Rotten Tomatoes Rating: NA (Critics) / 34% (Audience)
Created By: John Logan
Starring: Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Harry Treadaway and Josh Hartnett
Synopsis:Some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula. become embroiled in Victorian London. (Source)
Green and Dalton really stand out with their different but complimentary performances. Dalton gives a hammy performance that somehow never feels over-the-top with every word he utters and look he gives made so full of purpose and urgency. While Green reigns in some of her natural ferocity to play a total enigma of a woman except for her piercing gaze that makes it seem like she knows every secret of the universe.
I also love the way the camera sticks tight to a character in some shots so that the viewer is caught just as unaware when something frightening jumps out from the shadows. The distinctive visuals were a plus too from the look of this shows Victorian London to the unconventional design of this sow’s vampires.
And the fact that this show doesn’t shrink away from blood and gore delights me to no end because this first episode was chock full of some truly cool horror scenes.
I felt that the “Big Reveal” that closed the episode was entirely too telegraphed. The show almost bashed viewers over the head with clues to the point that the reveal didn’t have the weight that the show obviously expected it to have.
Josh Hartnett’s performance as Ethan Chandler is a major weak spot on the show. It is a combination of Hartnett’s performance (that relies too much on mumbling and hair for my taste) and the character just not being nearly as interesting as everyone else around him that makes Ethan a bit of a non-factor so far.
Final Verdict: PENNY DREADFUL gets off to a creepily entertaining start with great visuals and stellar performances from Dalton and Green. If the rest of the series is anything like this pilot episode then I will definitely be a regular viewer because this is how I envision the LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN movie would have been like if it had been made competently.