Showtime is trying to step into the mix with their new show Penny Dreadful. Now I’ve been onto it since it’s inception, I’m not too sure if this is going to be able to fill the thigh gap that Game of thrones has left.The show can best be describe as all the fiction books your High School English teacher made you read, jammed into one continuity or even simpler The Diet version of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Fun Fact: The term Penny Dreadful refers to a 19th century British publication of horror stories in parts with each part costing one penny (Thank you Wikipedia).
Let’s break it down.
The heart of the story is about Sir. Malcolm Murray.
He’s an explorer / big game hunter that travels Africa and basically manifest destiny’s shit. They really made him similar to Alan Quatermain (from H. Ridder Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines / Main Protagonist in Alan Moore’s LOEG). We’ve seen flashbacks of him coming home and telling his kids about his tales. He has two children, Peter and Mina. The story of Penny Dreadful is Malcolm’s search for his daughter Mina who has been taken asunder by daaaaaark forces. If the name Mina Murray doesn’t sound familiar perhaps her married name Mina Harker does. Mina Harker is one of the main leads from Bram Stroker’s “Dracula”.
Joining Malcolm Murray on his search is Mina’s childhood friend Vanessa Ives
Vanessa has strong connection to the supernatural, one she felt even as a child. In flashbacks we see what lead Mina Harker to her current husband (who we can assume is Dracula). Ives got it on with Mina’s first fiance when her brother didn’t reciprocate her advances (Peter is basically Tobey McGuire Spider-man. Didn’t know what to do with his feels) annnnd a bit of spite sprinkled in there as well. This causes a rift between the families (it should be noted that Ives saw Alan getting it on with her mom in the estate’s garden maze of privilege).
Ives goes full on “I’m mad as hell and i’m not going to take it anymore” crazy basically succumbing to the dark forces that have been scratching the surface to reach her. This is best shown in a scene where we see her kissing a hallucination of a demon that took the form of Malcolm Murray. Then her mom walks into her room and sees her buck naked doing the air rodeo with no one there, Ives looks at her mom with all white possessed eyes and her Mom died on the spot from shock sun. I’m talkin…
and the next scene was mom’s funeral.
Now some time passes and Ives can sense Mina is reaching out to her,
so she and Malcolm make amends and proceed after her.
Now let’s get into the new recruits, such as Ethan Chandler.
The gunslinger from America that Ives has enlisted. Ethan doesn’t know shit about supernatural forces so when he encounters a “vampire” (they haven’t called them that yet) for the first time, he is pretty much
Ethan is also running from something in his past and has a bit of a temper problem. Yet, he is the one that constantly questions how far the group should go when it comes to hurting others for their end goal. All in all Ethan is that dude… despite that sometimes he wakes up in random places not knowing how he got there, and there may or may not be some blood on his hands when he comes to. Oh yeah, I should have mentioned there’s a serial killer going round. The killer has been ripping his victims apart by the limbs. The papers call him Jack The Ripper… that name familiar to any of yall?
Enter Victor Frankenstein
If you don’t recognize who Frankenstein is
then check out Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” and proceed to do the following
Victor is basically the mortician for this team. The science behind the group. The Reed Richards if you will. Who better to dissect the supernatural than a man whose brought someone back form the after life, right? Yeah, Frankenstein monster is up in this piece. The team doesn’t know of Victor’s after school experiment yet. They also don’t know that he has done this before and his “first born” is back with a vengeance, a list of demands and zero chill.
(Aside from his personal shit, the best scene to me so far is when he meets with a blood specialist to analyze “vampire” samples. The specialist’s surname happens to be Van Helsing. If you don’t know the myth behind that surname then go back to reading twilight my dude cause you have failed this English class)
The rest are characters that are still a mystery to us
The lead character from Oscar Wilde’s “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”. He comes across as a mix between Rick James and an artsy Peter North. All we’ve seem him do so far is appreciate paintings, nature, and orgies… at the same damn time. They call him Dorian on the show but all I hear is Riley Freeman calling him “bitches” (no disrespect).
Long story short, she is an “escort” with Tuberculosis (known as consumption at the time). Gray was on of her customers and she has been building a real relationship with Ethan Chandler. She is brash and to the point but can be very lively despite her ill fitted condition.
All we know is he is cool with Malcolm Murray and is the only black guy in London.
( I wish that was a punchline folks but I am dead ass)
There is your cast and run down of characters. To it’s credit the show is pretty dark and the characters do drop bars,
“You threaten me with death?
If you are going to threaten me… threaten me with life”- Victor F.
“I love you in a different way. I love you enough to kill you”- Vanessa Ives.
“Seriously guys what the fuck is that?!”- Ethan Chandler
It is a good show in the sense of a filler but its not a scary show like it intends to be. Don’t get me wrong, I like that its taking all these people from different works of fiction and putting them together. I mean this has been done before (comic books people) but I am interested in how this all plays out and want to see if this gets picked up for a second season.
Overall I think my final judgement on if people should care to watch penny dreadful is a
“Sure, why not?” said post Kanye shrug.