05 June 2014

Penny Dreadful

A penny dreadful (also called penny horrible, penny awful, penny number, and penny blood) was a type of British fiction publication in the 19th century that usually featured lurid serial stories appearing in parts over a number of weeks, each part costing one (old) penny. The term, however, soon came to encompass a variety of publications that featured cheap sensational fiction, such as story papers and booklet "libraries". The penny dreadfuls were printed on cheap pulp paper and were aimed primarily at working class adolescents.

Ugh, where to begin... Showtime's latest TV show impressed me after the very first episode (4 episodes have been aired so far, I haven't seen the fourth yet), which does not happen very often. I think the last one that did was The Walking Dead back in 2010. No, wait, it was Game of Thrones in 2011. Yeah, these two. And we all know what these two shows are today. If it's any sign for Penny Dreadful - it sure is a great one.

The show is set in late 19th century London and features some of the most famous horror novels mixed into one. Jack the Ripper seems to be on his killing spree again (but it's probably someone or something else) while the world famous explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) is searching for his daughter Mina (Mina Harker of Bram Stoker's Dracula). He is accompanied by his... friend I guess, the dark and mysterious Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and his butler, the silent and obviously deadly Sembene (Danny Sapani). The fellowship is soon expanded by the American gunslinger Ethan Chandler, played by Josh Hartnett. During their quest they are relying on autopsy reports of Dr. Frankenstein himself (Harry Treadaway) while Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) hides in shadows, keeping an eye on everything. I am quite sure not everything is revealed yet, so don't be surprised to see a werewolf or Dr. Jekyll sometime soon. Or even Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

As you can see, the cast is quite strong, probably the strongest I have seen in quite a while (for a TV show). The show itself is dark and mysterious. As for how horrific it is - I am really not the best person to be asked. I can't remember the last time I was scared or afraid of anything else but my wife, so really... don't ask me. There are some scenes that some people could call terrifying, I just find them entertaining at best.

Is this show going to rock your world? No idea, but it looks very promising. So promising it's already been renewed for the second season.

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