45 thoughts on “Top 5 Reasons I’m Conflicted About Taboo

  1. You have more endurance that I do, I gave up after the first ep. So tired of dark and dirty.

  2. This looks awful. I’m so glad I didn’t watch. You should look into when the meaning of the F word changed to general cursing. Gentleman’s Daughter says in the late eighteenth century it only meant sex. It’s this kind of show I think would be so hard to costume. If the general direction is inaccurate, why get the costumes right? That’s how I feel.

  3. Will have to wait to see it when Netflix releases DVD.
    WTF with the nasal piercing? Didn’t think it was period, except for Indian culture at time. Also not a fan of tattoos.

  4. Oh jeez, what did they do to Georgie!? And I thought he looked a little familiar – at first I thought he was the actor who played Wickham in the 1995 P&P but looked him up and it’s Mark Gatiss!

    And I could barely recognize Tom Hardy at first in these photos, such a pity!

    I’m mildly curious about this one and ….whatever that one that seems to be about the Hudson’s Bay Company is …”Frontier”? because of depictions of early Canada, even if it’s not billed that way. But…..I dunno.

  5. The Regency costumes on the women look pretty good to me – the party scene with the woman cross dressed as Lord Byron in full Turkish regalia was brilliant, and I will admit to a squee at the Regency corset. And I agree about that feathery hat!

    I think Zilpha annoys me because she’s so passive. Everything happens to her. She rarely seems to take action on her own and when you’ve got the other female characters being resourceful and smart it’s painfully obvious that she’s not.

    The mother’s costume in flashback looks less First Nations and more “This is what Etsy puked up when I put ‘black feathery’ in the search bar.”

    I agree about the filth. There was probably grime and definitely poverty, and it’s good to see the Mudlarks and dock workers rather than a bunch of pretty ladies wearing artfully draped white dresses. But I think they’ve overdone it :/

    The plot is tosh, of course. The EIC wasn’t anything like portrayed, the Nootka Sound stuff is beyond silly, and the notion that Tom Hardy’s mother was a First Nations woman isn’t really working for me. But at least it’s entertaining tosh, so far :)

  6. Proof that not all of us here at Frock Flicks are in lockstep with one another: I do not understand the Tom Hardy thing AT ALL.

    He looks like he’s carrying at least seven different types of venerial diseases.

    Also, Kendra, I hate to break it to you, but he’s only 5’9.

  7. I grant you, it’s dark — especially on my TV screen — and it’s dirty, but the story really grabbed me. NOT a time I would care to visit, let alone live in. But the costuming does seem to be right on the mark. Curious to see where it’s going, or whether it even stays, as I think this isn’t going to be everybody’s dish of tea.

  8. I tried the first episode, but apart from the grim gritty grime aesthetic, which I’m more than a bit sick off, the whole awful setup with a white dude playing a mixed race character and the show trying to explore themes of racism with him in the forefront… it’s awfully tone deaf at best. Not even talking about the decade adventuring in an unspecified Africa and having come back with some tribal tattoos and shit… again all portrayed by a white actor. Nah.

  9. Why didn’t they stay with India? The EIC there was actually somewhat villainous. Making their Indian soldiers use weapons, guns, greased with pork & cow fat. Something no religious Hindu or Moslem would use. It was a primary cause of the 1850s Sepoy Mutiny.

    1. Actually, they didn’t. But the rebellion spread gossip that they did to start the mutiny. It just shows that gossip can persist, even 160+ years later!

  10. PS I’m going back to looking at beautiful things – Tiffany Favrile Glass and Jewellery – The Met has an awesome collection.

  11. Usually this thing is right up my street, but I gave up after the first episode for the same reasons as everybody else, unrelenting dark, brooding murk, both physical and emotional. Sometimes I find it can be helpful to watch something like this with the subtitles on and the sound turned off…………..I managed about 5 minutes of the second episode and admitted defeat, and Tom Hardy wasn’t doing it for me on any level.

  12. It’s almost like Tom Hardy drew up a list of “taboo” topics to address in the costume drama, then threw them all into one series — incest, check, cross-dressing, check, gutting someone, check…

    The costumes are fun, but so far the back history is hazy and you’re right, the entire thing is dark. I had to laugh at Mark Gatiss as the prince… far cry from his dignified Mycroft Holmes. Ah well, at least he’s having fun. (Fun fact: this role is currently his profile pic on Twitter apparently, which cracks me up. Guess his ego isn’t bruised at having bad skin! ;)

  13. I’m thinking the excessive dirt and darkness are this decade’s version of past films and series dressing everyone in brown and living in brown environs as if old sepia photos were actually in color.

    And this is why you have to do a feature on Murdoch Mysteries. If nothing else, the series shows turn-of-the-twentieth-century people wearing actual colors and living in colorful surroundings.

    1. I’ll second the Murdoch request. BTW Yannick Bisson is a hunk. I’m definitely team Jilliam. Back to the Tiffany

    2. Unfortunately Murdoch was on FF’s article on shows that have such boring costumes that there is no point in doing a review. :'( It’s my fav tv show but I don’t think we’ll be seeing it here any time soon!

  14. I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but have recorded the rest of them. Dark, dirty, too many tattoos (still don’t like tattoos). And I don’t get Tom Hardy either. He looks like a thug to me, no matter what role he plays. Certainly not attractive in this role. He’s supposedly a gentleman, or knows what a gentleman is, but he’s always dirty and disheveled. Sure doesn’t make a good impression.

    Zilpha is — off, somehow. She creeps me out. But it’s always a treat to see Jonathan Pryce.

    I was offput by the piercings and awful hair. I can’t comment on the costumes yet because I haven’t seen many of them. More after I watch the rest of the episodes.

  15. I wasn’t sure about this one but the septum piercing was the last straw. Franka Potente deserves better.

  16. I don’t think there was anything wonderful about the East India Company. It was based on greed, conquest and yes, even slavery,

    By the way, Franka Potente is portraying another brothel owner?

    Their depiction of the Prince Regent is over-the-top gross.

    I thought he was pretty much a gross kind of guy by the Regency period.

  17. It’s the highlight of my week. We’re watching in the UK, and we don’t have any problem with the darkness. it’s more chiaroscuro, but we can see fine. Maybe they have different TV standards or something, I don’t know.
    The story is brilliant. The EIC was a bit wild, the Empire without any limitations, and Jonathan Pryce is enjoying the hell out of his part. And Nootka Sound is historically important. A crisis occurred there in the 1780s between Britain and Spain, who both claimed sovreignty and the right to claim it. It was strategically vital. There was a treaty trying to settle the matter in 1819, and it had a direct effect on the settling of the border between Canada and the USA. At least this series made me look that bit up!
    This is a roll call of BBC notables. I keep squeeing when someone new turns up. Andrew Scott last week, and Toby Jones as well.
    But I’m a huge fan of Stephen Knight’s other series, “Peaky Blinders,” so I was ready for heightened reality and a lot of violence. I think the women are being treated as women were at that time. I do like that some of them are fighting back. I do wish Zilpha would do a bit more. And all her clothes belong to me. I call dibs

    1. YES!! My sentiments, exactly! The more I watched, the better it became, and the more intertwined the characters…some really brilliant lines. Love Peaky Blinders and Stephen Knight in general. Takes the dark and dirty and makes it enthralling. Or perhaps I’ve got issues? Love it, in any case.

  18. Not my idea of Regency. Clothing is far too dark and late Victorian, albeit cut to Regency styles. And the tattoos.

    Oh well, I put up with Josh Donaldson (AL MVP 2015) guest starring in Vikings in a man bun and tattoos. So my standards are dubious as well, I suppose. But Josh hit over 120 RBI’s in 2015. So there.

  19. I love Tom Hardy but it’s pretty messed up that yet again a white person got a nonwhite part. (He’s supposed to be half native American)

  20. Movies and TV shows are pretend; they’re not real life. If the industry had to cast every actor according to the race or ethnicity of a character, a lot of stories would never have been made. By Kelly’s standards, only a Martian could play a Martian. Personally, I would like to see both Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan played by Asian actors — and done right — but it probably never will happen.

    1. That’s the kind of rhetoric that justifies erasing people like myself.

      It also denies the existence of actors of color, who have a miserable time finding work that isn’t “wise janitor,” “redshirt criminal,” or “oppressed person who’s onscreen for five minutes to give the white protagonist life lessons.” The TV and movie industries won’t spontaneously combust if there’s more PoC casting

      As for movies not being real life, it’s a massive blow to the soul to constantly see white faces on the screen, white people pretending to be PoC, white white white. The message is sends is that people like me have no value, an idea that must be fought tooth and nail.

      1. Not what I said and not what I meant. I think there are enough actors of colour out there to refute your claim. I don’t think Danny Glover, Morgan Freeman and many other employable, bankable actors out there would see it that way. Yes, there has been discrimination in the industry, and it’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was and will, I hope, continue to be so. Television has been better in that regard than feature film. But back to your original point: while there may be many good mixed-race actors out there, I don’t know of any offhand who have the boxoffice draw of Tom Hardy. When I was doing “Royal Hunt of the Sun” in Atlanta, should I not have been allowed to play an Inca because I’m not one?

  21. Although soap had been around for millennia, it was still heavily taxed in 1814 as a luxury item. Delaney would obviously have the means to fit a few bars into his budget, but the masses certainly wouldn’t always have a bar on hand, and certainly not for use after every single pee break.

    After suffering through Comcast’s compression during the pilot, we’ve been watching pristine 1080 rips which do the dark aesthetic justice. It certainly helps to define the subtle differences in color and texture that gets lost in a giant charcoal-blue blob via cable.

    In 1814 George was FAT. I love Hugh Laurie in Blackadder, but Mark Gatiss in that fat suit is far more accurate. George ate and drank himself through his allowances, contributing to all sorts of health problems. If Geroge III did in fact have porphyria and Prince George inherited it, that by itself easily explains his rash-laden skin.

    I love Franka Potente, but her whole everything is too much. She may be a 2-bit madam, but she is still a madam. At least pin up the (fake) hair!

    The one thing that really gripes me is Lorna Bow’s claim to the land. Yes, she could contest the will and get a share of the estate’s money, but she would have had no claim on the land as she is of no blood relation. Upon Delaney’s death, if the land were not bequeathed in Delaney’s will, the land would go to his next of kin. That would be his supersekrit son, then his half-sister. If every other blood relation were dead without bequeathing the land to someone, it would go to the government; Lorna would have to prove she’s a distant cousin (and everybody in between is dead) or suck it up.

  22. I can’t watch it because of the F bombs. It’s not the word itself that offends me, but the anachronism. Fuck was not used in that way until after the 20th century world wars.

  23. Not my favorite show ever, BUT an action-y show set in a historical time period is about the only time my husband and I find something we both want to watch on tv… so I’m game haha. I think it’s all a bit cliched and over the top, like, oh right, there goes another main character who is the only person who sees that slavery is bad, blah blah blah… but oh well! I’m glad husband will watch with me, and I love seeing another angle (re: the docks, etc) on historical time periods.

    I love how period shows/movies can transport you to another time, and I’d argue this does a decent job of it.

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