worth.
I’m not interested in football – it’s not my cup of tea – never in a million years would I choose to watch anything that revolves around the topic. So when I read the Netflix caption of this series, I sighed inwardly, but pressed play none the less, sat down with a slice of cake, and looked upon the TV screen.
From the very start of the episode, the stories of different characters branched off in all sorts of directions, immediately bringing depth to the story. The main narrative was very easy to follow, but the underlying trials and tribulations each character faced were implemented periodically throughout the 45 minute episode – in a story about football, I did not expect to see representation of the problems that accompany fatherhood, miscarriage, factory work, and guilt, in a football-based period drama. This added so much more to the story-line, in my opinion, as I actually became quite invested in the characters.
My only issue is with the main character, Fergus Suter: he is so flat. As of the first instalment in this series, its figure-head character doesn’t seem at all that interesting – all we know is that he is from Scotland and plays football – the parts involving him usually portray him as angry and controlling over his friend, which leads me to disliking him as a character. I hope he has a redeeming character arc.
Overall, I personally enjoyed the first episode of this series and I am adding it to my 35 item long watch list. I mean, what else is there to do whilst stuck indoors all day?
The English Game is currently available on Netflix and was rated 12 by the BBFC.