Penny Dreadful

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***This article contains spoilers. You’ve been freakin’ warned!

These days, the end of a TV show, no matter how far in advanced you’re aware that ending is coming, may not necessarily be the end (if you know what we mean). Your favorite show might get picked up by another network or streaming site, for example. And even if your favorite show ended with an actual conclusion pre-planned months in advanced, it still might come back years later in a reunion movie, miniseries, spin-off or continuation. And that’s why it’s so rare when a TV creator comes out and says “No! This ‘this is the end,’ is the end.” That seems to be the case with last night’s Penny Dreadful season finale, which is actually a series finale. (more…)

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“Let us dare” seemed to be the message of the week on Penny Dreadful as several characters took the plunge and dared to indulge in the idea that they could be happy. But this is Penny Dreadful, so things are bound to end in failure no matter how much our friends and heroes want to embrace that chance for happiness. What does happiness mean? Does it mean acceptance? Finding purpose with someone because they accept who and what they are? Even if what’s on the inside is darkness? That seemed to be the question for our cast on this week’s episode, which had new urgency leading into next week’s two-hour season finale.  (more…)

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After spending the majority of last week in the desert, Penny Dreadful returned to full court press this week by engaging all its characters, not to mention its more interesting storylines. Picking up the second after the end of last week’s tense father/son reunion, “No Beast So Fierce” gives us the most tense, though unintentionally hilarious, family dinner ever seen in the American West. On the flip side, a narrative is becoming clear: Victorian England is a man’s world, but that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. There are new friends made in this hour, and new resentments sewn, but ultimately some trust issues are going to be severely strained. (more…)

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A couple of things set Sunday’s Penny Dreadful apart from what’s happened in the series before. First, Eva Green got the week off, which given last week’s emotionally wrought, episode-long flashback to Vanessa’s harrowing days in the asylum was probably for the best. The second unusual happening was that this episode was not written by series creator John Logan, a first for the Penny Dreadful. I had to do a double take when I saw the credit come up and Logan was not listed as the episode’s writer, and while I had hoped it might be a chance for the show to strut with a new voice guiding things, I think it was more a statement on the creator’s interest, or lack thereof, in telling one character’s back story.  (more…)

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This week on Penny Dreadful, it was time for the annual get Eva Green an Emmy episode. Dollars to donuts, this will be actresses submission piece for this year in the tradition of “The Nightcomers” and “Closer Than Sisters”, by delving into Vanessa’s backstory and revel in her eternal struggle between the good and the evil within her; the pious and the decidedly less than pious aspects of her soul. Sure, the pronounced point of the episode was to reveal when and how Vanessa and Dracula first crossed paths, but let’s be honest “A Blade of Grass” was all about Green showing her range.  (more…)

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It’s not exactly subtle, but one of the key takeaways from Penny Dreadful is that monsters aren’t always monstrous and that the dividing lines between good and evil aren’t so much lines as they are porous borders that offer you little resistance as you walk back and forth from one side to the other. Every week, characters struggle with their inner-darkness, struggle against it, and try to prove to themselves more than anyone that they are not evil creatures meant to be shunned by society. For two main characters this week, finding that proof meant diving back into memories that they didn’t know they had, and it meant revealing something of a stunning new connection between the two.  (more…)

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Last week, Penny Dreadful didn’t lean so hard on the weird, and did a more “day in the life” episode for our assorted  and tortured gothic characters; “Predators Far and Near” seemed to be the antidote. The show sank a bit deeper back into the weirder side this week thanks to cannibalism, torture, and communicating through dreams with the mystical powers of wacky tobacky. What’s become, perhaps, a bit obvious is that with Dracula lurking in the shadows, and every other member of the old gang obsessed with their own stuff, Vanessa may be forced to deal with him alone, and that’s a troubling prospect since we’ve learned this week that he’s already got his claws into her.  (more…)

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It’s strange to say, but to kick off this third season of Penny Dreadful things almost seem normal. Although our characters are touched by the supernatural, they all just seemed to be going through the motions in “The Day Tennyson Died,” which itself was a day far from the ordinary in British lore. The day Alfred, Lord Tennyson died – October 6, 1892 – it was like a piece of Victorian England died with him, his standing and influence in Great Britain was as pronounced then as it is today. With a pall cast over the city of London, it’s appropriate then that we catch up with our heroine who’s cast a pall over herself. Alone in England as strange things start to happen again. (more…)

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When we last left the Penny Dreadful gang, Ethan Chandler was on his way home to pay for werewolf crimes, Sir Malcolm departed for Africa and Sembene’s final rest, and both Frankenstein and his Creature were left in emotional ruins when Lily decided that Dorian Gray made a better companion than either of them. As for poor old Miss Ives, she was left alone after sticking her thumb in the eye of the Devil and all his minion, maybe more messed up than ever. So where do we go from here? The new trailer for Penny Deadful season three has arrived with some hints. (more…)

Top 10 Nerdy TV Shows of 2015

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Congratulations! You made it to the end of the year 2015. You’ve survived three years longer than the Mayans said that you would, and as your reward, you are treated to one Best or Worst of the Year list after the other. So welcome again to our annual compendium of the Top 10 Nerdy TV shows.

How was the year for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror fiction on TV? In a word, excellent. As you may be aware, we are living in an era of Peak TV, which makes the compilation for a list like this harder than ever seeing as how among the some 409 scripted series that premiered on the air this year, a great many of them fit our core audience. Depending on your point of view, this is either a gift from the gods, or you’re being tested by them to see how long you can go without breathing fresh air outside your home.

The top picks for this year’s best of nerdy TV include zombies (not those ones, the other ones), cannibals, speedsters, detectives, Nazis, vampires, battling artificial intelligences, and the biggest cast ever put together for a TV show in the history of ever. Shall we begin? (more…)