TV Review: “Penny Dreadful” Season 3 – Hauntingly Beautiful

Written by Danielle Sing June 02, 2016

Penny Dreadful

The third season of “Penny Dreadful” premiered May 1st, showing the audience where everyone was after the bloody and fiery events of the season 2 finale. This season introduces some highly anticipated characters from 19th century British literature. These new characters provide great acting and interesting backgrounds to classic characters, along with the haunting tone of the series. Unfortunately, the new split in location between Victorian London and the American Frontier thin out the plot lines and are disjointed with seemingly no relation to each other.

The third season starts with Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) in Africa where he meets Kaetenay (Wes Studi), an Apache man who knew Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) in the USA and who recruits Sir Malcolm to search for Ethan. Ethan is being extradited back to New Mexico by Scotland Yard Inspector Rush (Douglas Hodge). Ethan is assisted by Hecate Poole (Sarah Greene), a witch from London who followed him. But Ethan’s father, Jared Talbot (Brain Cox), interferes with the extradition. Back in London, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) seeks therapy with Dr. Seward (Patti LuPone) who encourages her to go to new places to relive her depression. This leads her to meet the mysterious zoologist Dr. Sweet (Christian Camargo). Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) reconnects with a college friend, Dr. Henry Jekyll (Shazad Latif), to help him with a serum to make mental patients sane. Lastly, Lily Frankenstein (Billie Piper) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) plan a war against the violent men who torture and rape prostitutes.

“You chased this son of a bitch from London to here, in the middle of the devil’s asshole, because it’s your duty?”

From that description, it’s easy to understand how the plot lines could run thin. The previous season of “Penny Dreadful” also had a wide variety of characters and plot lines but they were all related to one another. But the writing this season is weak, with all of the plot line – even the ones in the same location- being disjointed from one another. With the increase of plot lines and locations,”Penny Dreadful” runs the risk of thinning out the plot lines if they don’t balance out air time between each. Yet it has already come to that within the first few episodes of the season. When the show allows a plot to go thin, it feels unnecessary. It would be better if they cut them out instead of reducing the amount air time. Though the plot lines that do get explored display the creative adaptions of classic literary characters.

penny dreadful

“Penny Dreadful” is a series inspired by 19th century British literature with almost all of its characters being from or related to classic literary science-fiction and horror novels. And there are plenty of new characters introduced. Both Dr. Jekyll and Count Dracula have been introduced this season, along with Dr. Seward as an original character. “Penny Dreadful” wonderfully plays with its classic sources with real places in Victorian England. The great example is Dr. Jekyll, who is adapted in “Penny Dreadful” to be a half-Indian, half-English doctor who could only find employment at ‘Bedlam’ or Bethlam Royal Hospital, a historic psychiatric hospital in London, due to his mixed race. The classic character gets a wonderful recreation, and actor Shazad Lafit does a good job portraying him. Patti LuPone does a fantastic job in her second role in this series, and if you’ve only seen Eva Green as a Bond Girl or in the film “Sin City”, you need to watch “Penny Dreadful”. Her acting is beautiful so it’s no wonder she earned her Golden Globes nomination for Best Actress in a Television Drama in 2015.

“I adore all the honest creatures of this world. It’s humans I hate.”

“Penny Dreadful” as a haunting tone. The series and its characters seem paranoid of the unknown horrors they face. While this can make the show seem pessimistic, despite the strong religious faith of Eva Green’s character Vanessa Ives, it does fit Victorian England. “Penny Dreadful” shows the grit and the hard times, whether it be racism, prostitution, disease, murder, greed etc. “Penny Dreadful” puts it on display. So far this season, it’s giving that same treatment to the American Frontier, showing the deep hatred and bloodshed between White Americans and Native Americans.

penny dreadful

“Penny Dreadful” adapts classical characters well, and has award-nominated acting. However, some of the plot lines are running thin and feel unnecessary. The show does show what a horrible thing it is to live in Victorian England as it uses real historic locations and a haunting tone. As a fair warning, “Penny Dreadful” is not for the faint hearted due to its horror and supernatural themes, with enough blood, sex, and nudity to rival “Game of Thrones”.

My Rating: 8/10

penny dreadful

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Danielle Sing

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on TV Review: “Penny Dreadful” Season 3 – Hauntingly Beautiful. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment