Thursday, June 05, 2014

Not at all Dreadful

You guys, you guys – are you watching “Penny Dreadful?” You’re not? YOU’RE NOT?? Oh, girl, you should. Because the Showtime gothic thriller is the most unexpectedly, delightfully queer show of the summer. How gay? Well, Josh Harnett just totally got it one with a dude in the last episode. (Dorian Gray, no less.) So, you know, pretty damn gay. The series is part horror, part mystery, all scary and totally good. Granted, there are far too many SPIDERS for my liking. But, still, if you can get past the creepy and crawly, it’s totally worth it.

Two Sentence Synopsis: A British aristocrat teams with a mysterious woman, American gunslinger and Dr. Frankenstein to find his daughter, who just might be under the thrall of Dracula. Yeah, really.

Part of the reason the show is so good is because it comes from veteran Oscar-nominated screenwriter John Logan. His previous credits include “The Aviator,” “Gladiator,” “Hugo” and many others. The first-time TV creator and showrunner is also an out gay man. So that may account for the refreshing equality of male and female nudity in the series. I mean, I’m pretty sure we’ve seen more dude butts than female breasts and we’re half way through the season.

The other reason the show is so good is because of Eva Green. The French actress has always had an other-worldly look – that pale skin, those big eyes, that chiseled face. And in “Penny Dreadful,” every inch of her facial real estate is explored and appreciated. As the mysterious woman, Vanessa Ives, she is the enigmatic figure in black with a strange connection to the darker side of life. She is, quite simply, very good in this.

(Billie Piper is also in the series, and she ain’t bad either. Not bad at all.)

While the series has given us full-on male-on-male sexual fluidity, it has yet to deliver on the ladies side. But there is a sliver of subtext to be scrounged from Vanessa’s past relationship with the missing daughter, Mina (above). Yes, Mina - a lot of these names are going to sound pretty familiar.

At times, I’ll be honest, I have really no idea what’s happening. But it’s that clever unfurling of the story, with touchstones of iconic horror figures interspersed, that makes it so thrilling. Also, Victorian gothic horror stories are just cool. So there’s that.


JW said...

the spiders man, the spiders. couldn't make it past the first 10 mins of pilot bc of those damn spiders. if only someone can do a spider-censored version, I'm all in.

Carmen SanDiego said...

Okay, I might have to watch that this summer
But only after finishing OITNB

Stevie said...

I was wondering if this would be any good, or have any decent LGBT plotlines. The trailer made it look like cheap horror, but now maybe I'll give it a go. Thanks!

Patrick Green said...

Thank you Dorothy for blogging about this. I started watching the show yesterday. I was going to anyway because of the beautiful Eva Green, it will be totally worth it.

egghead said...

Now that your stamp of approval is on it I shall take it more seriously. Seriously. I adore your musings and lines like "facial real estate".

I HAVE been watching this show and tell me if I'm wrong but are most of these shows like Black Sails, DaVinci, lit darkly? I must be going mad or getting old but I can barely see it half the time (closed captioning on too). This happens especially when there are gross things happening . . . so (it's a trick). Yes, yes, Eva Green. Also, the ending of pilot episode where Victor F. is having eye sex with his creation? That was so very beautiful and I am of course 100% lesbian and I gasped and grasped my heart! Very nicely done.

Now, it seems, Vanessa is truly MADLY in love with Mima? I love mad, desperate lesbian love run amok with abandon. :D