Penny Dreadful S1 – My Review

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What do you get when you cross Frankenstein with Dracula and throw in a bunch of other Victorian tropes? Not what I thought, this is pretty epic stuff. That said, I’m not completely happy about the vampire plotline, and I’ll bicker for a while on that.

But first a nod to all the fine acting and much-needed gothic horror. Filmed in Dublin, they built immense sets from scratch. They spared no expense to take us back to 1890, where perhaps the era is romanticized, the Brits lionized, a tad too much.

It’s a broody, depressed, craving, obsessive world, and your faves may show up if you keep watching.

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They do mix the ugly with the beautiful. Eva Green, versatile actress, I’m not sure if I’m attracted to her or repulsed by her. She transforms constantly. Victor Frankenstein, well I know better than to trust that guy. We also have Dorian Gray in attendance looking to get his freak on.

If that sounds fine and well, so be it. But the vampires disappointed. Stealing directly from Dracula, they fucked it up royally. Dracula was a deceiver. There was suspenseful drama in that story and the terror of being trapped. Here, the vampires of season one are one-dimensional jump scare growlers, and nothing more.

Like the fatal flaw in The Walking Dead, the bad guys become trite and pointless. In this case it didn’t take multiple seasons either. They seem to have put more attention into the varnish on the wood decor than in fleshing out their bloodsuckers. It seems almost certain that they’ll pay it more mind next season.

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This season focused mostly on the Frankenstein story. Much soul searching and conflict centered around the monster. Unfortunately that left little screen time to wrap up the main plot: Sir Malcom’s vamped-out daughter Mina. The climax, if you can call it that, wraps up in a minute, with a ridiculous one-liner to boot, something too cheezy to have made the cut.

I recall how True Blood succeeded where Walking Dead failed by giving the villains layer upon layer of depth and backstory. Often their vampire stories emerged over multiple seasons. In this Mina story we are given zero information about her as a vampire. Nothing. The other vampires don’t speak at all, merely shrieking and growling irrationally. They were disposable, and since they succumb to firearms, they even fail at being credible threats.

I recommend skipping the final episode, and jumping into the next season instead. Despite that miscue, the show holds potential.



joegiambrone.us


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