That’s right horror fans, Showtime’s Penny Dreadful returned to TV last night with it’s Season 2 premiere: Fresh Hell. For those of you who are not familiar with this show in particular, imagine all of your favorite early 19th century thrillers mashed into one glorious TV show. Penny Dreadful has it all: Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, Monsters, and now… Witches.
Now, why do I talk about this show so much? Well besides my undeniable horror-bias, there really are very few shows as intense and well-rounded as this one. Where most horror-based TV and movies fall short, Penny Dreadful delivers. Incredibly well written, excellently cast, and beautifully directed, there hasn’t been a disappointing moment yet. Each episode makes you excited for the next, each side-story and character addition have been equally thrilling. Can you honestly think of a show where you like all of the characters and side stories? Just in case you didn’t follow and want to start with Season 2, I made a little breakdown for you: (The most important ones anyway..)
Vanessa Ives: Played by Eva Green, Vanessa is the glue that holds this show together and is possibly it’s creepiest character. Devote Catholic and the potential mother of the apocalypse, Ms. Ives is nothing short of fascinating. Eva Green’s eyes say it all. I highly doubt there could have been anyone else so perfect for the role of Vanessa. While terrifying one moment and beautiful the next, no matter how possessed or haunted, Vanessa is someone you can never get enough of.
Sir Malcolm: Played by Timothy Dalton, is a father-like character to Vanessa, with dark secrets of his own. Sir Malcolm, an ambitious, curious, and at times insensitive, explorer gets wrapped up in exploring London’s dark side, while patiently dealing with the wonderful mess that is Vanessa. The odd dynamic between these two characters is the fuel of Season 1, while mostly solidified by Season 2, Sir Malcolm becomes a little more likable… for now.
Ethan Chandler: Played by Josh Hartnett, if any Gen Y’s were wondering what happened to Josh, he’s back and more glorious than ever. I have a personal soft spot for Mr. Chandler, as Mr. Hartnett was one of my first celebrity crushes way back in his Faculty days. Josh Hartnett was actually the reason I gave Penny Dreadful a try, after reading a recent interview with the actor who passed up BATMAN to stay true to his love of more independent projects. I am super glad Josh has returned to horror as the ever-mysterious Ethan Chandler, American sharp-shooter and well, werewolf. I’d cuddle that.
Brona Croft: Played by Billie Piper, has there ever been such a fantastic marriage between Sci-Fi and the dammed? Billie Piper may be more familiar to some people as Rose from Doctor Who. She’s now transitioned into the world of Dr. Frankenstein. After first getting mixed up with Ethan, Brona’s story develops into one more reason to keep watching through the second season, re-emerging as a new…being. Piper’s performance is everything it needs to be, creating a complex and compelling character, one that is a far cry from her sweeter, more innocent role in Dr. Who. Crass, crazy and lovable, I am excited to see this character continued.
Victor Frankenstein: Played by Harry Treadaway, a less well-known, but soon to stick in your mind actor, is probably one of the best characters in the entire show. Every episode I can’t help but think how perfectly cast Treadaway is. With each classic character re-envisioned, Frankenstein’s story comes together in the most horrifically magical way. Treadway’s portrayal of Frankenstein is leagues less hokey than any other telling of this story I have seen on screen to date, sure to make any real Shelley fans swoon. Constantly called on by the other characters in the show, Victor leads a bit of a double life and I love every minute of it!
Now I could go on because I have so much to say to about Dorian Gray and The Creature, but I’ll leave something to motivate your curious minds into watching the show if you haven’t already. I would like to end with so much love and thanks to the writer and creator John Logan for putting together an artfully dark way to spend my Sunday evenings, you are awesome, keep it up!
This article was written by Alethea Cho, a writer for dusk magazine.