I spent the whole weekend binge-watching seasons one and two of Penny Dreadful. It’s been a long time since I was so into a show, it speaks to my little black heart. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you do.
I hadn’t had a chance to see it before this weekend because I don’t have Showtime, but they offered a free weekend of shows on Hulu, so I dove in. I wasn’t so sure I’d like it as I got into the first episode – it seemed they relied a lot on the big blood sprays for impact, and I hate that. I don’t want the whole budget spent on gratuitous effects, you know? Shock value is not my thing, I much rather have a great script and intriguing plot. Luckily, those things came through enough for me to stick with it, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I love that it plays with all those primal, mythical dangers and fears that keep us tense and looking over our shoulders – vampires, werewolves, mad scientists and monsters, god, the devil, witches, and ill wishes. It respectfully references classics like Frankenstein and Dorian Gray, and stories based on fact like that of Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Báthory, while remaining true to the character of the original stories. It doesn’t over do, because these things have impact enough in their primal state without beefing up from over-enthusiastic writers and directors who don’t have faith in their audience’s appreciation of well-told tales. In fact, the stripped down impact of these stories are what make them that much more believable, and keep our senses on alert.
Penny Dreadful has very good actors, interesting and fully developed characters, wonderful sets, and great atmosphere. The language is not dumbed down, and they do their research. These aren’t the cheap, melodramatic stories of the original penny dreadfuls, these are classic and classy. It’s just so much FUN! I’m looking forward to season three.
And I think I’ll add an appreciative little post script here for one of the most beautiful, most sensual and real lovemaking scenes between two beautiful boys that I have ever seen.