5 reasons Perpetual Grace is your next binge-watch

Ben Kingsley channelling Leonard Cohen? A series that seems like it could be by the Coen Brothers? Sign us up!

In Perpetual Grace Ltd, a divine plan goes to hell when a young grifter, James (Jimmi Simpson from Westworld), is caught up in a scheme to swindle Pastor Byron Brown (Ben Kingsley) out of his ill-gotten millions. But though the pastor and his wife Lillian (Jacki Weaver) – known to their parishioners as Pa and Ma – look like an easy mark, they turn out to be far more dangerous than James suspects.

Part bleak, twisted crime caper (gone oh so very wrong) and part black comedy, this 10-episode modern noir is now streaming on Showmax. Here are five reasons to add it to your binge list:

1. Ben Kingsley sings When Doves Cry

As Pastor Byron Brown, aka Pa, aka “the pale horse of death”, Kingsley is already The Hollywood Reporter’s “odds-on favourite to win the Emmy for best actor in 2020.” In his best TV role yet, Kingsley even sings, channelling Leonard Cohen in a cover of Prince's When Doves Cry.

2. Everyone’s looking for grace, but not everybody gets it

James (Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson from Westword) plays a guilt-ridden former firefighter, whose misguided efforts to course-correct go horribly wrong.

It’s a situation we can probably all relate to, Simpson proposes, because, “We’re all one bad, thoughtless decision away from being a piece of sh*t. And then we’re all a thousand thoughtful, good decisions to becoming a good human again.”

But it’s the sort of show where happy endings aren’t guaranteed. “Everyone’s looking for grace, but grace is limited,” says writer and co-creator Bruce Terris. “There’s only so much grace to go around. Not everybody gets it.”

3. The script is shockingly original

The series is written and co-created by Steve Conrad (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Wonder) and Bruce Terris – the team that made the critically acclaimed Patriot.

Kingsley says the script was a key hook for him. “This is not a copy of a copy of a copy. Everything is shockingly original.”

“There’s an element of fearlessness in the writing,” he adds. “In the words that are put into Pa’s mouth, there are very few concessions to the niceties of boundaries. That makes the language Pa uses, in fact, that everybody uses, from the gut.”

Similarly, the dialogue was the first thing that attracted Jacki Weaver to the part of Ma. “It’s the kind of dialogue that you mustn’t paraphrase, because every tiny little word matters. Growing up in the theater, where you had to treat the text as, you know, biblical almost, it’s lovely to get a television script that is so beautifully written,” she says.

4. It makes New Mexico look gorgeous

Emmy-nominated cinematographer James Whitaker directs four episodes, with Conrad directing the other six. They’ve put together a show that’s seriously easy on the eye.

“New Mexico is so gorgeous,” says Simpson. “I’ve never really been to such a beautiful place. For this show, it’s an essential element. And it does go so well with this story because the pace and the patience of letting a story unfold is very Old West. There’s that slow walk to each other as you’re about to kill each other. It looks terrifying, but oh, it’s beautiful. That’s this show.”

5. Critics love it

Perpetual Grace Ltd has a 92% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Entertainment Weekly calls the series “A funny, freaky crime tale that's also a gutter-poetic western,” while The Washington Post praises its “neo-noir characters who act and speak as if they belong in a never-made Coen brothers film.”

Binge-watch Perpetual Grace Ltd on Showmax

How to get Showmax

Did you know that if you’re a DStv subscriber, you pay even less (or nothing at all!) for Showmax? DStv Premium subscribers get Showmax for free while DStv Compact and Compact Plus subscribers only pay R49 for Showmax.

  1. Go to Showmax.com
  2. Create a Showmax account with your email address.
  3. Create a password.
  4. Choose "DStv add to account" as your payment method.