‘I like to party. I like, I like to party’ Taboo Eps 1 (TV Review)

The title of this article is a take on the Vengaboy’s song, ‘We Like To Party’. (I bet out of all the thousands of amateur Taboo reviews posted online none of them opened with that!) From what I’ve seen, a lot of them open with, ‘frustrating opening episode to Tom Hardy’s new BBC drama’. I, on the other hand, start with ‘I like to party’… because… I’m being ironic. Taboo is the BBC’s new period drama being shown at 9pm on Saturday nights. I no longer like to party. I like to stay in and watch Taboo

Anyway (I’ve been told to stop using VH as my personal blog and start actually reviewing programmes) ((I’ve also been told to stop using the term, ‘anyway’.)) Anyway, that generic, cloying, lewd, incontinent, high-pitched squeal of nonsense known as the internet, whispering to us ‘Taboo is frustrating’, caught my attention. Because I think it’s a relatively fair assessment. I mean, not a lot happens in the first episode, other than Hardy strutting round 1814 London in a sinister black trench coat looking “Tom-Hardy-crazy” whilst telling all his former associates ‘I have seen the world…and now I am mad!!!!’  Well… he doesn’t say that exactly, but it’s along those lines…

Hardy is James Delaney, son of Mr Delaney, who is dead, and who owns Nookta Sound. An insignificant rock sitting off the West coast of North America, which has suddenly come to everyone’s attention as being the gateway to…China. ‘And who ever owns the gateway to China owns the gateway to the hell of their own souls!’

Not really, but, that’s what the dialogue sounds like when you watch the show. Nookta Sound is a very important island though, and whoever owns it is going to become seriously, seriously wealthy. Hence interest from the East India Trading company ran by the impervious Sir Stuart Strange, played by Jonathan Pryce.

Other conflicts, away from the ultimate bogeyman that is the East India having Hardy in the apple of his big green eyes, include Hardy’s half-sister’s husband wanting Delaney dead and out of his father’s will. And Madam Helga von Hinten, played by Jason Bourne’s former squeeze Franka Potente, who has turned Delaney’s father’s former offices into a whore house. When Delaney serves her notice, she threatens to give him up to men- ‘Not very good men (BEAT) They have rocks for hearts (BEAT) and ropes and knives!’ Delaney kicks the table over at this point, and quite right to old boy. It’s his house and in his house he can do what he bloody well wants! Delaney also has a child brother who is being taken care of by guardian Ibbotson (played by Christopher Fairbank).

The show is visually stunning. The least you’d expect being produced by Ridley Scott. The sets are raw and melancholic, and whilst I do agree, in initial principle (ask anyone who knows me, my principals regularly change. Usually towards the inclinations of the highest bidder), let’s be fair- it is the first episode. The role of the first episode is to set the scene. Which it does brilliantly. Then, the idea is the story develops through the rest of the series. We are not going to get Batman swooping in and taking Hardy on on the steps of some concrete mausoleum just yet. And speaking of Batman, my sick twisted subconscious whirred a couple of old rusty cogs as I watched the show, particularly the part when Delaney is reunited with his faithful butler Brace. Did Batman make an impression on the unimpressionable Mr Hardy? Playing Delaney, the scorned heir to a fortune, returning after seeing the eyes of the devil in some distant foreign shore, and now stalking around the streets of his home town in an outfit coincidentally resembling a long black cape?

Taboo is menacing, exhilarating and mysterious. I fear it can only end in tears and broken china (no pun). But that’s not going to be my final verdict, because Tom Hardy, is hard. And to all those haters out there who piss their lives away through the mysterious blob that hovers over our lives incessantly like an upside-down wart about to burst, we call the internet, let me tell you, Tom Hardy finds people online. Especially those who cross him. He’ll come for you. When you least expect it. Having your morning coffee, or watching your evening television show, or at the printer in the office, or in Pilates, or on the crapper. He will make you take back those wrongs you said about him. The Beeb has been graced with Hollywood stardom. Just sit back, enjoy the show. There is more to come…

One comment

  1. Sure, I’ll make the first comment, all these months later.
    I’m glad to say the squealing masses on the interwebs were intrigued enough to watch the next installment of Taboo, and the 3rd, 4th, and bloody so on. The verdict is clear that this new collaboration between Hardy, Knight and the first class cast and crew is a winner. It still stands on both sides of the Atlantic as the finest new drama of the year.

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