‘There is some thing within us all.’
Penny Dreadful is a 2014 – 2016 supernatural horror television series created for Showtime by John Logan and executive produced by Logan and Sam Mendes (collaborators on Skyfall).
The series weaves together the origins of literary horror characters, such as Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s monster, Dorian Gray, and Count Dracula, as they grapple with their monstrous alienation in Victorian London.
Prior to its launch, Showtime president David Nevins stated that the tone of the ensemble series is “very realistic and very grounded, not Bela Lugosi. All exist in human form in turn-of-century London.”
The series takes it name from the lurid penny dreadful publications that were avidly read by 19th century British adolescent youths.
A spin-off series, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, is being developed for 2020.
“Penny Dreadful reimagines the late 19th century as a sleazy hotbed of supernatural activity, inhabited by hedonists, swines, ghosts, ghoulies – and fictional horror characters come to life. At the time, real penny dreadfuls (cheap, lurid books aimed at young men) caused outrage and moral panic with their torrid tales of debauchery and death. Logan’s show is no less trashy: this is goth-schlock of the Ben Hewitt, The Guardian
” …a sideshow alley collection of slightly scary crap: undead monsters from ancient Egypt, seances, Josh Hartnett dressed up as a cowboy, Dorian Gray and Victor Frankenstein. This motley crew might be entertaining, stranded in a remake of Gilligan’s Island, but lurking in candle-lit darkness, like a dusty pile of Mary Shelley’s worst rejected ideas, who is going to care.” Ruth Ritchie, Sydney Morning Herald
- Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, a charming, brash, daring man of action who is unafraid of violence and more complicated than he likes to admit.
- Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic, composed heroine who proves herself a force to be reckoned with.
- Billie Piper as Brona Croft, an Irish immigrant seeking to escape her dark past.
- Rory Kinnear
- Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm, a hardened African explorer on a deeply personal quest.
- Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray, a confident, mesmerizing, yet somewhat isolated man.
- Harry Treadaway as Victor Frankenstein
- Helen McCrory as Madame Kali, a spiritualist.
- Simon Russell Beale as Ferdinand Lyle, an eccentric Egyptologist
- Danny Sapani as Sembene, a longtime ally of Sir Malcolm
- Olivia Llewellyn as Mina Harker, Sir Malcolm’s daughter and Vanessa’s childhood friend who has been abducted.
- Hannah Tointon as Maud Gunneson, an actress and the object of Caliban’s affection.
- Gavin Fowler as Simon, Maud’s partner who mistreats Caliban.
- Olly Alexander as Fenton, a minion of vampires.
- Alun Armstrong as Vincent Brand, the leader of a troupe of actors in residence at the Grand Guignol.
- Alex Price as Proteus, a second creation of Frankenstein’s.
- David Warner as Abraham Van Helsing, a doctor and a colleague of Frankenstein.
- Robert Nairne as The Vampire, an ancient, deadly and unfathomably evil creature who leads a cabal of lesser undead and has abducted Mina Harker.
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