Penny Dreadful

Showtime, Sundays 10/9 Central

May 09, 2014 Web Exclusive
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Penny Dreadful feels like a more graphic version of ABC's Once Upon a Time, if the latter series were set in Victorian London and featured frightening, mysterious literary characters. Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) enlists American sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) to assist her and Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) in destroying a host of horrific, otherworldly creatures, all in the name of finding the one that took Sir Malcolm's daughter, Mina Harker.

The concept of a horror series exploring classic literary characters in the time and setting they were created in is an intriguing one. Penny Dreadful, however, doesn't develop an engaging story, despite its multiple intersecting storylines. The main characters feel overdone and forced. Case in point: the absolutely ridiculous séance scene where Vanessa's exaggerated performance is better suited to The Exorcist. The secondary characters are the more natural and interesting personalities, particularly the rakishly handsome Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) and the tuberculosis-suffering Irish prostitute Brona Croft (Billie Piper). The series does deliver on some of its promises: the interaction between Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) and his overly-emotional creation Proteus is sweetwhich makes the appearance of Dr. Frankenstein's first and infamous Creature, as it tears its hands through Proteus' chest, ever more terrifying. Overall, it took Once Upon a Time a season to fall flat; Penny Dreadful does that immediately. (

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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June 22nd 2014

Agreed! I am relieved to see I am not the only person who finds that there is no coherent story here! I tune in week after week praying that it will pull all the loose strings together and I am constantly disappointed! Frankenstein still hasn’t made a single step towards creating a bride for his Creature and it’s the 7th episode - in an absurdly short 8-episode “season”. The viewers are led to believe Ethan Hawke is a werewolf, but there’s been no real action there, just a few vague hints. Eva Green’s exorcist impressions are getting OLD and the action sequences are lousy, while the sex scenes are long and pointless. WTF.

July 19th 2014

So this site is for people who’ve already seen the series and come here to justify their opinions? Otherwise these blatant spoilers are pretty unforgivable.

I’ll remember never to come here looking for potential new shows I’m not watching.

August 23rd 2014

it’s so disappointing to see all the wasting of good talents in this poor scenarised tv show.