Show name: Taboo
Release date: 2017
Genre: Period drama
Starring: Tom Hardy, Oona Chaplin, Jessie Buckley
Created by: Steven Knight, Tom Hardy. Chips Hardy
Studio: BBC One/FX
Length: 1 hour per episode
When I watched Taboo, I appreciated it so much that, as soon as I’d finished it, I watched it over a second time.
Tom Hardy is always good value, and Taboo was the perfect vehicle for his rugged, streetwise guy with a sensitive side.
In a nutshell, Taboo is about the contest between a renegade former East India Company soldier, the company itself and the British Crown to win control of a stretch of land near Vancouver.
Control of the sound means control of the trade in items such as otter pelts and tea. Twist and turn follows twist and turn as each side gets ahead only to get screwed over by one or other of the parties.
Alliances form, only to swiftly break down again.
Hardy’s character has inherited the treaty benefits from his father, but has to contend with the unexpected news that his father had recently married. Perhaps he’s not the beneficiary of the trade treaty after all…
I loved Oona Chaplin in Game of Thrones and was sorry she wasn’t in that show for longer. When she popped up in Taboo as Tom Hardy’s sister I was delighted by her casting.
I’m also a fan of Jesse Buckley, courtesy of War and Peace, so when she played the actress stepmother to Tom Hardy I was thrilled. Buckley is such a versatile actress. I was only sorry that there weren’t more scenes with Buckley and Chaplin together.
Jonathan Pryce is a bonus in any drama. I’ve been such a fan of his since he played Monsieur La Riviere in the film of The Age of Innocence. He also made a fantastic King Leopold of the Belgians in Victoria and Albert. And let’s not forget his recent appearance as Prince Philip in The Crown.
In Taboo, Jonathan Pryce plays the head of the East India Company. He brought so much energy to the cruelty and greed of his character. Plus, I loved the versatility of his swearing. It was frightening to think how much power the company had until the crown had had enough, and he personified that in his character perfectly.
Somehow, Taboo had quite the Dickensian feel to it down by the Thames and the docks, albeit the show is set in Regency times.
I still have hopes for season two, since season one ends on a real cliff hanger with plenty of potential for a further story on the other side of the Atlantic. The main question wasn’t fully resolved, and Taboo leaves quite a firm sense of the story having more to tell.
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