So far 2017 has been an excellent year for British drama series, from the long-awaited return of Sherlock to the premier of a new and exciting historical series “Taboo” that aired on the FX Network January 10th. “Taboo” captures 1800s London is all its Dickensian bleakness–from slaughtered fowl being briskly plucked on the sidewalk to men stepping behind Public Houses to pee near the cooking pots. It’s a brilliantly raw story of greed and secrets, some so shocking that they really do the title justice.
Featuring a stellar cast and authentic historical references, “Taboo” is a complex journey into human nature and one man’s fight to get what’s his after being presumed dead for years. Anyone who has seen the trailer knows there will be some mystery, action and lots of sexual tension; however, there are 7 things you may know already know about Tom Hardy’s “Taboo”.
1. The Show’s Creators
The show is commonly called “Tom Hardy’s Taboo”; however, the show’s creators include acclaimed screenwriter and director Steven Knight, and writer, Edward “Chips” Hardy, who happens to be Tom’s dad. Tom went through bouts of heavy drinking and drug abuse as a youth, but apparently, father and son have worked out any differences. His parents were influential in helping Tom battle his real life problems so he could go on to a successful career in first modeling and then acting.
2. Who’s that Brown Eyed Lady?
Actress Ooona Chapman, who plays the character James Delaney’s half-sister Zilpha has deep dark eyes that exquisitely express the untold longings central to Taboo’s plotline. Ooona is the daughter of actress Geraldine Chaplin who starred with Omar Sharif in “Dr. Zhivago”, as well as the granddaughter of silent film star Charlie Chaplin. She is named after the silent film star’s fourth wife, Oona O’Neill, daughter of playwright Eugene O’ Neill. Oona has appeared on “Game of Thrones” and also an episode of “Sherlock”, playing one of John Watson’s unfortunate girlfriends.
3. More than One “Taboo”
James Delaney is a man haunted by many secrets and committed atrocities worldwide to the indigenous people he exploited and enslaved. As much as he wants to brush these ghosts aside as he seeks revenge for his father’s death, they haunt him at the most inopportune times. Slavery was not yet abolished in England in 1814, and the East India Trading Company, founded two hundred years prior by Queen Elizabeth I, was busy exploiting natives worldwide as part of England’s so-called “divine” destiny.
4. Invasion of the Body Snatchers
In the 18th century, it really was the custom to give that extra two shillings to the gravediggers to get your family member buried a few extra feet down. Cadavers, particularly fresh ones, fetched a hefty price for medical research and other nefarious purposes. Taboo graphically nails this fact about coffin theft, showing a man who was buried in one scene literally in the hands of a scientist a short time later.
5. Taboo’s Historical Authenticity
Did men really go urinate of taverns right near where the food was cooking? “Taboo” is right about this, as it was the common custom to just go out back and unzip as there were no public restrooms for most public houses back then. “Taboo” characters are also shown eating with their hands and taking the pennies off of a dead man’s eyes. Taboo doesn'[t hide from the stark realities of Georgian London.
6. Taboo is Earning Its Share of Critical Outrage
Not since HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Six Feet Under” has a story about death had such incestuous overtones. Many critics are not pleased about the relationship between two of the main characters. The sizzling chemistry between Tom Hardy and his on-screen half- sister Ooma Chaplain is making them quite uncomfortable. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons the show is called “Taboo. Centuries ago, no one even talked about incest, as it was the ultimate taboo. First cousins marrying was acceptable in the early 1800s but brother and sister trysts were forbidden–unless you were Lord Byron.
7. Nootka Sound is a Real Place
During the War of 1812, there really were Native American Territories on the chess board of war between the US and other lands. By 1814 peace talks had begun. Nootka sound exists on the Canadian/American border but that land dispute had been settled a few decades before the time period in which “Taboo” is set.
Taboo Series Premiere: Shovels and Keys
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