With Showtime’s hit series Dexter having reached its long-overdue finale Sunday night with 3.3 million viewers, becoming the most-watched episode of the series as well as that of any Showtime original series ever aired, execs have to be hungry for a repeat success. While I doubt the Showtime execs expected numbers that high, they had great foresight in picking that time to air a teaser for their upcoming series Penny Dreadful, which aims to pull in the same genre lovers that remained faithful to Dexter all these years.
There’s really no sign in this teaser of what the show will eventually look like, but the shadowy and monstrous imagery is appealingly gothic, befitting the series’ Victorian London setting. And it’s a good approach to telling potential audiences what the show is going to be about. I’m assuming it’s Eva Green on the voiceover, saying she believes in curses, demons and monsters, asking if we the audience also do. Considering some of the more famous literary monsters are afoot, this sounds like it might be just a straight horror origin story of some kind, with a focus on villainous hate crimes.
But it’s being heavily promoted as a psychosexual horror series, and while I don’t necessarily understand what could possibly be sexual about Frankenstein’s creature, Count Dracula is probably a swinging young chap, and Dorian Grey’s life is filled with lustful decadence. I wasn’t even aware the Wolfman was a part of this flick. At least, I’m assuming the fur up there is a reference to old Wolfie. But everybody likes a bestiality mixed in with their social drama, right?
The show will star Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, a man known for his brash charms and for his non-aversion to violence. Green will play Vanessa Ives, the heroine who proves herself a worthy adversary to anyone who dares to oppose her. Timothy Dalton will star as Sir Malcolm, an African explorer on a personal quest. Brona Croft (Billie Piper) is an Irish immigrant who only wants to leave her past behind. Dorian Gray will be played by Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark star Reeve Carney and Victor Frankenstein will be portrayed by Cockneys vs. Zombies’ Harry Treadaway. The rest of the known cast is comprised of British actors Helen McCroy, Simon Russell Beale and Danny Sapani.
While this show’s possibilities would look bleaker if it were on Fox, it was created by John Logan, with Skyfall co-writer and director Sam Mendes on as an executive producer. Logan will be scripting the entire series, and the first two episodes will be directed by J.A. Bayona, director of the gothic horror The Orphanage and last year’s disaster drama The Impossible. That’s solid behind-the-scenes talent. Stay tuned in the coming months for more Penny Dreadful teasers and trailers as they gear up for the 2014 debut.