Taboo

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Taboo TV Poster Image
Dark, violent period drama explores a mysterious history.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Murder, vengeance, the slave trade, death, family are all addressed. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Delaney is flawed, difficult, but has a moral code (of sorts). 

Violence

Bloody stabbings, shootings, drownings, flesh-eating dogs; gruesome images of the dead. 

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo, partial nudity; inappropriate relationships, prostitution.

Language

"Hell," "s--t," "f--k."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking (brandy, ale), tobacco smoking. Arsenic used to poison.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Taboo is a British period drama intended for mature audiences. Topics addressed range from murder and vengeance to inappropriate sexual relationships. It's peppered with lots of violent moments (bloody stabbings, drownings) and gruesome images of the dead, as well as partial nudity and swearing (including "s--t" and "f--k"). Drinking and smoking are also visible. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythetrueparentreview January 29, 2017

It's great but not for kids.

Fantastic show. No way kids should watch it though as it's very brutal and has lots of sexual content in it. Violence is very graphic for example tom hardy... Continue reading
Parent of a 1 and 7 year old Written byPippa K. March 11, 2017

Tom hardy amazing

Taboo super - but sometimes I felt I'd wasted 8 hours of me life- only made better by Stuart stranges "fuck off" & " I have a use fo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byReviewer444 April 3, 2017

Dark, violent but intriguing series

Taboo has a lot of graphic violence and the content is quite dark and can be confusing. Strong language is used throughout (f---, sh--) but a great thriller.
Teen, 14 years old Written byThe Flying Orange March 20, 2017

What's so taboo about Taboo?

It ranges from just fine to really good. At times it can have really interesting moments, and at times it can be slower and boring. The acting is really good... Continue reading

What's the story?

TABOO is a British series starring Tom Hardy as adventurer James Keziah Delaney, protecting his father’s mysterious legacy while avenging his death. It’s 1814, and after a ten year stint in Africa, Delany returns to London and decides to keep the mysterious parcel of land known as Nootka Sound on the west side of North America that his father left him with plans to build his own trade and shipping empire. However, he knows that Sir Stuart Strange (Jonathan Pryce), the powerful Chairman of the East India Company, will stop at nothing to keep him from succeeding. Also complicating his situation is the war between England and America, his complex relationship with his half-sister Zilpha Geary (Oona Chaplin), and his own haunted past. As he navigates the brutal underworld of the trading business with the help of Brace (David Hayman), his father's loyal servant, Delaney remains driven by the need to punish those who wronged his family and face the darkness of his own demons. 

Is it any good?

This entertainingly dark and intense period drama, based on a story written by Tom Hardy and his father, creates a mysterious world filled with complex narratives and deeply flawed characters. It starts a bit slow, but soon gains momentum as the tale unfolds. Meanwhile, James Delaney is as complicated as he is coarse, making the grittiness of his journey both harsh and compelling. 

Despite some controversy surrounding the series' depiction of the East India Company and its activities during that time period, the story is ultimately a unique work of fiction steeped in British history, primitive folklore, and the supernatural. The interpretation of the ruthless trade industry of the era on both sides of the Atlantic also makes it a fascinating watch. For those who like mature, edgy period pieces with substance,Taboo decidedly delivers. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about period dramas like Taboo. How do actual historic events influence these kinds of stories?. It is appropriate to change historic details for the sake of entertainment? What are the risks with doing this? 

  • Why is the series called Taboo? Is the show intended to make a statement about historic events, or is it simply intended to be a work of fiction? 

TV details

For kids who love dark drama

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate