Just How Un-dreadful Is ‘Penny Dreadful’?

The Showtime show, ‘Penny Dreadful’, kicked off with its first episode in April of this year. The TV series is described by producers as “a psychosexual horror”, and after watching season 1, I think that’s really the only way to describe it. The first season revolves around 8 main characters: Sembene, Victor Frankenstein, Ethan Chandler, Brona Croft, The Creature, Dorian Gray, Vanessa Ives, and Sir Malcolm Murray.

The Characters:

Sembene from 'Penny Dreadful'


Sembene is a long-time ally of Sir Malcolm, and almost serves the purpose of Butler. Either Sir Malcolm saved him – or the other way around – but either way, Sembene is a loyal man cloaked in mystery.



VIctor Frankenstein from 'Penny Dreadful'


Victor Frankenstein is a doctor and surgeon, who unbeknownst to the others, succeeded twice in bringing a man back to life. He aids in Sir Malcolm’s search for his daughter, Mina, but when his first creation returns, he finds he has some of his own troubles to deal with.


Ethan Chandler in 'Penny Dreadful'


Ethan Chandler  has a past that’s so terrible he had to run away from it. He’s helping Sir Malcolm and Vanessa in their search simply for the money (and curiosity), but he is loyal to Vanessa. He was a sharp-shooter back in America, but there’s a twist you won’t find out about until the last episode in season 1.


Brona Croft from 'Penny Dreadful'


Brona Croft is a young woman dying of consumption. She was forced into prostitution at a young age, but forms an attachment with Ethan. She is ashamed of her life and her actions, and while she doesn’t usually fear God, she does when she’s on the deathbed.


The Creature from 'Penny Dreadful'


Victor Frankenstein’s first creation was never given a name, and so he is ‘The Creature’. Victor left him when he need him most, and since then, The Creature learned that humans are cruel creatures, and has come back with the intent of blackmailing his creator for an immortal mate.


Dorian Gray from 'Penny Dreadful'


Dorian Gray is a man obsessed with himself, who is unique in every way, and has never met his equal…until now. He seems to be a man of sex and taboo, but we later learn that there is more to him than meets the eye.



Vanessa Ives from 'Penny Dreadful'


Vanessa Ives is by far the most interesting character on the show. She’s a posed young woman who lives with Sir Malcolm, and yet they don’t exactly seem fond of one another. Vanessa has a thing inside of her that could cause the end of the human race, but it’s her suffering that makes her special. Would she want to give it away?


Sir Malcolm Murray from 'Penny Dreadful'


Sir Malcolm may be old, but he’s the creepiest, most intense man I’ve ever seen. Not only is he looking for his daughter Mina, but it seems he has a bone to pick with someone else working closely with him, whether or not that person realizes it.



A Short Synopsis:

Sir Malcolm and Vanessa Ives are two people looking for Mina Murray, Sir Malcolm’s daughter. Vanessa has the ability to see and hear things beyond the normal realm of humans, and so when Mina appears to her for help, Vanessa dedicates everything to finding her. Their search led to supernatural creatures living in the deepest, darkest parts of London, and so they get help from Victor Frankenstein, Ethan Chandler, and of course, Sembene. As the group gets closer and closer to discovering the truth about Mina, more and more demons – both physical and from the past – are revealed, trust and loyalty is tested, and betrayal abounds. Truths about each individual are uncovered, and it seems that what’s happening may have a greater purpose than any of them could have ever imagined.

The Trailer:

I’m being completely serious when I say this trailer is scary, and may keep you up at night. After watching the trailer, it took me a month to get the courage to start watching the TV show. Nonetheless, I must admit that the trailer is nothing short of genius. Watch it if you dare!

What Stood Out:

The first thing I noticed when I started watching the episodes was the intensity of the scenes. The first episode starts out with a supernatural murder that had me gasping, and then I saw the title sequence and I promise you, I was recoiling in horror the entire time. Blood, bugs, creepy music…the main theme fit the episodes perfectly. I’m so glad that the supernatural creatures didn’t show up all the time, because honestly, I don’t think my heart could have lasted through that. What I really appreciated about the show though is that it managed to combine my two favorite genres: the creepy and the romantic. However, ‘Penny Dreadful’ surprised me in that the people I’d expected to have chemistry did in fact have chemistry, but they didn’t get together. I suspect that may happen in the next season though, especially with what happened in the series finale…

So yes, the screenwriters for this series are amazing, and it made me realize exactly how hard screenwriting must be. But the second-most important reason to watch ‘Penny Dreadful’ is the acting. To keep it simple, the acting was AMAZING. I don’t even know how they found people who can act that well. I was most impressed by Eva Green (Vanessa Ives), as she definitely had the hardest parts, and she played them to perfection. Vanessa is possessed by many things and people throughout the show, and Eva just makes it all seem so real. Reeve Carney (Dorian Gray) is another man who has superb acting skills. He has this boyish face, but at the same time manages to be creepy, mysterious, and give you a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. Without the actors, this show probably wouldn’t be half as good.

A Sneak-Peek:

What You Should Be Aware Of:

Before you start watching the show, there are a few things you should be ready for, especially if you’re not yet an adult. For one, there is a crazy amount of nudity in this show. And sex. Sex and nudity. That definitely came as a surprise to me, and definitely not a pleasant one. There were naked butts an breasts everywhere, and I have to say I found it kind of disgusting. Eventually it gets easier to ignore, but, well, I think you should be ready for it. Unless of course you like that kind of stuff, but that’s a whole different matter. There’s also a ton of cussing and cursing and whatnot in the series. I’m sure many of you are already used to that, but I definitely didn’t expect it, what with the show being set in the Victorian Era and all. After watching season one though, I’ve come to realize that the blunt words are actually very necessary when you need to get a certain point across. My favorite scene is for sure the one where Victor Frankenstein gets angry at the priest – to be honest I was getting annoyed at him too – and tells him to do what he has to do and get the f*** out of there! ;D

Mini Photo Gallery:

Let’s make a toast! To the most mysterious TV show in the US and UK: Penny Dreadful.

One thought on “Just How Un-dreadful Is ‘Penny Dreadful’?

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