'Penny Dreadful: Complete First Season' [Blu-ray]
(Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, et al / 3-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2014 / CBS - Paramount)
Overview: Some of literature's most terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and iconic figures from the novel Dracula are lurking in the darkest corners of Victorian London. Penny Dreadful is a frightening psychological thriller that weaves together these classic horror origin stories into a new adult drama.
Blu ray Verdict: To be quite frank, 'Penny Dreadful' is to horror what 'Game of Thrones' is to fantasy and 'Walking Dead' is to the zombie apocalypse! It's all about the characters and story lines that are only possible when set in their unique universes. And so yes, this show is amazing. Everything from the sets, to the acting and directing.
And so, for those not knowing of this great TV show, psychological thriller 'Penny Dreadful' introduces us to characters we're all familiar with, in its 1891 Victorian London setting. Sir Malcolm Murray (Dalton) is an explorer of some renown, in search of his daughter. Why she's missing you'll need to find out for yourself, but is the initial driving force of show. The often sullen Vanessa Ives (Green) has her own demons to slay and is somehow connected to Murray.
We open and close the first episode watching Ives praying very hard to a crucifix on her wall, perhaps seeking redemption for something in her past. Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Treadaway) is the third member of the team, and doesn't really need an introduction, but suffice to say he's up to his old tricks. Ethan Chandler (Hartnett) is an American gunman who we meet at a showground performing his sharpshooting skills for a large audience. Ives and Murray enlist his help which sees them face down vampires. Chandler also appears to have a rich backstory along with everyone else, however, not much is revealed about anyone in the pilot episode.
The first thing that I noticed about 'Penny Dreadful,' and to which I nodded at slightly above, was the incredible attention to detail that has gone into this production. It really transports you back in time, the imagery is so vivid and authentic- looking. The cast also do a superb job as one would expect from a cast of this caliber, with Green doing her sultry but deep character much justice. No TV show can survive without a good story to tell and the story thus far is intriguing, but I'll let you find out about that on your own.
For horror fans this show will blow you away, as the carnage and bloodshed is realistic and plentiful. I'm also a fan of vampires and the vamps in this show are extremely cool, with multiple rows of teeth and a tough skin, which we learn when Frankenstein performs an autopsy on one of them.
The show runs for only eight episodes, and this usually bodes well in my experience, because the story isn't drawn-out over too many, and instead we'll no doubt be left wanting more. If you enjoy Gothic horror then this is a show you shouldn't miss.
FYI: As creator John Logan had never written a television series before, he did not produce a spec script, but instead wrote the first two episodes directly. When he had the opportunity to pitch it to Showtime, he also wrote a 40-page Bible exploring the characters and story, with the network eventually buying the show! This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Ray Donovan: Season One, Episodes 1 & 2
What is a Penny Dreadful?
The Artisans Pt. 1
The Artisans Pt. 2
The Grand Guignol
Sex and Prostitution in the Victorian Age
British Exploration & The Search for the Nile
The Science of Medicine