Penny Dreadful: Season One

Review by CJ

Penny Dreadful - Season 1

J.A. Bayona, Dearbhla Walsh, Coky Giedroyc, James Hawes

John Logan

Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney, Danny Sapani, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Olivia Llewellyn

Other notable appearances:
Simon Russell Beale, Helen McCrory

Running time:
Approx 50 minutes per episode

Number of episodes:


Sir Malcolm Murray (Dalton) assembles a group of misfits with unique talents to save his daughter Mina Harker (Llewellyn) from a vampire. The ragtag group of anti-heroes includes medium Vanessa Ives (Green), sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (Hartnett), the mysterious Sembene (Sapani), and mortician Dr Victor Frankenstein (Treadaway).

I knew as soon as I saw the trailer for Penny Dreadful that it was going to be something unique and very interesting. Once I finally got around to watching the entire first season, I was not disappointed.

The main characters all have a great depth to which we are slowly introduced. Every character’s past is riddled with secrets, regrets and horrors that are unravelled throughout the season’s duration. However, the first season has not explained all and there is plenty that I am looking forward to discovering next season.

While you don’t need to have read the books from which some of the characters are borne, it is helpful to know a little about their story. For example, I felt it useful that I knew the story of Dorian Grey (Carney) when he wandered into a dark room to stare at a canvas not yet for our eyes. While I’m sure these things will in time be explained within the show, there are scenes that will feel out of place without those explanations.

I love the gloomy and gritty Victorian London in which Penny Dreadful is set. There could be no more perfect setting for this dark, strange and at times gruesome show.

In addition to the literary characters who feature in Penny Dreadful, there is a strong literary theme throughout the first season. Characters often quote poetry to each other and find solace in classic novels. I find the recitations can get a bit much at times and I all but zone out when the characters recite long passages from poems or other classic works.

Overall Penny Dreadful is wicked, morbidly beautiful and incredibly strange. This makes it a great show for people who love dark television with horror themes (similar to early seasons of Supernatural and Grimm).

4 Stars

“Don’t ask permission. If you want to do something do it because it is your desire, not my allowance. You must risk rejection.”


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