Jekyll

By Dixielord

Penny Dreadful is a term that harkens back to the beginnings of popular horror. Originally, a Penny Dreadful was a cheap, gaudy, sensationalist paperback that cost, you guessed it, a penny. They became popular in a post industrialization England and introduced the working class to characters such as Varney the Vampire and Sweeney Todd. Now, however, the term also applies to a Showtime series set in Victorian Europe and featuring characters that should be familiar to all horror fans.

Eva Green possessed in Penny Dreadful

Eva Green possessed in Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful is in its third season on Showtime. It stars, among others Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, and Eva Green. So far it has introduced quite a few characters from classic horror literature and film, such as Dr. Victor Frankenstein (and his monsters), Dorian Grey, Malcolm and Mina Murray (from Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula), Lawrence Talbot (The Wolfman), Dr. Van Helsing, and, as of season three, Dracula himself. The series plays around with the stories we are all familiar with, aka Lawrence Talbot (Josh Hartnett) is an American cowboy, Dr. Seward is a female, and Dr. Van Helsing and Mina both meet their ends early on. The series also introduces a new character in Vanessa Ives played by Eva Green.

The first season of Penny Dreadful introduced the main cast of characters. The central storyline revolved around the kidnapping of Mina Murray by an ancient evil force. Subplots involved Dr. Frankenstein reuniting with his original creation and Vanessa becoming possessed by a demonic force, that might just be the devil himself. While it does play around with familiar themes, it doesn’t change them enough to make them wholly unrecognizable. The vampires who kidnap Mina have connections to Egyptian mythology, and the head vamp in charge isn’t Dracula. At least he doesn’t get involved and show himself in the first season. But with the changes, the vamps still have fangs, glowing red eyes, suck blood, and – most importantly – not a fucking sparkle in sight.

One of my favorite scenes in season one is the seance. In attempting to find out what they are up against, the group of would be heroes contact Madame Kali, a medium, to dig into the supernatural happenings. During the seance, Vanessa becomes possessed and tortures Sir Malcolm with his son’s death. Watching Dalton’s face you can almost feel the pain yourself through the television. It’s a disturbing and moving scene expertly acted by Green and Dalton, and it’s just one of many great scenes in Penny Dreadful.

Timothy Dalton as Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful

Timothy Dalton as Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful

Season two finds Vanessa being hunted by a coven of witches called the Nightcomers, secretly lead by Madame Kali from season one. We also dig deeper into Vanessa’s past, and Ethan, aka Lawrence Talbot, faces the repercussions of his moonlight snacking. It all culminates in a nighttime raid on the witche’s coven to save Malcolm Murray. The final battle sees blood shed on both sides and we say goodbye to a supporting character. Aside from the main storyline, we also witness Dr. Frankenstein trying to make a love connection for his first creation. Like pretty much every experiment, it doesn’t go as he planned. He doesn’t manage to make a mate, but does succeed in making another monster, played by Billie Piper (Doctor Who).

Billie Piper as Brona Croft aka Lilly Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful

Billie Piper as Brona Croft aka Lilly Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful

Which brings us to season three, which is only a handful of episodes in. This season we have already been introduced to two new classified characters, Dr. Henry Jekyll and the big baddie of the vampire kingdom, Dracula himself. Fans of Dexter should note that Dracula is played by none other than the Ice Truck Killer/Brian Moser actor Christian Camargo. Things are still developing this season, but so far we have seen Dracula stalking and attempting to seduce Vanessa. Meanwhile, Ethan/Lawrence Talbot has been taken prisoner and hauled back to America. He has escaped from the Marshals and bounty hunters (sent by his father) and has formed somewhat of an alliance with Hecate, the last of the witch coven from season two. They are being tracked by Sir Malcolm and an old Apache warrior, Kaetenay, plated by Wes Studi. Meanwhile Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) has sought out his old college friend, Henry Jekyll (Shazad Latif), to help him stop Lilly Frankenstein’s evil plan.

Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful

Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful

Now if you think this is just a cheap attempt to create a monster mash, you are thinking wrong. Penny Dreadful is a well thought out, well written, and expertly acted series. It takes the characters we are all familiar with and twists them in new ways, without destroying our memories of them. Then it tosses in new characters, like Vanessa Ives and Kaetenay and gives them intriguing stories. It’s not for the kids either, it has its share of gore and horror moments as well as copious amounts of nudity (but not near the Game of Thrones level) and sex. If you are a horror fan you would be doing yourself a favor to check out Penny Dreadful. It’s playing on Showtime, and past seasons can’t be found on DVD/Blu Ray or available from Amazon Demand. You might even be able to snag a free month of Showtime which would give you plenty of time to decide if the series is worth subscribing.

SERIES REVIEW: Penny Dreadful

SERIES REVIEW: Penny Dreadful

By Dixielord

Penny Dreadful is a term that harkens back to the beginnings of popular horror. Originally, a Penny Dreadful was a cheap, gaudy, sensationalist paperback that cost, you guessed it, a penny. They became popular in a post industrialization England and introduced the working class to characters such as Varney the Vampire and Sweeney Todd. Now, however, the term also applies to a Showtime series set in Victorian Europe and featuring characters that should be familiar to all horror fans.

Eva Green possessed in Penny Dreadful

Eva Green possessed in Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful is in its third season on Showtime. It stars, among others Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett, and Eva Green. So far it has introduced quite a few characters from classic horror literature and film, such as Dr. Victor Frankenstein (and his monsters), Dorian Grey, Malcolm and Mina Murray (from Bram Stoker's novel Dracula), Lawrence Talbot (The Wolfman), Dr. Van Helsing, and, as of season three, Dracula himself. The series plays around with the stories we are all familiar with, aka Lawrence Talbot (Josh Hartnett) is an American cowboy, Dr. Seward is a female, and Dr. Van Helsing and Mina both meet their ends early on. The series also introduces a new character in Vanessa Ives played by Eva Green.

The first season of Penny Dreadful introduced the main cast of characters. The central storyline revolved around the kidnapping of Mina Murray by an ancient evil force. Subplots involved Dr. Frankenstein reuniting with his original creation and Vanessa becoming possessed by a demonic force, that might just be the devil himself. While it does play around with familiar themes, it doesn’t change them enough to make them wholly unrecognizable. The vampires who kidnap Mina have connections to Egyptian mythology, and the head vamp in charge isn't Dracula. At least he doesn’t get involved and show himself in the first season. But with the changes, the vamps still have fangs, glowing red eyes, suck blood, and - most importantly - not a fucking sparkle in sight.

One of my favorite scenes in season one is the seance. In attempting to find out what they are up against, the group of would be heroes contact Madame Kali, a medium, to dig into the supernatural happenings. During the seance, Vanessa becomes possessed and tortures Sir Malcolm with his son's death. Watching Dalton's face you can almost feel the pain yourself through the television. It's a disturbing and moving scene expertly acted by Green and Dalton, and it's just one of many great scenes in Penny Dreadful.

Timothy Dalton as Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful

Timothy Dalton as Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful

Season two finds Vanessa being hunted by a coven of witches called the Nightcomers, secretly lead by Madame Kali from season one. We also dig deeper into Vanessa's past, and Ethan, aka Lawrence Talbot, faces the repercussions of his moonlight snacking. It all culminates in a nighttime raid on the witche's coven to save Malcolm Murray. The final battle sees blood shed on both sides and we say goodbye to a supporting character. Aside from the main storyline, we also witness Dr. Frankenstein trying to make a love connection for his first creation. Like pretty much every experiment, it doesn’t go as he planned. He doesn’t manage to make a mate, but does succeed in making another monster, played by Billie Piper (Doctor Who).

Billie Piper as Brona Croft aka Lilly Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful

Billie Piper as Brona Croft aka Lilly Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful

Which brings us to season three, which is only a handful of episodes in. This season we have already been introduced to two new classified characters, Dr. Henry Jekyll and the big baddie of the vampire kingdom, Dracula himself. Fans of Dexter should note that Dracula is played by none other than the Ice Truck Killer/Brian Moser actor Christian Camargo. Things are still developing this season, but so far we have seen Dracula stalking and attempting to seduce Vanessa. Meanwhile, Ethan/Lawrence Talbot has been taken prisoner and hauled back to America. He has escaped from the Marshals and bounty hunters (sent by his father) and has formed somewhat of an alliance with Hecate, the last of the witch coven from season two. They are being tracked by Sir Malcolm and an old Apache warrior, Kaetenay, plated by Wes Studi. Meanwhile Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) has sought out his old college friend, Henry Jekyll (Shazad Latif), to help him stop Lilly Frankenstein's evil plan.

Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful

Eva Green and Josh Hartnett in Penny Dreadful

Now if you think this is just a cheap attempt to create a monster mash, you are thinking wrong. Penny Dreadful is a well thought out, well written, and expertly acted series. It takes the characters we are all familiar with and twists them in new ways, without destroying our memories of them. Then it tosses in new characters, like Vanessa Ives and Kaetenay and gives them intriguing stories. It's not for the kids either, it has its share of gore and horror moments as well as copious amounts of nudity (but not near the Game of Thrones level) and sex. If you are a horror fan you would be doing yourself a favor to check out Penny Dreadful. It's playing on Showtime, and past seasons can't be found on DVD/Blu Ray or available from Amazon Demand. You might even be able to snag a free month of Showtime which would give you plenty of time to decide if the series is worth subscribing.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MONSTERS AND CREATURES, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, ZOMBIES, 0 comments