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Penny Dreadful Series One Review


I went in to Penny Dreadful really excited. There’s a host of horror classics like Frankenstein, Van Helsing, Vampires, and the dark gas-lit streets of Victorian London; the setting couldn’t be better for a gothic horror! But does Penny Dreadful live up to the hip that it created?

The story is Timothy Dalton’s character, Sir Malcolm Murray, is looking for his missing daughter who was apparently kidnapped by some type of ancient Egyptian Vampire. Dalton needs a group of abled bodied/minded people who are happy to look the devil in the face to save his daughter. So with his gang of horribles go on the hunt to find her and bring her home.

Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) is something of a right hand to Dalton’s. She starts off eerie and interesting but soon you realise she is nothing more than a demon possessed whore, more emphasis on the whore than the possession. Her character is meant to be ‘rich’ and ‘deep’ and ‘tormented’ but she comes across annoying, greedy, selfish, and whorish. Her main aim, it seems, isn’t to help find the missing girl it’s to get off with everyone, including the devil. I mean when we are treated to a scene where a naked Eva Green is furiously humping the air believing she is having sex with Satan one has to wonder what the writers were doing. I reckon there was a contractual obligation to show Eva naked and having sex so many times as possible, hence the reason most of her scenes are her doing just that.

Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) is a gunslinging American who is recruited by Sir Murray. He falls in love with Brona Croft (Billie Piper) a girl with Consumption. Teases with Vanessa Ives a bit, and helps teach Victor Frankenstein how to shoot a gun. He is a bit of an outcast, and when his girlfriend gets upset decides to have sex with Dorian Gray.

Brona Croft (Billie Piper). Her dreadful Irish accent wasn’t worth the penny. What more can be said about her? She was rather redundant and used to fill space when needed, and there’s a lot of space filled in this series.

Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) gosh, his character, I’m not sure why he’s even in this show other than to have sex with every character he can. Surprised he didn’t try getting off with Frankenstein’s monster just for kicks. He tries to be a philosophical voice in the show but it doesn’t play off at all. Get rid of this character!

Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and The Monster (Rory Kinnear) were probably the most interesting characters in the series. Frankenstein has created a new monster that is more at ease, less grotesque, and doesn’t loath the world he was brought in to. When things look bright Frankenstein’s new creation is destroyed and laid waste by his original creation! The battle between the two and the torment the creature brings upon his creator drives the series more than the main plot of everyone seeking the missing girl. The creature is starving for affection and sets out the plan found in Shelley’s original story for Victor to make the monster a bride. Good thing there’s a prostitute dying of Consumption right? Still, by the end of the season there is a dramatic turn between these two characters. These are the two characters that make you come back for more in this dreadful show.

Overall I found Penny Dreadful to a bit too Dreadful for what it’s worth. With more emphasis on sex than anything else the show just didn’t match up to what it was advertised as – a gothic horror. By the end when they finally locate Sir Malcolm’s daughter only to find her partly transformed into a vampire and when she nearly kills Miss Ives, Malcolm shots his daughter in the head. I was left rolling my eyes wondering what the point of the first 7 episodes. The strange relationship between Dalton and Green never played like a Father/Daughter so for it to suddenly jump to that at the end felt somewhat lacklustre and confusing. I’m not sure what season two could offer if they do one, but I’d rather see more proper horrors than overindulgent sex scenes. There’s still plenty of gothic horrors to explore, let’s hope we really see them next time. And can someone please get Eva Green a chastity belt?!


Checkout some of my own Penny Dreadfuls:

Sherlock Holmes Studies in Legacy  is available from all good book stores including in the USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is KindleiPad and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Horror of Frankenstein: A Graphic Novel is available from all good book stories including USA Amazon, in the UK AmazonWaterstones, and for everywhere else Book Depository who offer free worldwide delivery. In ebook format there is kindle, iPad, and Kobo.

Sherlock Holmes & The Case of the Crystal Blue Bottle – A Graphic Novel. Available in paperback and ebook from all good book stores in US & UK, Amazon.com Amazon.co.ukiTunes & iTunes UK and The Book Depository ! Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!

4 responses

  1. “Series”? You’ve gone native, mate. ;)

    July 3, 2014 at 4:56 am

  2. Euuugggghhhh, c’mon get it together TV. “There’s more quality in TV than in films” my butt.

    July 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    • I’d say that applies to a very very small portion of shows. People get confused and think that because they follow the same character for years and years it’s better….that’s not entirely true.

      July 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm

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