Netflix has brought us another beautiful example of SteamGoth TV: The Frankenstein Chronicles, a British series which started in 2015 on ITV and was continued last year for a second season. Some areas already have season 2 available on Netflix as well, but we’re still waiting for that where I am. So I shall limit my review to season 1.
The show opens in London, on the River Thames, where we meet inspector John Marlott from the river police at his job. A grisly discovery on the riverbank brings an investigation into both the high society and underbelly of London to discover who is playing God, much like in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and to find a missing child in the process.
I know this is deliberately vague, but I’m trying very hard to avoid spoilers.
Now, I myself found that this series holds somewhere in between Ripper Street and the movie version of From Hell, but it’s not a copy of either. It’s more the atmosphere and setting that brings me to this conclusion. Undoubtedly, it is a fine addition to the far-too-short list of SteamGoth cinematography.
The season only has six episodes and yet manages to properly tell the story without it feeling too rushed or condensed. It progresses well, the characters are well-developped, the plot is there and the pace is good. The costumes are beautiful, the scenery makes you feel you are in London during that time, and it’s just a really intriguing watch and concept.
Like Penny Dreadful, it combines fictional and real-life characters (such as the writer Mary Shelley and her creature), and in much like that other show, it contributes to the story rather than making it too pop culture or gaudy.
It’s an original take on the Frankenstein story we have come to love over the years and I personally look forward to season 2, because season 1 has definitely left me wanting more.