FX continues its rising reign of popular original television. The network home to Atlanta, Louie, American Horror Story, The People vs. OJ Simpson is now adding one of 2017’s most anticipated series to its lineup, Taboo.
Executive-produced by Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, The Martian, Alien) + created by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Locke) + starring Tom Hardy (Mad Max, The Dark Knight Rises, The Revenant) + based on a story by Tom’s dad, Chips Hardy = sign me the fuck up.
Let us get this out of the way straight off the top, I ride for Tom Hardy. There aren’t many movie stars/actors that I’ll watch regardless of if I’m into the subject matter or not, but he is one of them and luckily for me (and us), his latest endeavor, Taboo, looks amazing.
Taboo debuts in the States on FX at 10:00 EST on Tuesday Night after it premiered in the U.K. on BBC One on Saturday night.
The eight-episode series follows James Keziah Delaney (Hardy) as he returns to London from Africa in 1814 after he receives news of his fathers passing.
Hardy slips into a familiar character structure as Delaney who is described as a “a snarling 19th-century adventurer who returns to London to claim his late father’s inheritance and brings the legacy of England’s imperial sins back with him.”
Hardy has a propensity to gravitate towards multi-layer characters who often have some less than desirable qualities, but their intentions make the audience end up rooting for them when all is said and done (The Drop, Lawless).
With this in mind it is no surprise that a character Hardy himself created, and then let his father imagine a story for, would share these traits.
In a superb interview from 2016 with Matt Zoller Seitz of Vulture, Hardy discussed what draws him to this sort of anti-hero and why he is less interested in the traditional hero:
Things happen to them; they don’t make things happen. There’s a laziness in storytelling whereby you present the character as a blank canvas and then you throw a lot of stimulus at the character and you just follow this blank canvas through various rooms where we meet the actually interesting people. But if you have your protagonist fully faceted in ambiguity and hypocrisy and the paradox of true heinous wrongness, combined with innate nobility, well, that’s more interesting to watch.
Aside from Hardy the cast does include some additional familiar faces. Game of Thrones fans will recognize Johnathon Pryce (The High Sparrow) who plays Sir Stuart Strange, the Chairman of the East India Company as well as Oona Chapman (Talisa Stark, Rob Stark’s wife) who plays Hardy’s half-sister.
In addition to these two there’s a host of other recognizable faces that will leave you with that “I know that guy from somewhere, but I can’t quite place him” feeling throughout the debut episode.
I’ve had a chance to watch the first episode already and it certainly sets the scene while throwing tons of questions and subsequently very few answers and that is the shit I love.
There’s going to be a lot of people all bent out of shape (cough, cough, The Independent) about the pacing and ambiguity, but I assure you it’s worth the watch.
FX just cannot seem to stop winning lately and it’s going to continue with Taboo and with Barstool deciding to make it their next show to discuss it’s bound to pick up a lot of traction in the circles most of us run in:
Don’t say I didn’t give you an adequate heads up when in 4 weeks from now you realize you have 4 hours of binge watching to do to get caught back up on the most talked about new show of 2017.
Also fair warning, probably want to set those DVRs because the episode runs 55 minutes and won’t wrap up until approximately 11:21 EST on Tuesday night.
A review and a breakdown of all the questions and intricacies of the episode will go live as soon as the credits roll tomorrow, so make sure to check back.