A Penny Dreadful Community
Showtime (ended 2016)

Apparently somebody at Showtime looked at some TV listings, noticed that every single other cable network has a hit supernatural horror serial, and decided it was time to get in on that highly rated action. Where movies have started to drop the ball when it comes to decent scares, television has not only brought us bigger and better variations on old tropes (The Walking Dead's zombies; Teen Wolf's werewolves; The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' chupacabras), it's done so while pulling in massive ratings. Will Penny Dreadful, Showtime's Victorian-era riff on The Monster Squad, continue that tradition or be relegated to the elephant graveyard of expensive failures? Let's talk it out!


Victorian-era literary characters teaming up? THAT sounds familiar.

Okay, sure, Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen exists in both graphic novel form AND atrocious movie adaptation form, but Penny Dreadful sets itself apart from that premise right away. Less a dream team of literary superheroes and more a supernatural mystery dotted with recognizable names, Penny Dreadful is much more interested in scaring you than in being a clever, whiz-bang romp. Centered on an American gunslinger named Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) who gets hired to help find a wealthy explorer's missing daughter, this is a London where bad things happen to good people, unthinkable monsters lurk in the shadows, and a thriving "demimonde" (the space between "what we know and what we fear") threatens to overtake the real world at any moment. Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) is a mysterious, cursed clairvoyant who enlists Ethan, and a certain Promethean doctor (Harry Treadaway) provides much-needed biological expertise when Ethan and Vanessa bring him the corpse of a newly murdered vampire. Because oh yeah, there are vampires, and these vampires are disgusting. But with a Jack the Ripper copycat on the loose and the threat of demonic possession plaguing Vanessa in at every turn, it's clear that the heroes and anti-heroes of Penny Dreadful will be having their hands full for the foreseeable future.



Who's lurking behind the scenes?

Showtime really busted out its wallet (and refined tastes) for this one: Penny Dreadful is executive-produced by Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), written by John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, Skyfall), and directed by J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible). Those are all major gets for a network like Showtime, and the cast (and production values) are just as impressive.


When will Penny Dreadful jump-scare us?

Penny Dreadful premieres Sunday, May 11 at 10pm on Showtime.


Who should willingly to subject themselves to these terrors?

Horror fans, Penny Dreadful has your number. From the pilot's terrifying cold open to its frequently disturbing imagery (oh, the gore!), this is the kind of show best watched alone in the dark. But despite its lurid appeals, Penny Dreadful also boasts a relaxed pace that's perfectly suited for those seeking slow-burn, higher-echelon horror. Literary references should keep brainier viewers engaged, and the show-don't-tell visuals are very respectful to viewers who are tired of being spoon-fed exposition. Plus, you know, since it's premium cable: #butts.


What works well about Penny Dreadful?

Penny Dreadful is a really nice mix of patient, drawn-out suspense and shocking horror that GOES THERE. Like, guys, there is a dead baby in the pilot. At one point a hundred spiders burst out of an upside-down crucifix. And have I mentioned that the vampires featured on this show are possibly the most terrifying ones I've ever seen on television? What's more, the cast is uniformly engaging and the characters are compelling and clearly defined. If any of these things sounds appealing to you, there's a good chance you'll be hooked.


What's dreadful about Penny Dreadful?

Not much, but I will say this: Unfortunately Penny Dreadful is the kind of serial that may not work well in individual installments and should rather be viewed in a binge-watch. The pilot, "Night Work," doesn't seem to have a conclusion, it simply smash-cuts to credits after an hour's worth of set-up. And while the series is admirably restrained in its lack of exposition, sometimes confusion sets in a little too often. At some points, the obfuscated explanations are part of the game ("Oh, THAT's why we weren't told the young doctor's name right away"), but compounded with certain characters' impenetrable accents, I had to re-watch more than a few exchanges. Oh, and this thing is dark, just visually. Maybe I had a low-quality screener, but I had to adjust the brightness on my TV just to be able to see an important murder.


So, should I watch it?

Yes, particularly if you love horror, gothic literature, or Josh Hartnett's #butt. (And just a tip: Episode 2 is even better than the pilot. Skeptics should consider giving this a 2-episode test, at the very least.)


Let's take a look at a trailer!

Actually, you can watch the full pilot if you're so inclined! But here's a sample, in case you're in a hurry:



Penny Dreadful premieres Sunday, May 11 at 10pm on Showtime.


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Pretty cool, and good cast. Definitly want to see more of this show!
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Monsters, vampires, general creepiness, Victorian clothes, and some weird gathering of classic monster/horror characters- yes please. I like what I've seen so far, can't wait for more. Thanks for letting us know about the show Price =)
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I was'nt overly impressed with the pilot so I'll give it the 4-episode test.
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I liked it a lot. Sure there were some cliché moments, but it's still gorgeous in style, and it's helped by great performances. Even Josh Hartnett isn't annoying me. Hopefully, this will end up being much better than that AHS garbage.
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That is by no means a horror it's more like who ever created it was having flash backs from there days doing drugs. If I were to watch it by episode 2-3 I would be asking myself why?
So I will be giving this a BIG MISS
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I watched the pilot as well. I would describe it as slow, very dark and quite graphic. The production values are noticeably high and the stylized tone is creepy.
Horror is not really my genre, although there is something appealing about horror stories that take place in the Victorian era. I will watch a few more episodes at least.
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Oh. Hey...I just wanted to mention to those on Dish Network that don't know already:
If you don't have Showtime & haven't already watched the pilot online, They flipped on all the Showtime channels today for a free weekend
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actually, come to find out, it's free for pretty much everyone across the states, regardless of who your provider is
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I watched the pilot and i've gotto say it was really good.
And i would say the main reason being that instead of being a modern horror/supernatural story where the monsters isn't actually that monstrous,
it stays more true to the classic horror stories where the monsters truly was dark, scary and creepy.

And lets not forget about that cast.
Timothy Dalton (James Bond)
Eva Green
Josh Hartnett
Billie Piper (Dr. Who)
++++

Can't wait to see more of this show.
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Pilot was good! (I am not much into horror)

Also, checked it for Eva Green *wolf wistle*
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Will Price review this? Well then definitely yes. On side note I have already watched the pilot and it was right up in my alley. SO yes can''t wait for it.
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Absolutely watching this!!!!!! The pilot was excellent!!!
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What is going on here?? 8 of the last 13 comments were some kind of spam!!

Anyway...thank's for the review. I wasn't going to watch it, but now I think I will give it a try.
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I am not a horror or supernatural watcher at all. But for me the pilot was certainly good enough to keep watching. The horror and gore details were not 'thrown' at me in a way that was distasteful, it just fitted the story. That story and the characters made me want to see that next episode.
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I made the mistake of watching it in advance and now I can't wait for more!!! Loved it!
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sorry, I'm not american and I'm little bit confused, why so many people hate Josh hartnett? :))

and yes, I'm already loving this show.
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He's just kinda bland. Plus residual hatred for Pearl Harbour
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God damn, I hate spiders, but I will so be watching this!
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I must confess I knew nothing about this show before reading this article but now I'm very excited about it and actually have high expectations.
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This thing is scarry..I am in!!
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I watched the pilot and I'll keep watching because finally there's a series that can actually be scary. (The Walking Dead can learn from this)
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With the risk of being flagged, I tried watching it but had to give up ten minutes in. It's just too dark, too explicit and quite boring.
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Everyone's entitled to their opinion of course, but you can give no fair judgement of a series by watching 10 minutes of it.
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What about Work It?
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Okay, when it comes to that show, yes :p But not when the series has 50+ minute episodes.
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That sounds like a challenge! There must have been some absolute turkeys in the premium cable drama sphere, right? None come to mind but personally I wouldn't hold it against anyone who gave up on Ray Donovan or even Magic City after ten minutes.
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Seems good ... but not my taste at all, though Eva Green...
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Is that Timothy Dalton? That's Timothy Dalton! I'll give it a look! Oh, also Sam Mendes, Eva Green and, um, that stuff the show's about.
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Less Sam Mendes than John Logan - Mendes likely got the money flowing, but it's Logan's baby (he wrote the whole thing)
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What? This was a Price article? This seemed way too structured and professional to be from Price. Why didn't the photos have captions? Why are there hashtag references? Is there an impostor here? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO PRICE? WHERE IS HE!!??
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Ah here...
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Price invented #butts.
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haha i thought same. i think price was too drunk or high, and he asked noel to write this one for him.
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He's lost his marvels...
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I've already watched the pilot and I'm excited to see where this show goes. Hopefully it goes to Eva Green's boobs at least once, I mean it would be a waste of resources otherwise.
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Two reasons why we should watch it : Eva Green and Billie Piper
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YES!
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The pilot was great. I'm already a fan of this :D
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The pilot was excellent. I watched it twice it was so good.

The downside is even after two viewers I still only remember 3 character's names.

The first episode is mostly about introducing us to the world and is kinda 'busy'. We don't get to know much about the characters and who they are compared to other great shows.

After the pilots of such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The West Wing, Battlestar Galactica -- albeit this show had something like a 1 hour 45 minute miniseries as his 'pilot' -- and Game of Thrones, I remembered all the main characters' names and already mostly knew who they were.

I think it might have been better to have more of a set up than already diving into the main case. Even Continuum didn't move this quickly.

Anyway, the acting is solid but Eva Green's character -- Vanessa Ives -- is by far the most compelling and interesting so far.
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"I think it might have been better to have more of a set up than already diving into the main case. Even Continuum didn't move this quickly"

On the flipside, I'd say it was a good choice...they didn't underestimate the intelligence of their audience & trusted that we would jump in & swim along with the current they set.

I personally tend to really dig shows that are geared for those who pay close attention.

Maybe some of it comes from knowing alot of the source material the show draws from, but I honestly did appreciate the tempo & execution of the whole thing.
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It has nothing to do with intelligence or paying attention: those shows I mentioned aren't stupid shows.

The problem is that the pilot not only tried to set up the world but also immediately get into the case. Plus, it already introduced 3 supernatural beings.

Imagine if Buffy the Vampire Slayer pretty much did episodes 1-3 or 1-4 all within a 54 minute period.
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OK, I'm trying to imagine comparisons 'tween Buffy TVS & this show..............................heh! Hell, that's like comparing Mountain Dew to a fine single malt :P
Still, If I came off as insulting before, it wasn't my intention & I humbly apologize.

We simply have different views.
One of the things that impressed me with the pilot is that it didn't spoon feed me information & kept my experience strictly on par with character knowledge & didn't break immersion by pandering to viewer knowledge as the vast majority of other shows do.

That's a rare thing on TV & I'm happy as a pig in shit that this show so far seems to understand the difference & knows better than to spoon feed me information that is either explained through context of the scenes or will simply unfold as the story does. It's only eight episodes & good mysteries are a great thing
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We've seen one episode of Penny Dreadful.

BtVS
is still celebrated and will always be celebrated.
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heh! I never said I thought Buffy was a crappy show...I was just making a point that there's no comparison between the two. Buffy was fun, popcorn fluff geared towards a completely different audience & knew never to take itself seriously. Dreadful is simply in a completely different class.
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* You think BtVS is a crappy show?

* Well, the only being 8 episodes thing is certainly what mostly contributes to how how "busy" the episode is. Even True Dectective wasn't this busy.

* Anyway, it's a good episode but the characters currently are pretty much 1 dimensional.
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This looks intriguing, but at the same time Skyfall was such a mediocre movie to me.
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I totally agree on Skyfall. Luckily I know just the thing to take your mind off it.



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The pilot was superb! I'm thrilled to hear that the next episode is even better. One of the best pilots of the year and I have a feeling this show will rapidly become one of my favorites!
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I've gotta give best pilot to Silicon Valley.

Penny Dreadful would be in my top 5 though!
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"Okay, sure, Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen exists in both graphic novel form AND atrocious movie adaptation form, but Penny Dreadful sets itself apart from that premise right away."

Actually, it doesn't so much. It's true that it doesn't have "name" literary characters, but the characters we do get are very close to the movie characters.

I'll probably do a review before it airs this weekend (folks know that Showtime has released the premiere on their website two weeks early, right?)
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The pilot is available online. If you like "horror" and "supernatural" (but not fluffy supernatural) then you should like it (then again, I don't know your tastes).
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I'm pretty sure Marburg66 will be reviewing the show but the more the merrier;-) And I will definitely read all community reviews of Penny Dreadful's episodes.
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Yep. The more the merrier, so I'll be reviewing it too :) I'd be surprised if the staff didn't already add it to their weekly list as well (PENNYYYYYYY!!!) 'cause it's already proven to be an excellent start to what can become a great show!
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Staff already had some supporting posts on it over the last months so they are at least interested. But you had the original and first one that got me interested!
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I'll look forward to it.
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Uh no to Josh Hartnett's #butt! But I may DVR the show and watch multi eps at once!

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I know right? Why wasn't Eva Green naked already? Is she holding out on us all of a sudden? Are they building up for some Billie Piper nudity? Why are they toying with our emotions????
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i'll give it a watch and who knows. probably not gonna hate
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We need a fourth option on these polls: I'd watch it if I had that channel.
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just google it and you can find it many places (I'm not sure your country's laws but it is available on various sites to people not in the USA).
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I've already watched and it is amazig. Can't wait for more.
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Could not agree more. It is not a genre I normally like, but I was blown away.
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Am intrigued...
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Will be watching for Eva Green....Period.
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Were there really any other reasons mentioned?

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Not in the post, but episode two (and further) will have Billie Piper and that's a reason for me to watch.
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i did watch its pilot episode and , since i am fan of supernatural already so no thanks i dont want to see some old fashioned monster killing show!!
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So you can only limit yourself to one single supernatural-themed show? I'm not sure if you're incredibly shallow, have the world's shortest attention span, or just don't know how to express yourself, either way, I wish you the best of luck in your very small endeavors.
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I have very high expectations for this show, so it's nice to hear Price saying good things about it. The cast seems great and so does the production team. I am a big horror fan, so I hope that the show makes me jump from my seat.
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Horror is my favorite genre. I rarely jump in my seat but it was "scary" and very well done.
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also dont know if you're gonna review it but i went to a 2 episode screening of Fox's "Gang Related" it was good too, pretty different
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Funny thing...just sayin' but when I saw the extended trailer for that show during a commercial break a couple nights ago, at first I thought it was a tele-novella type parody SNL would do or something...Although the trailer improved in quality as it went on, the first 30 seconds or so of it looked like an IFC style joke

As I came to realize it was a real show, I facepalmed a little bit over it.
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watched it online a few weeks ago its really good. its on demand too. at least for directtv it is
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Cant wait!
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