Penny Dreadful – Season One

Score: 9.0

Penny Dreadful already finished its second season last summer but I’ve only seen the first. I’m terribly behind in most of the TV series but I’ll try to put a word or two for some of the better shows anyway. This show is wonderfully bleak and gritty compared to the many beautiful, almost fairy tale like stories out there. There’s sex and blood and death.

The show combines famous Victorian horror characters such as Dr. Frankenstein, Van Helsing and Dorian Gray. The cast is excellent, although almost every main character is a male. But it doesn’t even matter because there’s also (the always magnificent) Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, who is one of the most tragic and compelling female characters on screen. It’s interesting how many troubles she has to go through mainly because she happens to be a woman.

But while I think the show actually has an interesting feminist take, it unfortunately repeats the common mistake of cleaning up homosexuality between men. Dorian Gray is a bisexual character but all the erotic scenes between men are just glimpses or only hinted at, while the females and straight pairings are allowed to fondle each other quite freely on screen. It’s a minor issue really, but it annoys me nevertheless.

Nitpicking aside, the story, the characters, the dark visuals and disturbing themes make Penny Dreadful one of the greatest current TV series. What I’ve heard it becomes even more disturbing on its second season, but I avoid spoilers to my last breath, so I can’t really tell what kind of direction the series takes.

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