Two of the entertainment world’s latest obsessions – mash-ups and reinvention of horror characters – make up the backbone of this new Showtime series. For fans of classic literature this is worth a check out as characters like Van Helsing, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and Dracula are involved. They are mixed in with original characters with the setting being London during the late 19th century. Written by Oscar nominee John Logan (Skyfall, Hugo, Gladiator) and executive produced by Oscar winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall), the series is a great example of creepy gothic storytelling involving possession, twists, a dark atmosphere, mysticism, and scary psychosexual drama. The only down side of the first season was that it was too short at only eight episodes.
Episode 1: Night Work: It is London 1891 the police are perplexed by a series of brutal murders. Sir Malcolm Murray (played by Timothy Dalton) and Vanessa Ives (played by Eva Green) are on the search for his missing daughter Mina so Sir Malcolm hires American sharpshooter Ethan Chandler (played by Josh Hartnett) and Dr. Victor Frankenstein (played by Harry Treadaway) to help them.
Episode 2: Séance: As part of their search Sir Malcolm and Vanessa attend a party at well-known Egyptologist Sir Ferdinand Lyle’s (played by Simon Russell Beale) mansion. There Vanessa is entranced by the handsome Dorian Gray (played by Reeve Carney).
Episode 3: Resurrection: His past comes back to haunt Dr. Frankenstein. After Vanessa has a vision of Mina (played by Olivia Llewellyn) she, Sir Malcolm, Ethan and Sembene (played by Danny Sapani) conduct a search at night at the London Zoo.
Episode 4: Demimonde: Vanessa becomes more and more enraptured by Dorian Gray. Sir Malcolm hires Professor Abraham Van Helsing (played by David Warner) to work with Dr. Frankenstein.
Episode 5: Closer Than Sisters: Vanessa thinks back to her past and what occurred leading up to the disappearance of Mina. We see how the bond between the two grew and then was broken by an act of betrayal by Vanessa.
Episode 6: What Death Can Join Together: Professor Van Helsing gives Dr. Frankenstein some insight into what could have happened to Mina. After spending a night with Dorian Gray unlocks something dark within Vanessa she falls into a battle over her own body and mind.
Episode 7: Possession: Over the span of a month Sir Malcolm, Ethan, Dr. Frankenstein and Sembene do what they can to wrench Vanessa away from whatever is inside of her. What he will do and how far Sir Malcolm will go to get it is revealed.
Episode 8: Grand Guignol: Sir Malcolm, Vanessa, Ethan, Dr. Frankenstein and Sembene go to the theatre the Grand Guignol in the middle of the night as they believe that is where Mina is. What they find there is the evil they have been searching out.
Special Features: What is Penny Dreadful, Literary Roots, Coming Together, The Artisans: Part One Set Decorations & Props, The Artisans: Part Two Production Design, The Grand Guignol, Prostitution and Sex in the Victorian Age, British Exploration and the Search for the Nile, The Science of Medecine, Ray Donovan: Season One, Episodes 1 + 2