It is one of the most elegant series on American TV. A story in 27 episodes, as terrifying as it is bewitching. To have.
This Sunday, April 26, 2020, Natalie Dormer (Hunger Games, Game of Thrones) will succeed Evan Green in City of Angels, the spin-off of Penny dreadful, a very successful horror series by John Logan aired between 2014 and 2016 on Showtime. The ideal opportunity to discover the original, which has gone a little unnoticed despite its great qualities (especially from the second season, particularly ambitious). If you like to scare yourself, here are 5 good reasons to get started.
Penny Dreadful: How was the bloody dance scene created?
Far from the phenomenon Game Of Thrones, record audiences of Walking Dead or “trendy” buzz from Mr robot, Penny dreadful died in some anonymity in June 2016. The Gothic series from Showtime (broadcast in France on Netflix), created by John Logan, has never really thrilled the crowds (barely 500,000 Americans before the last episode), nor the specialists (it has not won any Emmy or Golden Globe to date). However, Penny dreadful has established itself, over its 27 episodes, as a real gem of the small screen. An aesthetic and narrative nugget, unjustly despised, which will certainly gain notoriety in the years to come, now that history is complete. So if you don’t know Vanessa Ives and her London comrades yet, here are 5 good reasons (without spoiler) to get started, today.
1) SO GREAT BEAUTY
Each visual element of Penny dreadful has something to surprise you. The aesthetic charm of the show represents one of the major attractions of the series. Filmed between London and the luxuriant lands of Ireland, it is based on a sumptuous photograph, to magnify each shot and thus pay homage to the Victorian England which it depicts so well. In other words: it’s beautiful! The careful production mixes digital effects and breathtaking decor, with rare mastery on television. note that Juan Antonio Bayona (the director of The orphanage and The Impossible) signed the first two episodes and that Sam Mendes (Sky Fall) is very involved in the show, as an executive co-producer.
2) EVA GREEN AND THE OTHERS
When we talk about beauty, we obviously think of Eva Green. The French actress glows lavishly in the skin of Vanessa Ives, this girl of good English society, torn by her faith and her demons. With her big green eyes and her long black-raven hair, she reigns over every plane, every sequence, and indulges indubitably body and soul, for this role of rare intensity. Around her, we discover a plethora of enjoyable supporting roles. The former James Bond Timothy dalton find here a character to his measure. Rory Kinnear and Billie piper make the most of each of their appearances. And what about Patti LuPone and Josh Hartnett, who impress with their natural charisma.
Eva Green: “My mother keeps telling me that I should stop playing crazy”
3) LONDON, VICTORIAN ERA
Penny dreadful is a fantastic, mystical, but also historical series. It depicts with astonishing splendor colonialist England of the XIXth Century, its beauties and its faults. The game circles, the horror museums, the sensual boudoirs, its coal-fueled factories, its Grand Guignol theaters, its sensational street gazettes … Everything is there. Each decor, each accessory, each costume has something to dazzle you. Until the death of the poet Alfred Tennyson, whose national mourning – October 6, 1892 – is found in the series. A meticulous and flamboyant representation of this fascinating Victorian era, when London was the capital of the world.
4) MYTHOLOGY AND LARGE LITERATURE
This is the big challenge of the series, the one that has imposed itself John Logan, creating Penny dreadful : take back some of the greatest characters from classical literature, to incorporate them into his own narrative, into his mythology. So can we come across the Dorian Gray seriesOscar Wilde, Mina Harker and Abraham Van Helsing from Dracula de Bram Store, the Victor Frankenstein of Mary Shelley or Dr. Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson. And it works. These great romantic figures blend intelligently into the great Gothic story of Logan. A vast dark mythology, sometimes gore or erotic, but perfectly mastered, where it is a question of Faith, God, Lucifer and end times. But we won’t tell you more …
5) A SUPERB FINE, STRONG AND CAREFUL
Ultimately, the quality of a drama is judged by its finale. And the one of Penny dreadful is particularly successful. Like the whole series, the last episode skillfully mixes action, adventures, and great fiery monologues. For an emotional conclusion, which makes perfect sense with the rest of the show. Because Penny dreadful is one of these series thought and written as a whole and total work, ignoring audiences and television imperatives. John Logan has finished his story as he intended, and as with a good book, we will certainly dive back one day with delight in the universe of Penny dreadful.
Eva Green as femme fatale: “It’s very fun to play”