If there is such a thing as a quintessential SteamGoth series, Penny Dreadful must be it. The eight-episode first season of this British series has mad science, asylums, mysticism, disease and horrific crimes committed by the living and the supernatural.
Penny Dreadful largely takes place in Victoria’s London and revolves around a cast of characters fighting an ancient evil.
A word of warning: this series is not for the faint-hearted. It can be very gruesome and very brutal.
There are some serious names attached to this project:
- Eva Green, who plays the leading female part of Vanessa Ives, a young woman haunted by things from the past and not necessary just hers.
- Timothy Dalton plays Malcolm Murray, the man assembling a team of leading characters to save his daughter at all cost.
- Josh Hartnett features as Ethan Chandler, an American with his own hidden darkness.
I love how some literary personas, such as Victor Frankenstein, are brought into this story and the twist the creators of the show have given to them.
The costumes are pretty fantastic to look at. In fact, the entire atmosphere and scenery of the show is stunning.
Another strong suit is that the show is not afraid to take its time. Far from fast-paced, this series takes its time to delve into the plot and explore the backstories of characters, so you get to know them better and things are actually explained in due time, unraveling the plot bit by bit in a masterful way.
Some will no doubt think it’s too slow, but I think the pace is one of the strengths of the show.
The horror of the Victorian times is also very realistic, it isn’t gory to be gory, or brutal to be brutal, but it doesn’t sugarcoat how things were back in those days either, adding the horror element to a series that is essentially a psychological thriller/drama more than anything else.
Of all modern-day “dark” TV, Penny Dreadful is right at the top.
The only downside is that we’ll have to wait a year for the second season. On the upside, it will have more than eight episodes.