The Pros & Cons of 'Penny Dreadful' (So Far)

Showtime’s horror drama “Penny Dreadful” has recently returned to unleash a new season of scares so Eclectic Pop has broken down the biggest pros and cons of the series during its run so far.

Pro: Eva Green as Vanessa Ives

Green has had a fabulous and selective career on the silver screen. Adept at carrying a show or movie on even the thinnest of scripts, Green's versatility and raw power is perhaps better suited to the juicy week in and week out developments of television. She was the best thing about Starz's short-lived series "Camelot" as the sympathetic schemer Morgana. Throughout the series only season, she managed to spin a compelling anti-heroine where there could’ve just been a one-note villainess. In "Penny Dreadful" she has better support on which to base her dynamic theatrics.

Con: The Pacing

If there is an exciting story to tell, let's get to it. Last season only lasted for 8 episodes. That's two less than your average cabler produces. The ability to tell a compact and rivetingly told story should be easily feasible. As wonderful as the cast is at looking pensive and holding a mysterious glare, they should be given more to do.

Pro: Ethan Chandler and the Reemergence of Josh Hartnett

After his role in "Pearl Harbor" launched him into an overnight teen heartthrob sensation, Josh Hartnett spent subsequent years as the rumored frontrunner for one superhero role after another. It all ended up being talk and after taking time off from his acting pursuits, Hartnett was never able to quite regain his previous career momentum. Had he returned in a role like that of Ethan Chandler and given a performance with the breadth he does on “Dreadful”, things might’ve been turned out differently. Believably brooding, quietly compassionate and with an alluring hint of danger, Hartnett gave the best performance of his career last season and proved he's capable of a comeback.

Con: The Content

There are certain developments and plot twists that are easy to assume given the genre realm it's dealing with is horror. Supernatural creatures, ghostly hauntings and possession (not a personal favorite) are par for the course. The more time the audience has to think about it, the less shocking the reveal is. Last season treaded water on stories that’s resolutions could be as complexly resolved as standing up in waste deep water.

Pro: The Atmosphere

The exquisite costuming, hair and makeup, music and cinematography give the series a gothic oomph, Victorian reserve and cinematic prestige.

Con: Brona, Tuberculosis and the Curious Case of Doctor F

Early in the first season Ethan embarks on a romance with Brona, a prostitute afflicted with an advanced case of TB. What begins as a pay for play arrangement, soon turns into a legitimate love affair. Her health declines rapidly and despite her coughing up blood, she and Ethan constantly hook-up. He acts as if she isn’t being ravaged by a highly contagious disease or that he is at any risk to develop it. Perhaps it’s an indication of a story reveal to come but it is incredibly strange that Brona herself finds nothing strange about this.

She seems to have no consciousness that she’s putting Ethan in any danger, except for a statement in passing and those who know of the relationship don’t really warn him of the risk he’s in. Dr. Frankenstein doesn’t pay it much mind either and it’s only towards the close of the season that he offers his medical services. For a man who's  made saving people his life’s work, Dr. F didn’t appear too quick on the uptake when it came to a life saving opportunity or so we thought…

The new season of “Penny Dreadful” is currently airing on Sundays at 10PM ET/PT on SHO

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