‘Small Axe Is Steve McQueen’s Game-Changing Anthology.

In any year, Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” would be a historic achievement. But in 2020, amid a worldwide reckoning on racial injustice while a pandemic has wreaked havoc on the entertainment industry — blurring the lines between film and TV — this five-part series is an auspicious game-changer.

Shining a light on little-known tales of Black pride and heroism from the U.K.’s Windrush generation, each instalment is set between the late ’60s and early ’80s and features people from the Black diaspora speaking in their own dialects and revelling in their culture. For that alone, “Small Axe” is special, but the themes in each of the interlinked stories still resonate powerfully today.

With the final chapter debuting on the BBC on Sunday, the time has come to rank the series as a whole — a considerable challenge when you consider that while satisfaction may have varied over the films, there isn’t a weak instalment to be found.

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