Penny Dreadful: All The Facts You Need


The new psychosexual horror series Penny Dreadful is now premiered on Showtime for the wider public. While my previous write-up considered what we might expect from the show, here are some details we know to be true.


As far as key players go, John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo) stands above them all. As well as being series creator and showrunner, he has also penned every episode. Serving alongside him as executive producer are Sam Mendes (American Beauty) and Pippa Harris (Revolutionary Road).


For the eight episodes that make up season one, four directors have been charged with bringing the series to life. According to IMDB, the first two episodes have been directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage), episodes 3 and 4 by Dearbhla Walsh (The Tudors), episodes 5 and 6 by Coky Giedroyc (The Hour), and the final two episodes by James Hawes (Mad Dogs).

In terms of casting, it appears to be a very varied assortment of film, television, and stage talent. Speaking to Collider earlier in the year, Logan described Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, and Harry Treadaway as “the big four”, meaning supporting roles for the likes of Reeve Carney, Simon Russell Beale, Billie Piper, Helen McCrory, Danny Sapani, and Rory Kinnear.


Despite the London setting, shooting actually took place at Ardmore Studios, Ireland, in addition to various other parts around Dublin. Visit the Penny Dreadful Youtube channel to watch some incredible making-of video diaries:
Each episode runs at approximately 60 minutes, beginning on May 11th on Showtime for North America. However, being a US-UK co-production, I assume British Audiences should expect to see it shortly after when it airs on Sky Atlantic.


With regards to story and plot, not much is known, but over the last couple of weeks a few more interesting nuggets of information have begun to emerge.

We arrive in Victorian London, 1891, where characters from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula all breathe life.

Amongst these famous faces are also a handful of original characters such as American sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (Hartnett), supernaturally gifted clairvoyant Vanessa Ives (Green), and African explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Dalton).

According to USA Today, the story sees Sir Malcom employing the services of Vanessa and Ethan as he searches for his daughter who has been taken by evil forces. And, as Indiewire reports, as blood spills out onto the streets, the people of London fear that Jack the Ripper has returned.

Theme wise, Logan appears to intend to examine the concepts of alienation and humanity. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter in January, he said that “I chose to set the show [in 1891] not because it would be cool visually but because the Victorian era reminds me of right now […] They were on the cusp of the modern world … grappling with the very elemental question of what it means to be human”.

Additionally, Showtime’s David Nevins also claimed the series to be both realistic and erotic, so it’s safe to say that between all the sex, swearing, and gore, this is not a television series to show your little ones!
Finally, having previewed as this year’s SXSW, first reactions to the first episode are in.

Indiewire writes “Based on the first episode, “Penny Dreadful” is an elegant, creepily crafted horror opus […] If “Penny Dreadful” follows in the footsteps of its first episode, it will be some shivery good fun for fans of Gothic noir, macabre period pieces and smart horror alike”

USA Today claims that the first episode “wastes no time getting bloody”.

Deadline says “Bayona’s cinematic leanings set a strong stylistic tone for the series which takes viewers into the gritty streets and tenements of Victorian England…”

And MacGuffin writes “The episode as a whole is satisfyingly dark, mysterious, bloody, and horrific”

And in this video you can see how audience members reacted to the screening:
Overall, it seems to have impressed 🙂

So there you go, Penny Dreadful is coming, and from the looks of things, it’s definitely worth checking out.



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