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Set in London during the 1900’s, former explorer Sir Malcom Murray (Timothy Dalton) is distraught at the disappearance of his newly married daughter, Mina Harker (Olivier Llewellyn). Convinced of something much darker than an abduction Malcolm, and Mina’s long standing friend Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), enlist the help of American gunslinger, Ethan Chandler (John Hartnett) and a local, reclusive doctor (Harry Treadaway) to discover the true nature of Mina’s absence.
With each battling their own inner demons, ‘Penny Dreadful’ dives into a disturbing world of the supernatural that draws in the audience and characters alike. With Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Helen McCrory, Reeve Carney, Brian Cox and a few other recognisable faces also featured, there’s much to sustain interest.
Named after the ‘Penny Dreadful’ comics, a series of cheap and sensationalised storybooks, the show also takes inspiration from many characters of historical fiction, namely that of Dracula, Mina Harker, Van Helsing, Dorian Gray, Victor Frankenstein and Henry Jekyll. Along with other mythical features such as werewolves and witches, this series may contain elements the fantastical but it introduces them gradually with well-rounded characters and intriguing plots to go alongside the satisfaction of prior knowledge. And while prior knowledge may seem like predictability, it certainly isn’t in most circumstances.
Despite having possible scope for future episodes, creator John Logan always intended for ‘Penny Dreadful’ to culminate in the third series and offers a reasonably satisfying conclusion for each of the weird and wonderful characters, some a lot darker and more unexpected than others. You may feel slightly cheated or wanting further elucidation by the end but it’s an enjoyable watch all the same and offers something different from the usual period dramas.