Penny Dreadful season 1 on Showtime via Netflix.
Take all your favorite movie monsters (Frankenstein’s Creature, Dracula, Wolf-Man, Dorian Gray) and put them into one TV show. Taking place in early 20th century London, an American sharpshooter is hired to help a British explorer and his creepy daughter-like companion in search of his missing daughter. Add Dr. Victor Frankenstein and some crazy shit happens: vampire hordes, Jack the Ripper style killings, Consumption sex scenes, and a Gothic possession.
Timothy Dalton. I mean come on, he is James Bond. Dude is a certified BAMF. And his character is awesome in this show. His suave calmness and lack of empathy is great. He is not your average hero.
Eva Green & Josh Harnett. I’ll admit, I don’t like either of them all that much elsewhere, but they are really freaking good in this show. Ms. Green as Ms. Ives going full possessed psycho was a thrill to watch. She had a way to fully confuse the viewer if she was herself or possessed, one just never knew. And then Mr. American Harnett was really good too. I liked his character arc and his final secret was done really well (though I knew it was a matter of time before they announced it!)
The eerie time period was a character unto itself. Who doesn’t love Gothic/Victorian style London? If you don’t we can’t be friends. The world felt so life-like that it amazed me. I’m also glad the producers didn’t try to sugarcoat anything. It was a brutal time and this show didn’t hold back.
The best episode by far was the flashback episode of TD and EG characters meeting. It was awesome that EG was writing to TD daughter aka Mina Harker. It evoked the true art that was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which was written in letter format. I loved loved loved that episode.
Also of note was all the nods to the authors themselves. Like above and then many nods to Mary Shelley. Great!
What didn’t work:
Dorian Gray flat out was a let down. And that is down to the actor. I couldn’t stand the guy with all his stupid finger rings and weird emo-like hairstyle. I love the story of Dorian Gray and was interested when the introduced him. But that didn’t work for me.
The finding of Mina Harker (Timothy Dalton’s daughter). There was this whole build-up to finding her and then the finale episode was just a let down. I felt like they should have had 2 more episodes to build up to it. It just sort of fell flat.
Dr. Frankenstein’s constant cryface. Dude seriously had tears in his eyes almost every single scene he was in (when he wasn’t doing morphine). It really detracted from the storyline.
3.5 out of 5
So many good things going for it only to be brought down by subpar characters and the finale. I will continue watching because they set up a really good cliffhanger, but I just hope there is more to it.