A show for fans serious about their horror.

Being a fan of Hannibal and American Horror Story, deciding to watch another horror TV show like Penny Dreadful was a no-brainer. I was initially worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations–and they were most definitely high–but after the first 15-minutes I knew I was in for a real treat. Created by triple-Oscar nominee and Bond writer, John Logan, who has an impressive list of film credits, like The Last Samurai and Skyfall to name only two. Not only was the writing and acting very good, but the entire production felt very slick. To top all that off, the cast are far from strangers to the big screen, with Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night), Ava Green (300: Rise of an Empire), Timothy Dalton (Licence to Kill) and Harry Treadaway (The Lone Ranger) making up the foursome of monster hunters.

Penny Dreadful
Created by
John Logan
Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Harry Treadaway
Release Date
11 May 2014
Ed’s Grade: A

Psychological thriller Penny Dreadful introduces us to characters we’re all familiar with, in its 1891 Victorian London setting. Sir Malcolm Murray (Dalton) is an explorer of some renown, in search of his daughter. Why she’s missing you’ll need to find out for yourself, but is the initial driving force of show. The often sullen Vanessa Ives (Green) has her own demons to slay and is somehow connected to Murray. We open and close the first episode watching Ives praying very hard to a crucifix on her wall, perhaps seeking redemption for something in her past. Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Treadaway) is the third member of the team, and doesn’t really need an introduction, but suffice to say he’s up to his old tricks. Ethan Chandler (Hartnett) is an American gunman who we meet at a showground performing his sharpshooting skills for a large audience. Ives and Murray enlist his help which sees them face down vampires. Chandler also appears to have a rich backstory along with everyone else, however, not much is revealed about anyone in the pilot episode.

The first thing that I noticed about Penny Dreadful was the incredible attention to detail that has gone into this production. It really transports you back in time, the imagery is so vivid and authentic-looking. The cast also do a superb job as one would expect from a cast of this calibre, with Green doing her sultry but deep character much justice. No TV show can survive without a good story to tell and the story thus far is intriguing, but I’ll let you find out about that on your own. For horror fans this show will blow you away, as the carnage and bloodshed is realistic and plentiful. I’m also a fan of vampires and the vamps in this show are extremely cool, with multiple rows of teeth and a tough skin, which we learn when Frankenstein performs an autopsy on one of them.

The show runs for only eight episodes, and this usually bodes well in my experience, because the story isn’t drawn-out over too many, and instead we’ll no doubt be left wanting more. If you enjoy gothic horror then this is a show you shouldn’t miss.

by Ed Blackadder