TV Review: Penny Dreadful


When the trailers for Penny Dreadful began to surface I was intrigued. Although they were not very forthcoming, the thriller seemed like it would be right up my alley. Now that the first season is three episodes in, I thought that I would share some of my thoughts on the new Showtime series.

After the first episode I knew that I wanted to continue watching it. The show stars Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Harry Treadaway, Billie Piper, Timothy Dalton, Reeve Carney, among others, and is set in 19th century London. The large cast is representative of the many story lines within the show.

Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) is an American actor who comes to London as a performer. He plays a sharp shooter in a Western themed show. Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) notices his skills and invites him to accompany her on a quest along with Sir Malcom Murray’s (Timothy Dalton) daughter from the supernatural underworld that she has slipped into. Ives serves as a psychic/medium who acts as a gateway into the supernatural world.

So far we have been introduced to psychics, vampires, and a wolf pack. To my delight there have also been notable characters from literature including Frankenstein’s monster and Dorian Gray.I’m interested in seeing how the characters unfold, especially Dorian Gray as I am a huge fan of Oscar Wilde’s works.

In the second episode of Penny Dreadful things escalated when a seance went from an amusing part trick to terrifyingly real. This scene was both disturbing and enlightening as we got some hints about the whereabouts of Sir Malcom Murray’s daughter. Episode three brought about a glimpse into the troubled past of Dr. Frankenstein and his missteps with the responsibility of being a creator of life.

If you like gothic mysteries and aren’t put off by a little gore then I would suggest giving Penny Dreadful a chance. It’s spooky, thrilling, grim, and chock full of historical/literary nods.

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