Friday, 24 July 2015

Penny Dreadful — Series 1 - Episodes 3 and 4: Resurrection and Demimonde.

You know, I’ve got to confess to getting very excited about the phrase ‘binge watching.’

Watching a box set — of movies or episodes of a TV series — in one go.

And will happily admit to having recently started to binge-watch series one of Sky/Showtime co-production, Penny Dreadful.

Thus far … ?

Thus far, I’m impressed with the piece.

And, having watched two episodes, tonight — episodes 3 and 4, Resurrection and Demimonde — am STILL impressed.


Episode 3 initially opens with a pre-title scene: that shows us a young Dr Frankenstein: his boyhood fascination with the romantic poets, the effect the death of his dog has on him …

And, following her attempts to console him, the death of his mother: from consumption.

And the start of his researches into death.

The episode then follows directly onto events immediately following episode 2: by showing us the death of Frankenstein’s new creation, Proteus … at the hands of the Creature (Rory Kinnear).

Frankenstein’s first creation, in other words.

The Creature is angered at having been rejected by his creator, when first made: and want’s Frankenstein to do something for him.

Make him a mate … 


Meanwhile, back at the house of Sir Malcolm, Sir Malcolm and Vanessa are re-joined by Ethan: who’s had his curiosity piqued by his initial working for the pair.

The trio head out — with Sembene, Sir Malcolm’s mysterious servant, and with Victor — to London Zoo.

Where they capture Fenton: someone who’s under the influence of a powerful vampire: and who Malcolm determines should be treated by a blood transfusion.

The episode closes with The group going their separate ways: whilst in the cellar, the captive Fenton greets someone with the word “Master” … 


Episode 4, Demimonde, sees Malcolm and Victor studying Fenton’s blood still further: with some consultative comments given by Dr Van Helsing (David Warner).

Whilst Vanessa, Dorian and Ethan and Brona head for a night at a theatre called the Grand Guignol.   Unknown to all of them?

The Creature lurks back-stage: having been hired as a stage hand by Vincent (Alun Armstrong), the Guignol’s actor-manager.

Sembene is ALSO in the audience: although why, we never find out.

And Brona and Dorian have had something of a sexual encounter.

Which is what leads to Brona and Ethan’s argument, near the end of the episode.

Their argument … ?   Leads to consequences … and a climax … 


Now … impressed … ?

Oh, yes!

Firstly?   I have to tip my hat to Rory Kinnear, as Frankenstein’s monster.

It’s been a while since I’ve read Mary Shelley’s original work … but I think that — between his performance and writer John Logan’s scripts — we’ve finally got the definitive take on the Creature.

In a way that Mary, herself, would both recognise and approve of.


Secondly, I’ve got to admit, for all I enjoy Dr Who and Game of Thrones, I’m definitely thinking the pair are being outclassed by this first series of Penny Dreadful.

I can only hope series two, and the recently commissioned series three, carry on the good work.

And lastly … ?

I’d like to ask a question.

I don’t know if I’ve seen something this good on a TV screen, since Torchwood: Children of Earth.

So why, given they’re capable of it, aren’t the BBC and ITV making genre TV, this good?

No comments: