Penny Dreadful (TV series)
|Created by||John Logan|
|Written by||John Logan
|Theme music composer||Abel Korzeniowski
Tom Kitt (series finale)
|Opening theme||"Demimonde" by Abel Korzeniowski
"A Prayer" by Sophie Meade (series finale)
|Country of origin||
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||27 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||47–60 minutes|
|Original release||May 11, 2014– June 19, 2016|
Penny Dreadful is a British-American horror drama television series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan, who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. The show was originally pitched to several US and UK channels, and eventually landed with Showtime, with Sky Atlantic as co-producer. It premiered at the South by Southwest film festival on March 9 and began airing on television on April 28, 2014, on Showtime on Demand. The series premiered on Showtime on May 11, 2014, the first in an eight-episode season. After the third-season finale on June 19, 2016, series creator John Logan announced that Penny Dreadful had ended as the main story had reached its conclusion.
The title refers to the penny dreadfuls, a type of 19th-century British fiction publication with lurid and sensational subject matter. The series draws upon many public domain characters from 19th-century British and Irish fiction, including Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray; Mina Harker, Abraham Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Renfield, and Count Dracula from Bram Stoker's Dracula; Victor Frankenstein and his monster from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; and Dr. Henry Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||8||May 11, 2014||June 29, 2014|
|2||10||May 3, 2015||July 5, 2015|
|3||9||May 1, 2016||June 19, 2016|
Cast and characters
- Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray, a charismatic man who is ageless and immortal.
- Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray, a hardened explorer of the African continent, on a deeply personal quest to save the remaining members of his family.
- Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic, quietly driven heroine who proves herself a force to be reckoned with as she battles powerful, relentless forces from the underworld.
- Rory Kinnear as the Creature, a creation Frankenstein abruptly abandoned, who, not given a name, variously uses the aliases Caliban and John Clare.
- Billie Piper as Brona Croft/Lily Frankenstein, an Irish immigrant seeking to escape her brutal, violent past.
- Danny Sapani as Sembene, a mysterious long-time ally of Sir Malcolm (seasons 1–2).
- Harry Treadaway as Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an arrogant, reclusive young doctor whose ambition and research involve transcending the barrier between life and death.
- Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler (born Ethan Lawrence Talbot), a charming, brash and daring American man of action with uncanny marksmanship, who detests violence, and is more complicated than he likes to admit.
- Helen McCrory as Evelyn Poole, a professional spiritualist known by the alias Madame Kali who is secretly the leader of a powerful coven of witches called "Nightcomers" (season 2, recurring season 1).
- Simon Russell Beale as Ferdinand Lyle, an eccentric Egyptologist (season 2, recurring seasons 1 and 3).
- Patti LuPone as Dr. Florence Seward, an alienist or early psychotherapist treating Vanessa's depression (season 3; LuPone previously guest-starred as Joan Clayton in season 2)
- Wes Studi as Kaetenay, an Apache with a connection to Ethan, who becomes an ally to Sir Malcolm (season 3).
- Introduced in season 1
- Olivia Llewellyn as Mina Harker, Sir Malcolm's daughter and Vanessa's childhood friend who has been abducted (seasons 1–2).
- Alex Price as Proteus, a new creation of Dr. Frankenstein's, named after the literary character of the same name, who was killed by the Creature (seasons 1–2).
- Lorcan Cranitch as Inspector Goldsworthy, by the London police (season 1).
- Robert Nairne as the Vampire, an evil creature who leads a cabal of undead and the abducted Mina Harker (season 1).
- Olly Alexander as Fenton, a vampire minion (season 1).
- Graham Butler as Peter Murray, Sir Malcolm's son, who died accompanying his father on one of his expeditions (seasons 1–2).
- Noni Stapleton as Gladys Murray, Sir Malcolm's estranged wife and mother of Mina and Peter (seasons 1–2).
- Alun Armstrong as Vincent Brand, the leader of a troupe of actors in residence at the Grand Guignol (season 1).
- Hannah Tointon as Maud Gunneson, an actress at the Grand Guignol, and object of the Creature's affection (season 1).
- Gavin Fowler as Simon, Maud's partner who mistreats the Creature (season 1).
- David Warner as Abraham Van Helsing, a haematologist and colleague of Frankenstein (season 1).
- Stephen Lord as Warren Roper, a Pinkerton agent hired to bring Ethan back to the United States (seasons 1–2).
- Introduced in season 2
- Sarah Greene as Hecate Poole, Evelyn's eldest daughter (seasons 2–3).
- Nicole O'Neill, Olivia Chenery and Charlotte Beckett as minor witches of Evelyn's coven. (season 2)
- Douglas Hodge as Bartholomew Rusk, a Scotland Yard police inspector investigating the grisly Mariner's Inn Massacre (seasons 2–3).
- Jack Hickey as the Junior Inspector working with Rusk (seasons 2–3).
- Jonny Beauchamp as Angelique, a mysterious transgender woman who gains Dorian's attention (season 2).
- David Haig as Oscar Putney, the owner of a struggling wax museum who employs the Creature for his own nefarious reasons (season 2).
- Ruth Gemmell as Octavia Putney, Oscar's wife who is uneasy about the Creature and treats him cruelly (season 2).
- Tamsin Topolski as Lavinia Putney, the blind daughter of the Creature's new employers, with whom he develops a specious friendship (season 2).
- Ronan Vibert as Sir Geoffrey Hawkes, a rich landowner who fell under Evelyn's sway (season 2).
- Introduced in season 3
- Shazad Latif as Dr. Henry Jekyll, a chemist and college friend of Dr. Frankenstein (season 3).
- Christian Camargo as Dracula, the brother of Lucifer who fell to Earth to feed on the blood of the living as the first vampire. In London, he takes the guise of kindly zoologist Dr. Alexander Sweet to captivate Vanessa (season 3).
- Samuel Barnett as Renfield, Dr. Seward's secretary who becomes involved with Dracula (season 3).
- Sebastian Croft and Jack Greenlees as minor vampires serving Dracula (season 3).
- Casper Allpress and Pandora Colin as Jack and Marjorie, the Creature's son and wife from when still alive (season 3).
- Cokey Falkow as Scarman, a gunman in the service of Ethan's father (season 3).
- Jessica Barden as Justine, a homeless, brutalized young prostitute who becomes an acolyte to Lily (season 3).
- Sean Gilder as Marshall Franklin Ostow, a Western lawman, aiding Rusk in the hunt for Ethan (season 3).
- Brian Cox as Jared Talbot, a ruthless, powerful American rancher and the estranged father of Ethan (season 3).
- Perdita Weeks as Catriona Hartdegen, a thanatologist scholar with expert knowledge of the supernatural (season 3).
Notable non-recurring cast include Mary Stockley as Dr. Frankenstein's mother Caroline, Anna Chancellor as Vanessa's mother Claire, and Frank McCusker as Dr. Christopher Banning, overseeing Vanessa's treatment while institutionalized, all appearing in flashbacks during the first season, as well as Oliver Cotton as Father Matthew, performing an exorcism on Vanessa in the first season's penultimate episode.
Production and development
In January 2013, it was announced that Showtime had made a series commitment for the project. Logan and Mendes previously wrote and directed Skyfall, respectively. Production began in London in the second half of 2013. Showtime president David Nevins stated that the tone of the ensemble series will be "very realistic and very grounded, not Bela Lugosi. All exist in human form in turn-of-century London." This was also reflected during production of the sound for the show, where Logan would often pull things back towards more realism. Logan, a lifelong fan of literary monsters, wrote the project on spec and scripts the majority of episodes of the series. It was intended that Mendes would direct episodes, but scheduling prevented this.
In March 2013, it was announced that the series would be filmed in the United Kingdom; eyeing the new UK tax credit for high-end TV productions that offers a 25% rebate. However, it was reported in August that production would instead take place in Bray's Ardmore Studios and other locations around Dublin, Ireland, because of the country's section 481 tax incentives. Filming began on October 7 and lasted 5 months. Reports indicate that the change was made as no stage space of a sufficient caliber was available due to the filming of major motion pictures in London.
In December 2013, Showtime announced its first production blog for a series with the launch of The Penny Dreadful Production Blog. The venue gives viewers an online, behind-the-scenes look at the series' production from its early stages of filming in Ireland through the end of the first season, featuring interviews with cast and crew. In February 2014, Showtime released a full-length trailer for the series.
Logan revealed at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International panel that one of the texts he thought about while planning the series that he would like to use in a future season is The Island of Doctor Moreau. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly prior to the premiere of the third season, Logan stated that the addition of Dr. Henry Jekyll was implemented because the rights to Doctor Moreau were not available.
Showtime announced shortly before the end of the first and second seasons that another season (of 10 and 9 episodes, respectively) would debut the following May. However, Logan had decided during the middle of the second season that the third season should be the last, and he pitched the third season to Showtime president David Nevins accordingly. They did not release this information until after the final season had completed, as Nevins stated, "given what I knew the ending of Penny Dreadful was going to be felt like a massive spoiler and it felt disrespectful to the experience that people were having with the show." Logan said regarding not releasing the information: "That's what the ending of this series is, it is meant to be a strong, bold, theatrical ending because I think that's what our fans like and to water that down with an announcement or having them know I think would be an act of bad faith."
|1||79% (56 reviews)||70 (37 reviews)|
|2||100% (19 reviews)||77 (14 reviews)|
|3||100% (11 reviews)||83 (9 reviews)|
The first season of Penny Dreadful received positive reviews from critics, with a Metacritic rating of 70 out of 100 based on 37 reviews. It holds a 79 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 7.4 out of 10, based on 56 reviews, with the site's consensuses stating, "Skillfully shot and superbly acted, Penny Dreadful is perplexing in a good way – even if it's a bit silly at times." The first season was described "as riotous as it is ridiculous, taking the macabre to new heights (or depths)" by The Guardian reviewer Ben Hewitt.
The second season also received positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it has a score of 77 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews". On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 100 percent rating with an average score of 7.6 out of 10 based on 19 reviews, with the site's consensus stating, "Penny Dreadful's second season maintains the show's intense, bloody drama, utilizing a vast array of fascinating characters and locales to tell a unique story."
The third season received very positive reviews from critics. On Metacritic, it has a score of 83 out of 100 based on 9 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim". On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 100 percent rating with an average score of 8.1 out of 10 based on 11 reviews, with the site's consensuses stating, "Penny Dreadful is back for a beautifully bloody third season of ever-expanding mysteries and Gothic horrors." Ben Travers of Indiewire gave it a "B+" grade and wrote, "Season 3's American-set storyline breaks things up nicely with some classic western elements mixed in with the show's established creature horrors, and the aesthetics of the production have never looked better.
The series debuted to 872,000 viewers (1.44 million including re-runs). This number does not include the 900,000 viewers who previewed the series on Showtime on Demand and the Showtime app.
|2014||4th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Most Exciting New Series||Penny Dreadful||Won|
|2015||19th Satellite Awards||Best Television Series – Genre||Won|
|Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Eva Green||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Rory Kinnear||Won|
|2014 IGN Awards||Best TV Actress||Eva Green||Won|
|13th Annual VES Awards||Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program||James Cooper, Bill Halliday, Sarah McMurdo, Lorne Kwechansky (for: "Séance")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial, Broadcast Program or Video Game||Matthew Borrett, Lorne Kqechansky, Graham Day, Jason Gougeon (for: "Séance")||Nominated|
|62nd MPSE Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing – Dialogue and ADR for Short Form Television||Jane Tattersall, David McCallum, Dale Sheldrake (for: "Séance")||Nominated|
|Best Sound Editing – Sound Effects and Foley for Short Form Television||Jane Tattersall, Oriol Tarragó, Andy Malcolm, Goro Koyama, David Rose, Marc Bech (for: "Night Work")||Nominated|
|2015 Dorian Awards||Campy TV Show of the Year||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|11th International Film Music Critics Awards||Best Original Score for a Television Series||Abel Korzeniowski||Nominated|
|2015 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Best TV Series||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|Best TV Actor||Josh Hartnett||Nominated|
|Best TV Actress||Eva Green||2nd place|
|Best TV Supporting Actor||Rory Kinnear||Nominated|
|Best TV Supporting Actress||Billie Piper||3rd place|
|Best TV Makeup/Creature FX||Nick Dudman||Nominated|
|2015 BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Best Costume Design||Gabriella Pescucci||Nominated|
|Best Production Design||Jonathan Mcknistry, Philip Murphy||Won|
|Best Titles||Erik Friedman, Rudy Jaimes, Ray Burris||Nominated|
|Best Make Up and Hair Design||Enzo Mastrantonio, Nick Dudman, Stefano Ceccarelli||Won|
|Best Original Television Music||Abel Korzeniowski||Won|
|5th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actress in a Drama Series||Eva Green||Nominated|
|67th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie, or a Special||Nick Dudman, Sarita Allison, Barney Nikolic (for: "Grand Guignol")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)||Abel Korzeniowski (for: "Closer than Sisters")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Main Title Theme Music||Abel Korzeniowski||Nominated|
|2015 Canadian Cinema Editors Awards||Best Editing in Long Form Television Series||Christopher Donaldson (for: "Closer than Sisters")||Won|
|12th Irish Film & Television Awards||Best Director – Drama||Dearbhla Walsh||Nominated|
|2016||20th Satellite Awards||Best Television Series – Genre||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Helen McCrory||Nominated|
|73rd Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Eva Green||Nominated|
|6th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Drama Series||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Eva Green||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Helen McCrory||Nominated|
|Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series||Patti LuPone||Nominated|
|18th Costume Designers Guild Awards||Outstanding Period Television Series||Gabriella Pescucci||Nominated|
|2015 IGN Awards||Best Horror Series||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|2016 Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards||Television and New Media Series – Best Special Make-Up Effects||Nick Dudman, Sarita Allison||Nominated|
|Television and New Media – Best Period and/or Character Make-Up||Enzo Mastrantonio, Clare Lambe||Nominated|
|14th Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode||James Cooper, Bill Halliday, Sarah McMurdo, Mai-Ling Lee (for: "And They Were Enemies")||Nominated|
|2016 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Best TV Series||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|Best TV Actor||Josh Hartnett||Nominated|
|Best TV Actress||Eva Green||Won|
|Best TV Supporting Actor||Rory Kinnear||Nominated|
|Best TV Supporting Actress||Billie Piper||Nominated|
|13th Irish Film & Television Awards||Best Drama||Penny Dreadful||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama||Sarah Greene||Won|
|Best Director – Drama||Brian Kirk||Nominated|
|2016 BAFTA Television Craft Awards||Best Make Up and Hair||Enzo Mastrantonio, Nick Dudman, Ferdinando Merolla||Nominated|
|68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More)||Johathan McKristy, Jo Riddel, Philip Murphy (for: "Fresh Hell, Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places, And Hell Itself My Only Foe")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)||Abel Korzeniowski (for: "And They Were Enemies")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic)||Enzo Mastrantanio, Clare Lambe, Caterina Sisto, Lorraine McCrann, Morna Ferguson (for: "Glorious Horrors")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Hairstyling for a Single-Camera Series||Ferdinando Merolla, Sevlene Roddy, Giuliano Mariano, Orla Carroll (for: "Glorious Horrors")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects||James Cooper, Bill Halliday, Sarah McMurdo, Mai-Ling Lee, Greg Astles, Ricardo Gomez, Matt Ralph, Alexandre Scott, Kyle Yoneda (for: "And They Were Enemies")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Limited Series, Movie, or a Special||Nick Dudman, Sarita Allison, Barney Nikolic, Paul Spateri, Dennis Penkov (for: "And Hell Itself My Only Foe")||Nominated|
|2017||15th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode||James Cooper, Bill Halliday, Sarah McMurdo, Mai-Ling Lee (for: "The Day Tennyson Died")||Nominated|
|Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Best TV Actor||Josh Hartnett||Pending|
|Best TV Actress||Eva Green||Pending|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Outstanding Period Television Series||Gabriella Pescucci||Nominated|
|Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards||TV and New Media Series – Best Period/Character Make-Up||Enzo Mastrantonio, Clare Lambe||Nominated|
|TV and New Media Series – Best Period/Character Hair Styling||Luca Vannella, Alexis Continente||Nominated|
|Television and New Media Series – Best Special Make-Up Effects||Nick Dudman, Sarita Allison||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: TV Short Form – Dialogue/ADR||David McCallum (for: "Ebb Tide")||Won|
|Bram Stoker Awards||Superior Achievement in a Screenplay||John Logan (for: "A Blade of Grass")||Nominated|
|Canadian Cinema Editors Awards||Best Editing in 1 Hour Scripted||Aaron Marshall (for: "A Blade of Grass")||Won|
|Edgar Awards||TV Episode Teleplay||John Logan (for: "A Blade of Grass")||Won|
In 2015, Titan Books announced a graphic novel series based on Penny Dreadful, written by co-executive producer Chris King, and writers Krysty Wilson-Cairns and Andrew Hinderaker. The first issue was released on May 11, 2016. In October 2016, Showtime announced that a new series would be released in 2017, set six months after the finale of the TV series. The project will be written by King, illustrated by Jesús Hervás, and published by Titan Books.
- Frankenstein in popular culture
- Dracula in popular culture
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
- Vampire film
- List of vampire television series
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