Taboo: Series Premiere Review


Credit: BBC

Taboo is the new BBC show from Steven Knight (Eastern Promises, Locke) and Tom Hardy (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) starring the latter. Before the show aired, I did not follow the production much and wanted to get into the show blind without knowing what to expect. Luckily the show delivers. (Beware of minor spoilers ahead).

The series follows James Delaney (Tom Hardy) who comes home to take over of the family business after his father’s death. But everything is not as straightforward as it might’ve seemed. The land that he owns is crucial to both the British Empire and United States who are at war. Also James was presumed dead for more that 10 years and when he comes back people are not happy about it. I won’t go into the plot more in depth because it will ruin the reveal, but I’ll say this much: James’s time away from home was mysterious and filled with rumours. While this series is categorised as a drama, there are a lot of supernatural moments and it is not clear if they are actually happening or only happening in the character’s head. That was one of the biggest surprises for me; before watching the show I was expecting a straightforward period drama and I was happy to have been stunned. The more mysterious parts of the show are what make it stand out in a sea of great drama shows.

The series itself is beautifully shot with great production design. Some of the shots are incredibly beautiful, the lighting in particular blew me away and the cast does a great job of making the viewers feel invested in the series even though only one episode is out. The director Kristoffer Nyholm who directed episode 1-4 does an amazing job of portraying the 1880s.

Tom Hardy does a great job of making his appear sinister but relatable at the same time. Every time he is on screen you can feel how uncomfortable his character is making everyone else around him. I did not expect to like the character this much. Some viewers might not feel that he is particularly likable but I believe this only makes it more intriguing to see what will happen next. The show has an amazing supporting cast including Oona Chaplin, Franka Potente and Jonathan Pryce, to name a few. While they do not get a lot of screen time in the premiere episode they appear believable and every character seems to have their own personal agenda. I am hoping to learn more about the rest of the cast as the series progresses.

The reception has been overwhelmingly positive on the viewers’ side, while the critics seem to be split somewhere between good and great. While the premiere is not perfect, (it has a few scenes that drag out), overall the show is on the right track to become one of the biggest surprises of the last few years.

The series airs on BBC One Saturday nights.

Score 9/10


Airidas Blazukas

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