It says nearly all you need to know about Taboo that it’s impossible to guess from the pilot episode exactly what the title of FX’s menacing, macabre new drama refers. Incest? Miscegenation? Grave-robbing? Cannibalism? Murder? There are hints of all these and more in this eerie creepout of a show.
A joint production of FX and the BBC, Taboo offers the same mixture of the baroque, the sinister and the seamy 19th-century streets of London as another recent British-American project, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful.
But unlike Penny Dreadful, which made its intentions explicit immediately (there are only so many directions a show can take with characters named Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and Lawrence Talbot. Taboo is vague about the precise nature of its malefic designs. Television critic Glenn Garvin examines the Tom Hardy vehicle, along with the dismal Emerald City.