Victorian Fantasy on TV: Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful

Hello gentle reader,

If you’ve been following this blog and if you know of my love for Victorian Fantasy, you might have guessed this post was coming… Indeed, there’s a Victorian Fantasy show on TV!

This spring, Penny Dreadful airs both in the US and in the UK. Set in London in 1891, the show’s main character is a psychic (played by Eva Green), who teams up with an American actor/sharpshooter (played by Josh Hartnett), to investigate supernatural occurences. They soon come in contact with many well-known characters such as Dorian Gray, Jack The Ripper, Victor Frankenstein and his monster, Abraham Van Helsing and Mina Harker (from Dracula), etc. The title of the show refers to the 19th Century cheap, sensational publications one could buy for a penny.

What I like about the show is that it plays the ‘Victorian London’ card very well. Everything you would expect from such a setting/era is there: the aristocratic mansions, the East End slums, the opium dens, the British Museum and its Egyptian collections, the London Zoo, the dissecting tables of the Royal London Hospital, the asylum and the theatre… among others. Familiar themes for the time period are also touched upon: a few characters attend a séance and talk spiritualism, another character is dying of consumption, another has been searching for the source of the Nile in Africa, etc.

Penny Dreadful is visually stunning, with beautiful and gritty sets and amazing costumes. Each character is intriguing so far, and I’m hoping they’ll all be well developed as the story progresses. The plot is a bit scattered until now, and I’m waiting to see which direction it will take.

Whatever happens, the show has already been renewed for a second season which will air in 2015. Who said Victorian Fantasy didn’t appeal to the masses? 😉

Have you watched Penny Dreadful? What did you think? Feel free to leave me a comment below!