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.


“Penny Dreadful” took a few episodes to grow on me. However, when it did…I was hooked in a way that “Hannibal” has failed to grab me. Mixing a new take on the Hammer style with literary reassessment, we find a series that wants to examine the rise of horror in a time following the Ripper murders. Supernatural concerns mix with a changing world, as views of humanity start to slip. It’s brutal and it’s true to form in a way that I see very few modern horror programs tackling.

Late Victorian era Horror is such a ripe field to play. Watching as Frankenstein changes throughout the series to how the Allan Quatermain character plays with a mature landscape is exciting. Dorian Gray doesn’t get a ton of material to do, but it works out. Plus, you’ve got the lovely Billie Piper showing up in a supporting role. The show is an embarrassment of riches that will lead literary horror nerds to dig through all the possible annotations and sly references stuck throughout the series. I can’t wait to see what they do in the second season, as I can see their audience expanding. Hopefully, they get Sam Mendes back to work on a few episodes.

The Blu-Ray comes with a ton of featurettes and the first two episodes of Ray Donovan as the special features. I love including episodes of other series on a disc, as it allows people to sample other Showtime material. The A/V Quality is sharp with a quality 1080p transfer. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is unparalleled and it stands as the strongest of the Showtime series. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 10/14/2014

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