I could write a long review of this show and swoon about the grittiness and the vibe and the tone but I’m not going to. I don’t need to. Instead I’m going to list the elements of the show and you can take one look at it and decide if Taboo is for you. You’ll probably know right away.
(Sold yet? No? Okay we’ll keep going!)
It’s set in 1814.
It takes place in London.
The plot is that one man is going to take on the English Crown.
He’s also going to go head to head with the mighty East India Company.
There’s bad teeth.
And period-appropriate filth.
A father dies and leaves his shipping company to his son.
There’s will & inheritance stuff.
But, lo! The son is presumed dead at sea.
(Except he’s not.)
The son is a man named James Keziah Delaney.
He’s played by Tom Hardy.
There are Vandykes.
And street gangs.
Delaney’s mother is Native American.
He himself speaks the dialect of her tribe, and also several African languages.
And he inherited her ability of premonition.
And war paint.
And curved daggers.
There’s a bad guy, who runs the East India Company, played by the great Jonathan Pryce.
There’s a cannibal.
And a naval blockade.
And full-body touchless orgasms.
There are frenemies.
There are body-snatching gravediggers.
And cholera outbreaks.
And ship auctions.
There’s burlesque shows.
And Malay assassins.
And group sex.
And black magic.
And negotiations for fur and tea.
There are slave ships.
And cross dressers.
And a former slave who is now a barrister.
There’s a secret gunpowder factory.
And a war.
And organized crime.
And stuffy British prigs.
And Thomas Jefferson.
And trade routes.
And a legal battle over a piece of treasured land.
Oh, and yeah. There’s Tom Hollander.
And Oona Chaplin of Red Wedding fame.
And it’s cast by Nina Gold.
And was created by Hardy and Steven Knight.
And set up at Ridley Scott’s production company.
So yeah, that’s the list. By now you should be completely sold, one way or the other, but in case you’re not: here’s the trailer.
FX’s Taboo. You can thank me later.