After a first season that garnered rave reviews, Sky’s huge successful series “Penny Dreadful” makes a return to the screen tonight. The show has made waves on both sides of the Atlantic and having already aired in the US, the British-American production’s second season will premiere on Sky Atlantic at 10pm tonight. Stars Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton will reprise their roles as Ethan Chandler, Vanessa Ives and Sir Malcolm Murray and the trio look set to continue their adventures in a nightmarish Victorian London.
The show is essentially an amalgamation of several of history’s most famous gothic horror stories, as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray stories are all heavily referenced and interwoven into the story. As the debacle that was Spiderman 3 showed us, sometimes trying to cram too many big characters into a production can end in disaster but the smooth production duo of Sam Mendes and John Logan (who worked together on Skyfall and are also in charge of the next Bond film, Spectre) allow the integration of the various stories to be executed in a more nuanced manner.
The term “Penny Dreadful” is a pejorative name that refers to what were essentially trashy Victorian horror novels but the televisual namesake is nothing of the sort. The major thematic emphasis is on the confrontation of demons, but not just the very real ones the character encounter upon their escapades. As cliched as it sounds, just as much time is spent looking at each character’s struggle with the monster that lies within themselves, from Sir Malcolm’s relentless singlemindedness at the expense of his family, to Frankenstein’s supposition over who is the true monster; his abhorrent creation or himself for making such an abomination.
For those who enjoy the macabre, Penny Dreadful is definitely one not to be missed. The thrills aren’t necessarily derived from make-you-jump horror moments (although there are plenty of those and plenty of gore) but more from a sense of intrigue generated by the characters’ interactions with each other, and ultimately themselves. Check out the trailer for Season 2 below