May 2, 2014

TV Review: Penny Dreadful (Showtime, 2014)
Pilot Episodes can be a messy thing. Even the best of shows tend to have Pilots that feel odd, uneven, or out-of-sync with the episodes that follow after; that's mainly because a Pilot exists to sell the show to a Network, so in a way, they nothing more than an audition. Most times, it takes a new show a while to find its voice, and hit its stride.

It's a rare Pilot that immediately leaves us in awe and wanting more; Game of Thrones did it with the "The things I do for love" scene; LOST did it with it's two-part, cinematic-quality epic feel, and with the final words of "Guys, where are we?"; The Shield did it with the "I'm a different kind of Cop" line, and with what Vic does at the end; The Walking Dead did it with Rick finding himself trapped in Atlanta... I could go on, but you get the point.

Earlier this week, Showtime posted the Pilot episode of its new show, Penny Dreadful, on its website and YouTube for the world to enjoy early. Having seen it, we can honestly say that it followed suit with the aforementioned great pilots with a final scene, that amidst all of the wonderful Gothic Horror, left us both unexpectedly wowed and moved.

I'm going to go out on a hyperbolic limb here and say that the final scene of the episode was brilliant on all levels.

Yes, Saucy Jack is in his prime during Penny Dreadful.
From Showtime:
"Some of literature's most terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. PENNY DREADFUL is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama."

*And let us not forget Josh Hartnett's Yankee gunslinger and Eva Green and her perfect breasts... because they are the main stars of the show. The actors, not Eva Green's breasts.

Then again...
Where American Horror Story is goofy camp that we can take or leave, Penny Dreadful is truly Gothic Horror that we ate right up. We expected the show to be more on the campy side, but were pleasantly surprised to find that it stuck to the dark and creepy side of the street instead. From start to finish, the episode got better and better, and when it was all over, we immediately took to Twitter to see if anyone else was as in love as we were with what we had just seen. Turns out that we were not alone in our admiration.

But where is her head?!?
Eva Green is the centerpiece of the show, and rightly so; her character is dark and mysterious, and we just know that she's harboring dark secrets that are going to spell trouble for somebody. Maybe everybody. As gorgeous as she is to behold, Eva Green's Vanessa Ives is equally as creepy, which only serves to make us love her more.

She's soooo creepy hot.
As for the classic characters of the show, Victor Frankenstein and his monster stole the show. Frankenstein has always been a sad tale to us, mainly because the famous monster always struck us as more sympathetic than terrifying, and that aesthetic is in full swing here. Oh, he'll probably rip some people apart with his bare hands at some point, but it was great to see them start his story out in a heartfelt way.

"WTF are you on about, Vic?"
When we first saw Josh Hartnett in that crazy wig, we thought "come on!" It was only a disguise though, and his Ethan Chandler is actually a pretty cool character. His American gunslinger not only gets caught up in the creepy goings-on of the London underworld, but he finds himself ensorceled by Eva Green's rack... so he's basically doomed on both counts. Josh Hartnett has always been underrated as an actor, and with his role in Penny Dreadful, he proves just how good he can be.

That wig!
Timothy Dalton has always been the man, and we don't care what anyone says; he made a good James Bond. Here he plays the menacing and secretive Sir Malcolm, whose daughter is kidnapped by the nefarious forces of the dark,prompting him to recruit a misfit gang of creeps to help him find her. As dangerous as we think he is, he's equally as heartfelt in his cause, and Timothy Dalton plays him to perfection.

He's got a Licence to Kill... monsters.
Will Dracula, or anyone else from his Classic tale, be joining Mina onscreen in future episodes? Will Van Helsing show up? Will we be seeing The Wolfman? The Mummy? Will Jack the Ripper make an appearance? Is Sembene some sort of African Witch Doctor or mystic? Will Vanessa and Mina make lesbian sex together? Why are there spiders everywhere?!? Are we asking too many questions?

We know nothing of the answers to these questions, but we do know that we'll be excited to see how they get answered, if in fact they ever do.

And why is this thing so angry?
There are only 8 Episodes of Penny Dreadful coming in this first season, so it's surely going to come and go as quickly as did True Detective. That irks us to no end, because we're greedy and we always want more of a good thing. If fewer episodes makes for a higher quality product though, we won't complain.... at least not too much.

Will the doctor get there in time?
The Pilot Episode of Penny Dreadful was excellent; The writing is tight, the acting equally so, it looks gorgeous, the blood flows freely, it's creepy, and there's an underlying current of emotion that made it all feel perfect. Will it be as good going forward? We can't say for sure, but with the talent that's involved -both in front of, and behind the camera- there's no reason to think that it won't be. As long as they can mix such classic characters and themes together in a plot that stays both engaging, and makes sense, then this is going to be a hit for Showtime.

Penny Dreadful premieres Sunday, May 11th, at 10 P.M. on Showtime, though you can watch the first episode early and for free on YouTube, right HERE.


It honestly gets no sexier than Eva Green, does it? The girl is fucking electric... there's just no other way to say it.


  1. YAY, I am so glad it's more on the serious side. I really disliked Coven this year, and I want to find something that's not so darn campy - I have to give this a go.

  2. I agree. The first episode was great. It introduced us to the characters, gave some good back story to them, laid down a direction for the season and left me wanting more!

  3. Right on. And Eva is the cherry on top of this awesome "sundae"... .

  4. Actually, the whole world CAN´T watch! I was not allowed to do so... Given my geographic location, apparently. It is very sad and unfair that people in other countries are not able to view the episode made available for free to some others. I wouldn´t watch the full series on tv anyway, because I don´t have cable tv, but if I had enjoyed the free episode, I would purchase the bluray or dvd set with the entire series when it would be made available. If the people making this decisions do not respect or consider me, there´s no way I´m going to purchase it later. If I´m not good enough to watch the freebies, I´m also not good enough to pay for it! Fair enough, don´t you think? It´s a shame, this series seemed to be just my kind of thing...

  5. Agreed, Anon, and we will never understand why Studios/Networks alienate their world-wide fanbases like that.

    If it's released to YouTube, it should be viewable on a global scale. Period.

    It's a tangled web of legalities that does nothing but make fans around the world, like you, angry with them and disinterested in their product.

  6. I'll watch anything with Eva Green in it. ;-)

  7. You have good taste, Phil, and we respect it! :)

  8. I bsolutely dislike this serie, it's awful, horrible, it is like a tumor in my head.. ¡arghh!