May 5, 2014
A new horror series is launching on the American Showtime network this month under the evocative title of Penny Dreadful. Set in a highly atmospheric Victorian London, the show is described as a psychological thriller weaving together classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama. An impressive cast is headed by Eva Green as the enigmatic Vanessa Ives, Josh Harnett as a “man of action” and Timothy Dalton as the father of Mina Harker, whom we know as one of Dracula’s victims. Iconic horror characters present include Dorian Gray and, of immediate interest to us, Victor Frankenstein and his Monster. Other characters include a spiritualist, an Egyptologist and assorted mysterious types. No doubt parallels will be drawn between this and Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
The series, eight episodes in all, comes with sterling credentials. Penny Dreadful creator and writer is Josh Logan, whose screenwriting credits include such titles as GLADIATOR, THE TIME MACHINE, THE AVIATOR, SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET, HUGO and SKYFALL. Producer Sam Mendes directed AMERICAN BEAUTY, SKYFALL and he'll helm the next Bond as well. Director Juan Antonio Bayona directed THE IMPOSSIBLE and THE ORPHANAGE.
The series’ first chapter, "Night Work", cablecasting on May 11th, is available now, free online to North American viewers. Note: The episode includes the surprising, must-see creation scene where the young Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) animates his Creature (Alex Price).
Viewers in the US need to access the show’s official page and click the “view series premiere” link. In Canada, go to TMN: The Movie Network site and follow the link to Penny Dreadful.
Showtime keeps an excellent dedicated website featuring character profiles, trailers, a blog and production videos.
The cast, creators, top-notch production values and the perfectly unnerving premiere episode make for a very promising series.