Review: New British television show 'Taboo'

Tom Hardy in his latest show "Taboo" which he both wrote and stars in. (photo courtesy of FX)

Tom Hardy’s latest endeavor on the screen is the gritty British television show “Taboo” which Hardy wrote and stars in.

Hardy’s character, James Delaney, returns to 19th century London, after spending more than a decade in Africa, to piece together his inheritance from his crazy father and uncover his most valuable belonging.

Hardy’s character is constantly searching for the contract giving his father permission to a piece of land in North America, which is desired by both the new country of America and the old empire of Great Britain, placing him in a tight and dangerous position.

In the meantime he uses diamonds from his African past to pay for his loyal servant, a ship and begin a shipping company.

The British perspective on the American Revolution is pretty interesting, since we are used to more positive and liberating spins on the succession.

Initially the accents of the mumbling British men and the foreign jargon of the shipping and trade schemes is off-putting but the deeper into Hardy’s world you get, the more you want to know. The words become easier to decode and even ignore.

Even so, Delaney seems to have some good values buried under his somewhat terrifying strength and large intimidating tattoos he gained on the dark continent of Africa.

Beneath Hardy’s typical muscular, anti-hero exterior are many secrets including a Native American mother, possible voodoo connections and nightmares of a woman with a painted face.

The FX show draws on the popular creepy vibes that are recently successful for “American Horror Story,” “Bates Motel” and “Stranger Things.”

Upon arriving in London, he takes the inheritance from his sister, played by Oona Chaplin, who he has a romantic (and taboo) past with, and angers not only her controlling husband but the powerful East India Trading Company.

Jonathan Pryce, a familiar face who also played Game of Throne’s High Sparrow, plays the leader of the company who has no hesitation when ordering Delaney to be followed, killed and upstaged.

At one point Delaney rips an assassin’s throat out with his teeth and sets an entire ship on fire, but the small characters who scheme, help, appear and often disappear through the episodes balance his bold style.

Director Steven Knight, who also created “Peaky Blinders” and worked on the movie “Seventh Son” told Radiotimes.com that “Taboo” is already set to continue for two more seasons.


Francesca Colturi is associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at francesca.colturi@uconn.edu.