With Newsroom, Game of Thrones, House of Cards and Downton Abbey all on break, there’s nothing really interesting on TV. I gave up on Food Network long ago, I don’t watch reality shows and I don’t find talent shows entertaining one bit. Then, the girls arrived for the weekend, Alex suggested Penny Dreadful and Sam said her friends had been recommending it too. We tried it and I liked it.
Penny Dreadful is categorized as a horror series. The story revolves around a father (Timothy Dalton) looking for his daughter, Mina, wife of Jonathan Harker. Helping him is Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), his daughter’s childhood best friend. Together, they enlist the assistance of a show gunslinger, Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway). Frankenstein enlists the help of Van Helsing (David Warner) but Frankenstein’s creature whom he calls Caliban kills Helsing for his creator’s delay in creating a bride for him. Woven into the lives of these characters is a bisexual Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney).
Yes, the series puts together characters from classical novels in a story that integrates parts of the plots of the original novels into a whole new fantasy tale about vampires, possessions and extrasensory visions. There is a lot of nudity and gore which might initially give the impression that it is just another commercialized ho-hum series meant to pander to the viewers’ basest instincts but Penny Dreadful, nudity and gore notwithstanding, is a magnificent artistic achievement. The production design is superb, the cinematography (the lighting, especially) is nothing but perfect and the acting deserves a standing ovation. I never really appreciated Eva Green until I saw Penny Dreadful.
The first time I saw Eva Green on the screen was in Casino Royale and her portrayal of Vesper Lynde did not impress me. There was something about the way she spoke that annoyed me; what exactly, I couldn’t say. Then, I saw her again as Artemisia in 300: Rise of an Empire and my opinion of her went down ten notches (to be fair, there was nothing in 300: Rise of an Empire to be impressed with). I had already dismissed Eva Green as another starlet who got by on the strength of a good-looking pair of boobies when I saw Penny Dreadful.
Given the right role and project, Eva Green is a wonderful actress. The expressive face that can deliver such range of emotions with a single downcast look and the voice (which no longer annoys me) that speaks every word with such clarity even in a whisper… I now take back all my nasty comments about her as an actress. She definitely isn’t just another face and pair of boobs. What an actress. What a fine, fine actress.