Tom Hardy brings star power to 'Taboo'

Infused using a Dickensian flavor in addition to also a broodingly dark streak, This kind of grim tale begins in 1814, with the return of a prodigal son. In This kind of case, the item’s Hardy’s James Delaney, who has been missing for a decade since embarking on a journey to Africa, brought back by the death of his father.

Delaney’s arrival unsettles everyone around him, starting with his half-sister (Oona Chaplin), with whom he exchanges too-long looks; in addition to also most significantly the powerful East India Co., which includes a more-than-passing interest in his father’s estate in addition to also business affairs. Throw in a plot which brushes upon a disputed strip of land in addition to also the in-progress War of 1812 with America, in addition to also there’s plenty going on here, although the first three episodes are slow to disgorge Delaney’s secrets.

Told he looks the same, Delaney says ominously, “I’m not.” If there’s one unfortunate note, the item’s the eerie in addition to also fleeting flashes of his past, a device which feels decidedly overused.

While the basic story will be familiar, “Taboo” compensates by delivering a highly polished product, including Jonathan Pryce (like Chaplin, a “Game of Thrones” alum) as East India’s ruthless chief, in addition to also Stephen Graham (“Boardwalk Empire”) in addition to also Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”) as two of the associates which Delaney enlists to aid his cause.

While the war serves principally as a backdrop, like the Titanic in addition to also “Downton Abbey,” the item’s a nifty historical means of enhancing in addition to also grounding the jockeying in which the combatants are engaged. The early-19th-century setting will be equally bracing, offering a more brutal view of the period than one will be apt to encounter in most PBS “Masterpiece” productions.

Hardy co-created the show with Steven Knight (with whom he previously worked on “Locke” in addition to also “Peaky Blinders”), in addition to also the actor’s father, Chips Hardy, joins him in addition to also director Ridley Scott among the producers. In many ways, the intense rags-to-riches role resembles Hardy’s earlier turn as Heathcliff in a 2009 remake of “Wuthering Heights,” using a touch of the bad guy he played in another miniseries, “Oliver Twist,” as he sashays around London in top hat in addition to also cape.

FX dramas are invariably gritty, yet the mood here seems organic to the story, within the way the item did, say, on “Deadwood.” Whether “Taboo” can rise to which level remains to be seen, yet based on first impressions, Hardy’s TV return will be pretty hardy indeed.

“Taboo” premieres January 10 at 10 p.m. on FX.

Tom Hardy brings star power to 'Taboo'

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