‘Penny Dreadful’ Has Returned in All Its Gothic Glory

Penny Dreadful
Showtime’s, Penny Dreadful, has returned in all its Gothic glory for season two. Penny Dreadful has a smart core cast of supernaturalists from the Victorian age and the characters come from literature drawn from the same time period, such as, Dorian Gray, Van Helsing, as well as, Dr. Frankenstein, along with his creature, Caliban. The characters are similar to that of of those in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, created by Alan Moore. John Logan, writer and creator of Penny Dreadful, said that it does not always work out because, there are too many protagonists for writers to keep track, so much so that occasionally, atmosphere replaces the plot. Then there is the biggest villain of the season, Mina, whose character  became more of a MacGuffin.

When Penny Dreadful came together, it came together well. The show itself is not about plot, it is an audit of horror from the Victorian time period, and a discovered family that enjoys the luxurious. Peers of the show experience it for transparent, blatant Gothic horror. The set for season two, includes a parlor decorated with skulls. Penny Dreadful has a good understanding of what it is to accomplish, and frolics in its embellishment.

Logan, has many surprises in store for the fans of the Victorian Gothic horror show, Penny Dreadful. However, it is entirely possible that the biggest surprise is still hidden within his head.

Eva Green, who is Vanessa Ives, as always, remains the center of the attention. Her fury gets her beyond the victim role, that she could have easily become. She is haunted, and tries to cast out demons that she cannot name. Vanessa’s fears will grow throughout season two with more of Satan’s minions after her. The terror is definitely getting to her, but hopefully the fury that she is known for, will return like in the séance scene from last season.

The cast is able to maintain their symmetry despite the variety of styles of acting, that would not normally mesh together. The acting styles include, the understated realism of Josh Hartnett, then there is Harry Treadaway’s cantankerous arrogance. Danny Sapani’s gravity and Timothy Dalton’s over-acting, all work great together with the horror and ghastly humor that can be found in any good pulp novel. This symmetry in the casting of Penny Dreadful, is why the show is able to return in all its Gothic glory. Witches will be added to the Victorian horror, which allows, “every naked-screaming, baby-eating, blood-bathing inch of them.” At the center of the coven is Helen McCrory in a part that requires high posturing as well as genuine peril.

Penny Dreadful televised its season two premiere on Showtime, Sunday at 11pm MDT. Logan opened the show’s season premiere with the story of his own life. Logan was afraid of being criticized. He had a need to be appreciated, loved, and accepted. He discovered, in the early 70’s that he was gay and it was not acceptable at that time. He said the was torn between being true to himself, and what would mark him for life, as monstrous, and separate him from those he loved. The very thing he was, the thing that empowered him, also isolated him. Penny Dreadful is an infusion of Logan, and has been brought back for season two in all its Gothic glory.

By Jeanette Smith


The Salt Lake Tribune

A.V. Club


Photo courtesy of EyesOnFire89 – Creativecommons Flickr License

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