The insanity of London’s Regency era provides the backdrop for the mad, bad and dangerous drama, Taboo.
Co-created by and starring Tom Hardy, the grubby story of James Delaney (Hardy) is slowly picked at over eight hour-long episodes like the scabby chin of a Dickensian street urchin.
Delany returns home after 12 years in Africa following the death of his father. Thought to be dead himself, he faces enemies on all sides trying to bump him off and nab the foreign land of Nookta Sound left to him in his father’s will.
A dim, smoggy mood well and truly capes the series. Cue a solemn Hardy mooching about the capital in black top hat and long coat, drinking till he’s passed out in mud, boffing half-siblings and partaking in the odd bit of voodoo. What happened to him in Africa is a mystery, and it leads to some odd to downright disturbing scenes.
The solid supporting cast, including Tom Hollander, Jonathan Pryce and a brief-but-humorous Mark Gatiss as King George III, puts extra meat on a show that enjoys stripping flesh off (for cannibalistic purposes, no less). But it’s Hardy that comes out on top portraying a haunted man just on the right side of caring what happens to him.
There is a lot more ground that Taboo could’ve covered. The good news, then, is that a second series has just been confirmed.