Gothic-Horror, a particular sub-genre of Gothic fiction, offers readers a potent literary elixir: a blend of horror and death, mystery and fear, oftentimes magic and mayhem, and of course romance.
Penny dreadfuls, cheap popular serial literature of the 19th Century that could be bought for a penny each week, rehashed mainstream Gothic fiction. Without the originals, and without the increase in literacy afforded by Victorian reforms in education, these sensationalist plagiarist texts couldn’t have thrived. So, it is that Showtime (in partnership with Sky) created Penny Dreadful, an indulgent treat of a Gothic-Horror show.
For three seasons we were hooked, quite often by its fresh presentation of characters popularized in Gothic fiction. Season 1 introduced us to psychic Vanessa Ives (an awe-inspiring Eva Green) and Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) as they tried to rescue his daughter, Mina, from vampires. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) brooded over his abdominal Creature (Rory Kinnear) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) lusted after Miss Ives (and many others) as his portrait degenerated. The season finale left us certain a darker evil was brewing.
And indeed, Season 2 threw its audience the witchcraft of the nightcomers and the Verbis Diablo that threatened Vanessa, while Ethan Chandler’s (Josh Hartnett) previous-season reveal as a werewolf and Brona Croft’s (Billy Piper) death and reanimation as Lily (initially for The Creature) tantalized in so many ways. Dorian’s attentions turned to Angelique (Jonny Beauchamp) and Sir Malcolm himself was targeted by Evelyn Poole (Helen McRory). As addicted as Victorian readers were originally to their lurid serials, we lusted for more. Season 3 answered our call […]
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