Penny Dreadful is Showtime’s newest series set in Victorian London about Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), a father who had his child stolen. Doesn’t sound too exciting, right? Well, what if I told you his child was stolen by supernatural creatures and he has enlisted an American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and a super sassy Victorian goddess by the name of Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) to help him recover her. More intrigued, yes? Well, you should be.
Penny Dreadful begins as Vanessa Ives coaxes a wily “actor” (read, carnival employee Ethan Chandler) to do a rather questionable job for her. Ethan, of course, full of booze and low on money accepts. Little is he aware of what is to unfold that night. While he is incredibly skilled with a pistol, sometimes even the fastest hand in the West isn’t as fast as creatures of the night. The story while slow to build is purposeful and a perfect homage to classic horror, never revealing too much and allowing the imagination to run wild with trickling hints and carefully scripted character development. And not only is the story truly catching alone, but visually Penny Dreadful is simply a delightful show to watch. It perfectly captures not only the dark and seedy underground of Victorian London, and sometimes the under-under grounds, but is truly haunting and gorgeous in its cinematography. When there is gore (and there is a lot), it is very cleverly done and simply necessary to the scene. And none of it, if CGI, was easily identified as so.
Enjoy detective stories? Penny Dreadful is up your alley. Enjoy creepy yet thoughtful story telling? Penny Dreadful is up your alley. Want something that is truly promising to blossom into a quiet enjoyable action/mystery/horror? You guessed it.
It hasn’t been since Hannibal that a story has caught me hook, line, and sinker after one episode. Expect more reviews of this season as it progresses – and as always I’d love to hear your opinions of what you thought of the pilot episode.