The King is Dead

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Penny Dreadful (2014 TV series)


So much Eva Green...
Penny Dreadful commits the annoying sin of making Frankenstein (published 1818) contemporary with Dracula (published 1897), but otherwise it seems likely to be a lurid guilty pleasure – rather like the sensational pulp magazines from which it takes its name. 

It feels like it started as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fan-fiction (or maybe a pitch for a series based on the movie version).  In the first episode, we’re introduced to a spooky beauty (Eva Green) that easily could have started as Mina Murray, an old African explorer (Timothy Dalton) with more than a little of Alan Quatermain about him, a brash young American (Josh Hartnett) who reminds me of the LXG version of Tom Sawyer, and a medical man (Harry Teadaway) with a monstrous side (Rory Kinnear) that could easily slip into the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde role.  They’re not the same characters, of course.   Most of the cast are original characters created for the series… which actually disappoints me in a weird way; if you’re going to use Dorian Gray and a handful of other literary characters, why not commit to it and go whole hog?  There’s lots of lesser-known Victorian characters you could use without duplicating Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s work.  Just crack open a copy of Jess Nevins’ Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana!   

In any case, the show seems like it could be fun.  The first episode has sex, violence, and weird mysteries in good proportions.  It’s not enough to make me subscribe to cable again just to get Showtime, but I look forward to the home video release.

P.S. That’s a weird definition of “demimonde,” guys.  Did you even look up what the word means?

P.P.S.  Between Penny Dreadful, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, we are getting so much Eva Green this year that I think we must accept we are living in the best of all possible worlds.

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