Dracula. Frankenstein. Dorian Gray. All characters from literature that everybody knows or has at least heard about. There have been numerous books, tv shows and movies about all of them. Every one of those has put a different twist on the original story. Some of those were good, some of them were downright awful. Penny Dreadful also has it’s own form of telling the classic story, but it also puts all three of those characters together in the same show.
Penny Dreadful follows sir Malcolm Murray, a British explorer, in the desperate search for his lost daughter Mina. He has help in the form of a beautiful, but very mysterious woman called Vanessa Ives. Now miss Ives has a very dark secret, which begins to manifest itself as the story unfolds. In travelling the streets of 19th century Victorian London, they eventually get help from dr. Frankenstein and the American gunslinger, Ethan Chandler. As the search for Mina continues it soon becomes apparent that there is a very dark and evil creature who is responsible for the disappearance of sir Malcolms daughter. However as everyone seems to have secrets of his or her own, it becomes increasingly more doubtful Mina will be rescued. And time is slowly running out……
One thing that is absolutely well worth mentioning about Penny Dreadful is the atmosphere and the eleborate setpieces. The way 19th century England has been recreated, especially on a tv budget, is absolutely breath taking. This series is dark, very dark. It is not for everyone, that is for sure, as the horror and gore in this show is truly sinister. One other thing worthy of note is the acting, which is definitely of a very high class. Timothy Dalton, portraying sir Malcom and Josh Hartnett playing Ethan, both do a fantastic job. And Eva Green as the mysterious miss Ives certainly takes centre stage. The series itself is as I said very dark and at times very slow. It sometimes reminded me a bit of American Horror Story, which also had it’s shares of slow and weird episodes. After seeing eight episodes of it, and concluding this season, I don’t feel a particular rush to continue with season 2. I will eventually, if only for the amazing setting and the superb acting, but also to at least find out what happens next.
Whether or not you are going to like this series is a pretty hard question to answer. I definitely did not dislike it, but for now it certainly doesn’t come close to appearing in my list of alltime favorite tv series. Maybe that will change with the next season, who knows?
As for season 1, I give it a 7 out of 10 score.