Taboo

Somehow, even a panel discussion of a show set 200 years in the past led to a discussion of timely themes. At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, it’s currently FX day, which means talking about upcoming seasons of Fargo and American Crime Story. It also meant we were treated to a chat with Taboo star Tom Hardy and his co-creator Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders). The limited series is already off to a roaring start, and has long since wrapped production. Knight provided some background on the story, and where we can expect Hardy’s character James Delaney to end up. The series’ writer said American shores are beckoning the British working poor, and that this is a story that’s far from over.

The immigration theme provides more historical than political context for Knight, who notes that, in 1814 (the setting of the show), “America needed people to come, and any ship coming to America would have been full of a disparate group of people, who all have their own reasons wanting to come, but who could all be characterized as individuals for whom that system didn’t work out.” So while Knight admitted that the discussion is technically timely, he thinks “there’s a strange thing that happens in writing, making things. So often, you write something that becomes topical. It does become a topical issue.”

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But Knight also stated that Taboo is unique among British dramas because it examines society through commerce, and not class, touching on the American notion of bootstrapping. It’s easy to see how the story could go beyond James’ own class war, which is something Knight agrees with. The writer-producer tells The A.V. Club that, despite the limited series label, “there will be” a season two. Guess the haberdasher should get ready.