Penny Dreadful is 10 years old: 5 good reasons to discover a sumptuous gothic series

Penny Dreadful is 10 years old: 5 good reasons to discover a sumptuous gothic series

It's one of the most elegant series on American TV which is celebrating its 10th anniversary these days. Have you never seen Penny Dreadful? It's time for the catch-up session. 27 splendid and terrifying episodes await you.

It's the birthday of Penny Dreadful ! Just 10 years ago, Eva Green launched this major horror series by John Logan on American TV, broadcast between 2014 and 2016. The ideal opportunity to (re)discover this astonishing Gothic work, yet still largely unknown…

Because at the time of the phenomenon Game Of Thronesrecord audiences of Walking Dead or buzz Mr Robot, Penny Dreadful died in a certain anonymity in June 2016. The Showtime series never really wowed the crowds (barely 500,000 Americans watched the last episode), nor the specialists (it did not win any Emmy or Golden Globe at this day). Yet, Penny Dreadful has established itself, over its 27 episodes, as a little-known gem of the small screen, these aesthetic and narrative nuggets that no one has seen and which deserve to be unearthed. So if you don't yet know Vanessa Ives and her London comrades, here are 5 good reasons (without spoilers) to get started today. The complete Penny Dreadful is visible on Paramount Plus in France.


Each visual element of Penny Dreadful something to surprise you. The aesthetic charm of the show represents one of the major attractions of the series. Shot between London and the lush lands of Ireland, it relies on sumptuous photography to magnify each sequence and thus pay homage to the Victorian England that it depicts so well. In other words: it’s beautiful! The careful production mixes digital effects and breathtaking settings, with a mastery rare 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 executive producer.


When we talk about beauty, we also think about Eva Green. The French actress shines brightly in the skin of Vanessa Ives, this girl from good English society, torn by her faith and her demons. With her big green eyes and her long raven-black hair, she reigns over every scene and gives herself body and soul during an intense performance, perhaps the most exhilarating of her career. Around her, we discover a host of enjoyable supporting roles. Former James Bond Timothy Dalton here we find a character worthy of his measure. Rory Kinnear And Billie Piper make the most of each of their appearances. And what about the dark one Josh Hartnettwho impresses with his natural charisma.

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Penny Dreadful is a fantastic, mystical, but also historical series. It depicts with astonishing splendor the colonialist England of the 19th Century, its beauties and its failings. The gaming circles, the horror museums, the sensual boudoirs, its coal-fired factories, its Grand Guignol theaters, its sensationalist street newspapers… It's all there. Each setting, 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 depiction of this fascinating Victorian era, when London was the capital of the world.


This is the great challenge of the series, the one imposed John Logancreating Penny Dreadful : take some of the greatest characters from classic literature, to incorporate them into your own narrative, your mythology. Thus we can come across throughout the series the Dorian Gray ofOscar WildeMina Harker and Abraham Van Helsing from Dracula Bram Stockerthe Victor Frankenstein of Mary Shelley or even Dr. Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson. And it works. These great romantic figures blend intelligently into Logan's great gothic story. A vast dark mythology, sometimes gory or erotic, but perfectly mastered, where it is a question of Faith, God, Lucifer and the end of times. But we won't tell you more…


Ultimately, the quality of a drama is judged by its ending. And the one of Penny Dreadful is particularly successful. Like the entire series, the last episode skillfully mixes action, adventures, and great fiery monologues. For a strong 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 complete and total work, ignoring audiences and television imperatives. John Logan completed his story as he intended, and as with a good book, we like to immerse ourselves from time to time in the fascinating world of Penny Dreadful.

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