Top Boy S5 review: Netflix revival goes out on a high note

Sully (Kane Robinson) and Dushane (Ashley Walters) in Top Boy Season 3 (Netflix)
Sully (Kane Robinson) and Dushane (Ashley Walters) in Top Boy Season 3 (Netflix)
  • 📺 Where to watch Top Boy Season 3: Netflix from 7 September

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 5/5

  • 🍿 Watch it if you liked: Utopia, Attack the Block, Layer Cake 

  • 🎭 Who's in it?: Ashley Walters, Kane Robinson, Jasmine Jobson, Barry Keoghan, Brian Gleeson, Simbiatu Ajikawo and Savanah Graham

  • How long is it? 6 x 60 minute episodes

  • 📖 What’s it about? Two London drug dealers ply their lucrative trade at a public housing estate in East London.

After more than a decade causing council estate chaos across multiple mediums, Top Boy rocks up with this colossal closer, fronted by Dushane (Ashley Walters) and Sully (Kano).

Landing with a dramatic agenda on Channel 4 in 2011, this seismic shock to the system was created by Ronan Bennett and ran for two seasons, before migrating to Netflix in 2019 after a six-year hiatus.

Spearheaded by the Grammy award-winning rapper Drake, Top Boy experienced a rebirth, which saw this BAFTA-winning series reach new heights in its new home for another double run.

Top Boy S3. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023
Ashley Walters in Top Boy S3 (Netflix)

The momentum shows no signs of slowing down in this fifth and final season, as Sully is blindsided by a brutal takeover bid, Lauryn (Saffron Hocking) struggles to reconcile her guilt over Curtis (Howard Charles) and no one is giving up the identity of Jamie’s (Michael Ward) killer.

From the uncensored social commentary on immigration policy, through to that conflicting yet complimentary chemistry between Ashley Walters and Kane Robinson, this third season delivers on every level, making good on the complexities which underpin their conflicting relationship that ultimately makes them inseparable.

Watch a trailer for Top Boy S3

With the BAFTA-nominated Jasmine Jobson (Jaq) also firing on all cylinders, opposite an equally impressive ensemble featuring Simbiatu Ajikawo (Shelley) and a fresh-faced Savanah Graham (Erin), Top Boy maintains its reputation for delivering peerless entertainment. The final season offers closure for fans who've been with it since the beginning, and making others regret they waited so long to check it out.

As ever, what continues to hit hardest on screen are the emotions which come through and that sense of community which holds these people together. They might deal drugs, administer their own brand of justice and never back down in a fight, but audiences continue connecting because each one of them has heart. Every moment on screen feels authentic, every syllable feels organic and the intensity of each performance is astounding.

Barry Keoghan in Top Boy S3. (Netflix)
Barry Keoghan in Top Boy S3. (Netflix)

That this final season also includes the Oscar-nominated Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin) alongside Brian Gleeson in pivotal roles, continues to raise the bar across the board as Top Boy scales new heights. It's a feat which feels almost impossible under the circumstances, as it represents an almost flawless run of relatable drama over more than ten years.

What other critics thought of Top Boy

As audiences get drawn into the dangerous dilemmas that make up this world for one last time, fans will already be contemplating that closing moment.

After more than a decade of being in their company, some people will be reluctant to leave, choosing instead to relive this slice of East London drama and revel in its rediscovery once again.

Top Boy Season 3 will premiere on Netflix from 7 September.