I finally finished Penny Dreadful two nights ago and am bereft ever since. What an astonishing thing it is. I’ve never known anything quite like it, anywhere. You know I have a low tolerance for the gratuitous, and I’ve always said I can’t watch or read anything too disturbed, for I am too disturbed myself. But the supernatural is easier for me, I’m more at home there than with a lot of things. It’s true I’ve suffered to watch it, and I’ve loved, every minute of that suffering.
The story is a weaving of some of our best known characters in gothic and horror writing, without a shred of unreality, and set in Victorian times. The writing by John Logan is profound, intelligent, and profoundly deep, overflowing with all life. It has love, fear, dark, and light. You will quiver to hear it.
The acting is staggering. How can it be so? Is it that script? That luminous writing. Something of ourselves, rarely caught, or perfect casting perhaps? Or all these? I don’t know, but it is wondrous. Lily Frankenstein is played, there can be no other word, masterfully, by Billie Piper. THAT monologue, if you’ve watched you know the one. Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton are men to love, you will never see them the same. Every actor is brilliant and deserving of so much love for their portrayals, but my heart and soul belong to two. Can you guess? It’s Eva Green and Rory Kinnear, Vanessa Ives and Caliban.
While she is equally spectacular in her own person as in character, something in those eyes, those razor sharp expressions, it’s beauty yes, but more. She is, herself. I see her in the movie version of my book. But I’m jumping into the future. For now can I just say Eva Green both as herself, and Vanessa Ives, is luminous, powerful, unforgettable.
And Rory Kinnear as Caliban, is another level. This to me is the most moving acting I’ve ever seen. Is it acting? He is the one that most tugged at my heartstrings, that had me in so many tears for the beauty and pain that we share.
The picture I’ve chosen is from one of my favourite moments. Without giving too much away I loved every minute, across two episodes I think it was, spent at the witches house, well, almost. I will finish now by saying I don’t why it didn’t do better first time around, but I suspect it is not mainstream enough, even in this, golden age of television, and the witch. But it is a diamond, and I think it will go on to find greater audiences yet. I know I will have to see it again, and look forward to it, perhaps even more…
Have you watched Penny Dreadful? Are you a fan? I’d love to hear your thoughts…