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TV Review: TABOO Episode 1

An excruciatingly self-serious period drama created by and starring Tom Hardy, the BBC/FX co-production Taboo makes one long for the pretentious frivolity of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and their extensive talk of land ownership and transcontinental trade agreements. Much of Taboo‘s first hour is dedicated to debate over such stunningly uninteresting matters, largely featuring Jonathan Pryce- a veteran of the aforementioned Caribbean films, interspersed with scenes of Hardy, in cloak and top hat, roaming the London docklands and mumbling vague observations about corpses.

On a side note, we’ve come to the conclusion that Tom Hardy would make a fascinating Captain Jack Sparrow in a potential Pirates reboot!

The BBC, known of the high quality of their period dramas, should really have tried harder with this effort. Lacking any source material, and springing from the seemingly unremarkable imagination of Hardy and his father, Taboo is merely an amalgamation of various literary works. Hardy’s character, as he has himself admitted, is a hybrid of “Bill Sykes, Sherlock Holmes and Heathcliff”. He is, lacking any enigmatic characteristics beyond Hardy’s natural charisma and screen presence, a mere shadow of those figures.

Hardy, one of the most distinct and terrifying screen actors of our time, should stick to collaborating with great directors like Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Chris Nolan (with whom he reunites for July’s Dunkirk) and spend less time on his own passion projects.

This entry was posted in: TV Reviews


Lucien writes on film, television and politics at and co-hosts the podcasts Above All Else and The 99%.

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