'Penny Dreadful: Season 1' - Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Penny Dreadful
Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful - Season 1
Finally finished the first season of Penny Dreadful, the Showtime series created by John Logal. What a great time I had watching each of the eight episodes. I just never knew that I had such a great capacity for watching a horror series in me. For the most part of my life I have stayed away from watching horror films or shows. But there is something about Penny Dreadful that kept me hooked despite my greatest fears for watching supernatural horror ever since I was a kid. I remember my folks would watch stuff like Zee Horror Show, X-Zone, Woh (starring Liliput Faruqui Sir in the titular role), and Mano Ya Na Mano on the Indian television and I would out fingers in my ears and cover my eyes with with a pillow. 

Supernatural horror has since then remained my least favorite of all genres. But it all seems to have changed with Penny Dreadful. Now, when I started watching Penny Dreadful I had no idea that it would be so heavy on supernatural horror. While the series can best be described as gothic romance there is enough proportion of horror in it to give nightmares to someone not accustomed to it. Now, I can pretty much tolerate vampires, zombies, werewolves and whatnot but when it comes to possession/exorcism kind of stuff I really find it difficult to watch it for prolonged duration. 
Penny Dreadful, Seance Scene
A still from episode 2 of Penny Dreadful - Season 1
So, parts of Penny Dreadful tested me a lot but somehow I discovered a way to deal with it. Now that I am finally done with the eight episode first season I can tell you that episode 2, episode 5, and episode 7 are truly exceptional. The moments of supernatural horror in these episodes are simply next level. Eva Green's Vanessa Ives owns these moments. Even when Vanessa is indulging in the most grotesque of acts one can't really take one's eyes off her. That's how good she is. Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray is so good that he comes across as a cross between Sean Connery and Anthony Hopkins. One really wonders why we don't see him more often these days. Episode 4, Episode 6, and Episode 8 are also brilliant. 
Timothy Dalton, James Bond Actor
Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray in Penny Dreadful
Here it is important to mention the names of Reeve Carney, Josh Hartnett, Harry Treadaway, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, and Danny Sapani, each of whom is superb in their respective roles. Even the guest actors are no less brilliant. I am just in love with all these characters as well as the show's Victorian Era setting. The show's attention to period detail is a major highlight. Young storytellers who want to use the motion picture medium to tell their stories can learn so much about characterization and plotting from Penny Dreadful.

P.S. All the three seasons of Penny Dreadful are currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Rating: 9/10

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