Taboo - FX mini-series with Tom Hardy


Well... somehow this hasn't been on my radar until now. Definitely dig the look and the cast.

Set in 1814, Taboo follows James Keziah Delaney, a man who has been to the ends of the earth and comes back irrevocably changed. Believed to be long dead, he returns home to London from Africa to inherit what is left of his father's shipping empire and rebuild a life for himself. But his father's legacy is a poisoned chalice, and with enemies lurking in every dark corner, James must navigate increasingly complex territories to avoid his own death sentence. Encircled by conspiracy, murder, and betrayal, a dark family mystery unfolds in a combustible tale of love and treachery.


Well, Tom Hardy is awesome and FX is the network of The Shield, Justified and Fargo (and that’s just getting started). So sure, I’m in.


So the first episode came out in Europe this weekend. Did anyone else watch it?

I watched it without having heard of it beforehand, so I had no idea what I was going to get, and found myself quite enjoying it. Tom Hardy is so good in his quiet yet intense way. I’m in for the rest of it, for sure. As I understand it, it’s listed as a mini series, so we should expect only one season?


FX has just been advertising it as a new series. I think it starts this week here in the US.

I have to wonder how much money Fox had to throw at him for this–he seems to have been doing quite well in the movies, so getting him to commit to a TV series, even if it is a mini-series, must have cost quite a bit.


As I understood it, it’s Tom Hardy’s project. Or at least, he’s been heavily involved with pitching it.


Premiers tomorrow night (Tuesday, Jan 10th) on FX and I am psyched. I like Tom Hardy and I like historical period set shows and I like shows with dark/occult/fantasy themes and this looks like it pushes ALL of the buttons.


Anyone else see this yet. It was a slow starting pilot introducing several characters and threads…but hopefully those will now get developed more. I wasn’t bored - but nothing really happened IMHO.

Number of commercial breaks was painful, as always with these things.


No commercial breaks on HBO Nordic, but I can relate to that detracting enormously from the show. Its kinda like when people just keep glancing at their phone during a show or movie . you don’t ever get in the groove with it, and it will always fall flat.

The show is extremely interesting, and contains some of the most evocative locales and scenery I’ve seen in a long time. On top of that, it has such excellent dialogue at times, that I am giddy with glee.

Tom Hardy of course steals the show, and the underlying menace in everything that is going on makes the show tense, interesting, and forbidding. (-“What consequenses?” And the man wisely declined to further comment!)

I for one can’t wait until Saturday, where episode two is aired!


Yeah, it’s marvelously atmospheric and Hardy is wonderful, but the criticism that nothing much actually happens in the first episode is fair, I think. It didn’t bother me too much.


I will admit I did find the dialogue clever at times. Definitely will tune in again. HBO Nordic, eh? Will check that out.


I’m already a bit lost and I still feel like most of what I know of what is going on I read from the series description.

Tom Hardy’s character returns to England just in time for his father’s funeral which in and of itself draws suspicion let alone that everyone assumed he’d died off the coast of Africa 10 years ago. He makes claims like he heard when his father (in his madness) was talking to him toward the end of his life. Idle boasts meant to keep people fearful and guessing? He is doing some strange things too at the funeral… muttering, gestures. He appears to see things or maybe just be troubled by a dark past. His own madness?

He and his sister (Rob Stark’s bride!) have had an uncommonly close relationship in the past? Is this our ‘Taboo’? More on her husband and his dealings in the spoiler section below.

[spoiler]The East India Company folks I am having the most trouble with both in terms of motive and geography. So the EIC have a dossier on Hardy and are discussing how they can best play him into their hands. The sum of the old man’s inheritance is a piece of land in the Americas. When they call him in to make their offer we learn the land is… Vancouver Island? I did a little research and the NW coast out thataway would be considered part of the Louisiana Purchase I think. And I think the EIC themselves are saying it’s a bit up in the air where England/Canada are going to draw the line which will extend the 49th parallel. But it seems a stretch that by virtue of ownership of some piece of land that now Tom Hardy will decide the fate of all Vancouver Island.

A bit on the sister’s husband then that I think I picked up; wanted to see if anyone else did. Clearly with Tom Hardy 10 years gone they assumed they would inherit the old man’s interest which appear to be a warehouse on the docks and this title of land on the other side of the world. Tom Hardy goes to check out the condition of the warehouse and finds it’s being used by a madam as a brothel/opium den? She is willing to cut him 50% if he will allow her to continue but he wants her out now. She makes a veiled threat and he responds very specifically. Something to the effect that ‘it won’t matter if you send twelve men to get me they’ll all end up dead’. Later the husband is heard to say to his wife, Hardy’s sister, that he has a dozen men he can send to kill Hardy. Was I hearing this wrong, misinterpreting, or is this another allusion to how Hardy’s character seems to know much more than he should?[/spoiler]


[spoiler]The time period is 1812 ish. I seem to recall it was said the father bought the land from an Indian Nation with beads 30 years prior, so I would assume this is how he still legally owns the land.

Look closer at all of the characters introduced for clues about the sister. There are some subtle hints there.

And I suspect Hardy’s char was more successful in Africa than any of the East India guys understand.[/spoiler]


I enjoyed the premiere episode. Gritty, dark and plenty of stuff that made you wonder what was really going on. Obviously the characters will become more substantial over time, but I think they did a good job of introducing the major players, setting up some tension and generally letting the audience know what is going on in the immediate sense while also hinting at deeper, darker purposes for lots of stuff.

[spoiler]It’s obvious that the child being cared for by the miller and his wife is the son of Tom Hardy and his half sister. That’s likely the literal reference to the show’s title, though there seems to be multiple Taboo things happening with Hardy’s character. In any event, it seems before he disappeared in Africa he was having a relationship with his half sister, one which may not be quite over just yet.

Apparently he was on EIC business when his slaver ship went down off the African coast. What happened after that is a mystery, but it seems he acquired both a decent sum of money and some occult knowledge during his 8 years being presumed dead. Perhaps some of the knowledge he already possessed, as there are multiple hints that both his Indian mother and English father were known to have some unsavory practices. As for the land in the America’s, it makes for an interesting foil for the EIC, who likely poisoned the father (or perhaps it was the brother-in-law) to get at it. The land also seems to be significant to both Hardy’s character and the father, perhaps because of the connection to his mother and/or some mystical properties of said land. [/spoiler]


Well, those of you who felt that nothing happened in episode one, are probably not going to like episode two either.
Its mostly world building, and adding new characters to the fray.

It was certainly weaker than the first episode, and at times reminded me of the British Dickens movies where it looks more like theater than a movie.

Besides that, I still really enjoy the show, and its not something where I am ever bored or close to looking at something else. It has my full attention.

Regarding someone earlier asking how far they took the supernatural angle, I really doubt there is any in the show, other than playing on the people of the times superstitions.


We’ll see, it shows up on FX tonight I believe.

I did watch the first half again and one thing I did not recognize is the first shot is Delany buries something small just outside of London before he comes to the funeral. It does not look like money…


I sort of like the ‘slow burn’ feel they have going early on. Lots of good tension, we are all looking hard for clues about who is playing who and what the end game might be. Above all, great atmosphere.


The second episode was a better watch, and the commercial breaks were separated much better.


Agreed, second episode set things up much more solidly. The additional characters introduced helped bring events into sharper focus and provide some much-needed background.

[spoiler]It’s obvious now that the brother-in-law was behind the murder of the father. Delaney looked to have everything in hand and working nicely between his purchase of the ship, his payment of his father’s debts, the destruction of the sloop belonging to the assassin and the addition of a couple of new allies to his cause, tattoo head guy and the madam’s daughter. Then the actress shows up and puts the brakes on everything. Also, still no original deerskin contract for the land, so that could prove troublesome as well.

It didn’t take long to find out what he buried…diamonds. That explains at least a small part of what he’s been up to on the African coast for 8 years. It also appears that at some point he got in tight with some American agents, as he seemed to know (outdated) code phrases and who to seek out in London as a contact. The scenes in the purchased ship were odd, to say the least. It was like he was cleansing the former slave ship. I suspect between that and the flashbacks that a big part of his Africa story will be about trying to save slaves from the sinking ship and his guilt/acceptance of things he’d done prior to that point in time. [/spoiler]


I loved the line Did you really eat flesh?


Slaves. Ep2.

[spoiler]I think he wasn’t trying to save them, but he feels guilt that they died. He had that exchange with a ghost slave, something about “Don’t look at me! Wasn’t me who got you drowned. Well, not me alone. Anyway, everyone is doing it.”

Ship sunk, probably they let all the slaves go down with the ship. He survives somehow. There’s an African that approaches him with a spear. He was weak. He probably saved him (well obviously, our protagonist is still alive).