This article contains spoilers pertaining to the first season of Penny Dreadful.
Showtime has just released the trailer for the upcoming second season of its horror-fantasy series Penny Dreadful, which features a literal bloodbath and clues about where creator John Logan is taking the familiar monster characters next.
It seems the past will be coming back to haunt the main characters, which include public-domain characters from Victorian literature such as Victor Frankenstein and his monster, Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Abraham Van Helsing from Dracula. Eva Green, Josh Harnett, and Timothy Dalton star as characters with various supernatural characteristics living in Victorian London and working together to try and figure out the disappearance of Dalton’s character’s daughter.
The comparisons to Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which also threw together a bunch of familiar free-use characters, abounded when the show came out, but Penny Dreadful has gotten more favorable reviews than the film adaptation of Moore’s graphic novel.
Penny Dreadful has gotten decent reviews, with a current rating of 70 among reviews aggregated by Metacritic. “This is, like Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a clever exploitation of characters in the public domain. But creator John Logan’s story also thrives on its own. Penny Dreadful is a beguiling examination of that space between life and death,” said The Wrap.
Former Bond girl Green’s performance in particular has been cited as a strong point of the show. The series’ ability to appeal to both critics and the genre-loving audience is what made Showtime decide to renew the series for a second season.
As for the second season, Logan spoke during the Television Critics Association press tour about what viewers can expect. “Last season, our heroes were hunters,” Logan said, per Variety. “This season, they’re hunted.”
Logan also said that Hartnett’s character, who for much of the first season just seemed like an American cowboy living in London with a dark secret, will finally come to the realization that he’s a werewolf. “Ethan, this season, learns exactly what he is,” said Logan.
We can also see from the trailer that Green’s character Vanessa’s experimental exorcism to rid herself of demonic possessions completely at the end of the first season apparently did not kill her. What we don’t know is whether the exorcism worked, making Vanessa essentially “normal,” or whether she’s still plagued with violent possessions.
Dalton’s character, Sir Malcom Murray, had just accepted Vanessa as his daughter, so a reunion between the pair is certain. Meanwhile, we still have to figure out what the spiritualist Madame Kali is doing bathing in all that blood, as well as who it came from.
Fans of the series are certainly promised more of the Victorian macabre aesthetic that characterized the first season, as well as Logan’s critically-acclaimed vision to take the classic monsters of literature seriously again.
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