The second season of ‘Penny Dreadful’ is full of reveals that it becomes difficult to say too much without saying spoilers. If you know your horror tropes, then some of the reveals will be confirmed. Other aspects follow the source material to some extent although there are introductions of creatures that were never sourced from that time period. The vampire infestation of London is gone but the witch coven, the Nightcomers, fills the gap and does a successful infiltration of the group. There are interesting twists relating to them all having their own crosses to bear that it’s a wonder that they ever had time to beat their opponents.
You do learn a lot about the background of Vanessa Ives (actress Eva Green) and what she really is which is probably the most significant thing. Then again, it might be how Sir Malcolm Murrary (actor Timothy Dalton) can be so easily seduced. Then again, with Evelyn Poole (actress Helen McCorry) doing the seducing, it’s more surprising she needed a hair sample but old habits die hard. Frankenstein (actor Harry Treadaway) falling for his latest creation, Lily (actress Billie Piper), who turns out to have her own agenda is something that never appeared in the original ‘Bride Of-’ film. Let’s not even discuss werewolves and whether you know you are one or not. Then again, the likes of John Clare (actor Rory Kinnear) don’t even realise other people can see them as monsters. Should I go any further? I haven’t even discussed the episodes. They are all equally powerful and should be seen late at night so you can warily climb the stairs to bed, investigating every shadow in case someone is staring back at you.
It’s certainly a tour de force for all the actors and nothing is ever what it seems to be. One thing our British actors are extremely good at is emoting and, boy, do we get that and I can see the attraction of so much talent here.
The brutality and violence is still there but all justified without losing any of the intellectualism that will make you think. Considering ‘Penny Dreadful’ was filmed in Ireland, it captures enough of the essence of Victorian London that you can see it being used for further series. With the extras, there is an extensive look at the streets being built from the ground up let alone the individual rooms and artefacts. You also get a chance to see Simon Russell Beale being made up into the part of Ferdinand Lyle and assorted blogs.
I’m not really into horror series in a big way, let alone changing source characters to fit a new look but ‘Penny Dreadful’ is internally consistent and the actors drag you in that you want to know what happens next. Be ready for the dance.
(region 2 DVD: pub: Paramount Home Entertainment. 4 DVDs 450 minutes 10 * 45 minute episodes. Price: about £13.00 (UK). ASIN: 3760303)
cast: Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Harry Treadaway, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Helen McCorry, Billie Piper, Simon Russell Beale and Danny Sapani
check out website: www.paramount.co.uk