Sunday, November 9, 2014

Penny Dreadful is plenty delightful

I recently watched the first three episodes of the first season of Showtime's Penny Dreadful ... and ooh, wasn't that fun!  It's a slightly over the top Victorian monster movie mash-up, with no little resemblance to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  In the first three episodes we got to see (and this is not an exhaustive list, mind you) AND SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD: vampires, Dr. Frankenstein, Frankenstein's Monster #1, Frankenstein's Monster #2, Dorian Gray, a Wild West sharpshooter (who may or may not be a werewolf), a hard-up Irish lass with consumption, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a seance, a request for a bride for Frankenstein's monster, the Grand Guignol theater, rumors of the return of Jack the Ripper (not likely), a possible Renfield sighting (by the name of Felton, for some reason), visions, possessions and tarot card readings.

Starring Timothy Dalton (former James Bond), Eva Green (former Bond girl), Josh Hartnett and Billie Piper (Doctor Who?), there is clearly something for everybody in Penny Dreadful - if everybody wants classic monsters, Victorian outfits, blood and guts and some sex and cussing.  The pacing was slow-ish in the first episode, right on in the second and slow in the third - for some reason focusing on Victor Frankenstein and his issues to the exclusion of nearly all else.  Dalton's Sir Malcolm Murray is the least developed character thus far, with Eva Green's Vanessa Ives just ahead of him - although she at least got some scenery to chew in the second episode between the flirtation with Dorian Gray (more of him please!) and the seance scene.

Despite the show needing to figure itself out a little bit, I ate it up greedily and can't wait to see the rest - plus HOORAY it has been renewed for a second season.   It is shot fairly lushly for television, all dark and moody and damp-looking, and is off to a promising start - hopefully things will just keep getting better as we go along (as in, just let Eva Green rampage all over the place!).  Penny DreadfulPenny Delectable is more like it.

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