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Penny Dreadful: The Complete Series Blu-ray Review


“Penny Dreadful” is a colossal disappointment.

Set in Victorian England, the 27 episode three season series “Penny Dreadful” is an ensemble horror-drama that incorporates iconic characters such as Victor Frankenstein and his monster, Dr. Jekyll, Dracula, Dorian Gray, Van Helsing into the story. While the show primarily revolves around the psychic medium Vanessa Ives and the explorer Sir Malcolm Murray looking for his daughter Mina, the show is comprised of numerous interconnected story arcs that involve an American (Ethan) who harbors a dark secret, vampires, an ill prostitute named Brona, Vanessa being possessed, Victor Frankenstein, resurrected creations (Proteus, Lily, and Caliban), Count Dracula, Dorian Gray and his romances, Frankenstein working with Dr. Jekyll, Caliban wanting a mate, Ethan’s father, Scotland Yard investigating someone, a werewolf, ghosts of the past, witches, Vanessa’s troubled past, and Caliban’s family.

By all accounts the Showtime series “Penny Dreadful” should have been a show I loved. Executive producer Sam Mendes mixed with a classic monsters filled story combined with a dream cast featuring Eva Green, Rory Kinnear, Josh Hartnett, Billy Piper, and one of my all-time favorite actors, Timothy Dalton sounds like TV heaven. Unfortunately, the show just doesn’t click.

As promising as all of the above listed elements sounds, writer/creator John Logan squanders all of the show’s talent and potential with a rather odd approach to the story. Instead of creating a fun, addicting, creepy or intriguing world, Logan does the exact opposite. The deathly slow paced series (no exaggeration here) is overly dark, humorless, meandering, self-serious and crammed with so many characters and stories that it feels like some bizarre monster fan fiction. I desperately wanted to like this series as it contains things and people’s work that I am passionate about, but I simply couldn’t connect to anything here. Sure, the cast is great and the production values are first rate, but the brooding show around it is devoid of emotion which is baffling considering how character centric it is.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The dark stylistic look of the series shines in hi-def.

Audio Track: First two seasons are in 5.1 Dolby TrueHD while season 3 has a 5.1 Dolby Atmos track. How do they sound? Despite the fact that everyone seems to be whispering all the time, these tracks deliver.

* The first two episodes of the overrated “Ray Donovan.”
* “What Is A Penny Dreadful?”- A rundown of what the fictional stories are. The show itself is also summarized here.
* “Literary Roots”- An extra about the literary characters in this series.
* “Coming Together”- A featurette about the pre-production process.
* ‘The Artisans”- A 2 part extra that covers set decoration, props, and production design.
* “The Grand Guignol”- A video diary about the theater set.
* “Prostitution And Sex In The Victorian Age”- The title says it all.
* “British exploration And The Search For The Nile”- A featurette about explorers and exploration in this era.
* “The Science Of Medicine”- Medical curiosities of the time period are the focus of this bonus feature.
* 6 video production blogs for season 2.
* “Dreadfuls Roundtable With Reeve Carney”- A roundtable discussion between fans and actor Reeve Carney.
* “History Of The Occult”- A quick visual guide of occult history.
* Character profiles for Vanessa Ives, Dorian Gray, Sir Malcolm Murray, Evelyn Poole, Victor Frankenstein, Sembene, The Creature, Lily, Ethan Chandler, Sir Malcolm and Kaetenay, Dr. Sweet, Dr. Seward and Renfield, The Creature (again), Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Jekyll, Dorian, Lily and Justine and Catriona Hartdegen.
* “Hecate’s Witch Prosthetics”- Speaks for itself.
* “The Making Of Dr. Jekyll’s Lab”- Self-explanatory.
* “Vanessa’s Costumes”- A featurette about the character’s wardrobe.
* “The Dead Zoo”- A tour of Dracula’s Home/Dublin’s Natural History Museum.

March 31, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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