If you know me outside the internet, you know how much I’ve been freaking out over Showtime’s new series Penny Dreadful. The show follows Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) as they tread through worlds unknown in search of Murray’s daughter, Mina. Yes, that Mina. They are joined by Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) in their macabre search. Even Dorian Grey (Reeve Carney) shows up for the party, invited or otherwise.
First of all, Victor Frankenstein. The very fact that the show pulls from both Dracula and Frankenstein was enough to interest me in the pilot. I might also have an unholy crush on Treadaway’s Frankenstein. His Creature is also part of this new mythos, and I am pretty delighted with what they’ve shown of his past. Plus, the Monster is NOT refered to as “Frankenstein.” You all know how much that bothers me.
Showtime has done a wonderful job with the production alone. It’s beautifully shot, the colors are saturated and richly dark, the costumes… Oh the costumes. Penny Dreadful weaves the characters together very smoothly. There is, of course, the blood and gore rightfully belonging to the penny dreadfuls of the show’s namesake, but it’s also surprisingly funny, charming, and I don’t think there’s been a week yet where I wasn’t staring gap-jawed at my screen.
The real show stopper is Miss Eva Green, who plays the mysterious Vanessa Ives. She’s connected to the this world, the Demimonde, more surely than any other character. Ives knows more than she’s letting on, and her past is certainly coming back to haunt her. Her story, revealed in “Closer Than Sisters” (Ep. 5), is one of the most intriguing of the series, as was last week’s episode, “Possession.” Green does an outstanding job of walking the line between proper Englishwoman and possessed medium. I don’t have words enough to describe her performance. It is mesmerizing and mind-blowing.
I’m digging this series because it’s basically everything I’ve ever wanted: a gothic retelling which brings my favorite literary persons to life, beautifully shot and scored, with a host of damaged characters, demons, monsters, and the occasional poison garden.
Reeve Carney (Dorian Grey) live-tweets episodes with hilarious commentary, the community of fans, The Dreadfuls, are all lovely and the show (@SHO_Penny) isn’t afraid to interact with the Dreadfuls on Twitter.
As appears to be a habit with all the TV shows I like, the plot goes a bit off-kilter. Penny Dreadful begins, rightly, with a series of grisly murders. Sir Malcolm attributes these to the vampire holding Mina hostage, but then they’re sort of forgotten in favor of hunting the vampire, even though the bodies were torn apart in a very un-vampirelike fashion. I can forgive it. I’m too in love.
The other drawback is the first season is only eight episodes, and ends tomorrow. I’m not sure how I’m going to fill the void, but Penny Dreadful will be back next year with a ten-episode run. That’s some small comfort. I’m interested to see how this season wraps up, and just how soon I can own the series on DVD.
The up-side of the short run means YOU have plenty of time to binge watch the seven episodes leading up to tomorrow night’s finale.
Do you believe in curses? Do you believe in monsters?