‘Penny Dreadful’: Sins Abound

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Ethan Chandler Dorian Gray Penny Dreadful Episode 4 ‘Penny Dreadful’: Sins Abound

[This is a review of Penny Dreadful season 1, episode 4. There will be SPOILERS.] 

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We’re right in the middle of season 1 of Penny Dreadful and that’s exactly how ‘Demimonde’ feels, like an interlude. There’s no bombastic introductions, extensive supernatural combat, opportunities to deliver jaw-dropping performances or major revelations. It’s a rather quiet chance to just be with the characters while delicately building relationships and planting seeds for what’s to come. It’s underwhelming, especially compared to episode 3, but hopefully it will prove beneficial.

Reeve Carney has his work cut out for him. Dorian Gray has appeared in two episodes thus far and there’s only four more to go, and yet his purpose is still a mystery. He gets more screen time than anyone in ‘Demimonde,’ but he still hasn’t proved his worth beyond being a pretty face.

The Penny Dreadful rendition of the character is clearly connected to the Oscar Wilde original, but that’s not enough. Perhaps there is a character-defining plot point to come, one that reveals how he’s connected to the main mission, but until then, it’s hard to get as caught up in Dorian’s storyline compared to the others

Ethan Chandler Penny Dreadful Episode 4 ‘Penny Dreadful’: Sins Abound

And unfortunately, that doesn’t help Ethan either. Enough hints already; it’s about time we know what Ethan’s all about. We already know Ethan is both some sort of supernatural creature and responsible for the murders and now his Absinthe-infused montage at the tail end of this episode further proves it, so why not just come out and say it already?

The kiss at the conclusion of ‘Demimonde’ is yet another link to Wilde’s work, but what did it do for the story in Penny Dreadful? Again, there’s always a chance that the moment will have importance down the line, but as presented in this episode, it doesn’t leave you hungry for more like the rise of Proteus, the death of Proteus or the arrival of Fenton’s master because it doesn’t do anything to build either character or affect the progression of the overall narrative.

The moments between Sir Malcolm and Frankenstein are the highlights of the episode. They don’t necessarily move the story forward, but they do reveal how Sir Malcolm feels about Frankenstein in comparison to Ethan and that adds a significant layer to their relationship, and a particularly appealing one at that.

There are loads of crazy, out-of-this-world things going down in Penny Dreadful and that makes such an honest, relatable bond stand out. In the midst of all this madness, two men who struggle with loneliness identify and take pride in their connection. It’s comforting, but also raises the stakes in the process.

Sir Malcolm Frankenstein Penny Dreadful Episode 4 ‘Penny Dreadful’: Sins Abound

Sir Malcolm and Frankenstein are two strong, engaging characters. You’re always concerned for their safety, but by having the pair investigate that noise upstairs after their conversation, it becomes more than concern for the individual. One also takes into account how what happens to one will affect the other, and that ups the suspense quite a bit.

The only issue with how that sequence concludes is that it leaves you wondering, now what? We know Fenton’s master wants Vanessa, but was finding her ever even an issue? And what did they even learn from Fenton’s torture? Yes, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (David Warner) popped up to confirm the odd property in Fenton’s blood that assists him with the eating of blood. But at this point, isn’t that just stating the obvious?

The big issue with ‘Demimonde’ is that no one makes much progress. There are some stunning visuals, namely watching Caliban do an outstanding amount of machinery and rigging work at theater, and also quite a few incredibly strong conversations – Vanessa’s chat with the young girl (Hayley Canham) outside the church being a standout. But it doesn’t feel as though they’ve accomplished very much.

There definitely isn’t as much immediate satisfaction at the conclusion of episode 4 as there was at the end of 1, 2 and 3, but if the gestation we experienced this episode strengthens what’s to come, ‘Demimonde’ will have served its purpose.

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Penny Dreadful continues next Sunday with ‘Closer Than Sisters’ @ 10pm on Showtime.

Follow Perri on Twitter @PNemiroff.

TAGS: Penny Dreadful

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  1. Liked the Episode and how they further explored the Characters,really well written !
    Just wish they wouldn’t had changed the Director,as the difference is like night and day between the first 2 eps and these last 2!

    Hope the next director proves to be better again !

  2. Making one of the character that most males watching this show Identify with make out with dorian gay was a mistake and probably just lost a bunch of viewers.

    • I must not be “most males” then because I don’t identify with Ethan at all. I also don’t think it was a mistake and will continue to keep watching, those who don’t, well….I guess we’ll be happier without homophobes complaining about a kiss between males.

      • Well put Dazz. I had responded to this vaguely homophobic rant, but used a bad word in it so it wasn’t posted. Ugh. anways, Doria is supposed to be unusually beautiful for a man (read: almost supernaturally so). He’s lived a very long time and has observed how exactly to read, manipulate and seduce anyone he comes across. You could draw parallels between himself and the flowers he was showing to Vanessa. He is beautiful but poisonous, drawing you into your own doom. If anything this shows that Ethan really needs to share or open up about what he is because if he avoids doing so, he’ll be at the mercy ( and seduction ) of far more dangerous supernatural creatures. I think Dorian is purposefully worming himself into the group to disrupt them at a certain time. However, I also think Dorian is in league with Dracula.

        • *Dorian, not doria.

        • So what’s you’re thinking on that? That somehow they’re connected because they’re soulless immortals? I don’t thin Dorian could be under his influence because if he’s not affected by regular ills I doubt Vamp poison would effect him

          Interesting not though. In the situation the Vampire is a gruesome creature who’s scary and has absolutely no charm that Dracula is usually shown to have. So along comes Dorian who doesn’t have so much charm as pure magnetism. The dialog, ambience settings, and interaction of those he talks to make him probably ten times as alluring as the actor actually is…..That’s some really good directing

          • i think that Dracula, well hoping that, Dracula is much more cognitive than the vampires we’ve seen. I think that if Dorian is in league with Dracula, he probably is doing it out of some hedonistic thrill in being evil or possibly was seduced by Dracula himself by less supernatural means, ie, they both take pleasure in depravity and Dracula could use someone like Dorian who can move about in the day (if that rule applies to Penny Dreadful vampires) or who can lure his real target, Vanessa with a pretty face and kind words. It’s a far fetched theory but it wouldn’t surprise me if the mystery man who Mina got involved with was none other than Dorian acting on behalf of Dracula (especially if he is physically and visually similar to the other greater/master vampires we have seen so far). so in other words, Dracula is the man behind the man trope (no pun intended) when it comes to Dorian.

            • Thus far we have not seen Dorian do anything even remotely wrong. All he has done is had sex with completely willing partners. Where does this depravity come from? he sounds, and acts like a nice man. Sure he seems oversexed and a bit bored, but kind, and completely respectful to all his lovers.

              • And that’s true of Dorian for a good part of the novel as well–if he has a sin, it’s one of vanity (which is encouraged by others who are really as guilty as he is–Lord Henry specifically and to a lesser account Basil who paints his portrait. It’s only really in the last third when things start getting out of his control that he becomes criminal. (Well unless you count a thing for opium as criminal, in which case it starts earlier.)

          • I think the connection is based on something else (intellectual, emotional) and is also the reason I disagree with the reviewer and think that the scene between Chandler and Gray does do something for the story (at least in regards to the character development of both). Both are pretending to be human, after all.

            Based on the music Dorian selected (Tristan and Isolde, love and death) and the theme of the images (the breakup, loss, grief, guilt, killing/bloodletting, desire) running up to the preliminary grab of the throat, Chandler may perceive that Gray may be one of the few who can actually understand him. For each, that’s a pretty intense level of connection.

        • yes I agree. Bigger then that he must hook up with Vanessa in order to bring about the unknown prophecy of complete hell on earth with the two Demi-Gods being Dorian and Vanessa. I think Dorian knows his role in this but Vanessa is unaware. I also believe Ethan’s girlfriend is going to become Frankenstein’s creatures wife.

          • LOL. If all it took was for Vanessa to have an orgasm for the world to end, then the end was inevitable. He looked as surprised as anyone when she freaked out. But then this story is so stupid who knows. I cracked up when they explain what exactly Vanessa did that was sooooooo evil that she became possessed was boinking an engaged dude. These are SMALL sins at best. Or really just not sins at all. Maybe in Victorian England they were, I suppose. Its no wonder this thing is leaking viewers like a siv.

    • all because he had sex with a man does not make him gay, maybe a bisexual, but that doesn’t necessarily make him gay. The whole thing with dorian gray was that he had no boundaries, that he wasn’t defined by labels and society’s expectations, plus he was debauchery incarnate who had an almost supernatural ability to attract both men and women despite what their sexual orientation was. Anyways, i don’t think Ethan running his johnson through Dorian (because i highly doubt Ethan is a bottom) will detract from viewers, but if it does good riddance. People who’d turn on a fictional character simply because they engage in some consensual man on man while being okay with the fact that said character has been hinted at having killed women and children in violent and sadistic ways are for lack of a better word “@s$ hats.”

    • “Dorian Gay”….that clever comment while feeding my face caught me by surprise, and I almost passed a piece of tomato and an olive from my salad out my nose laughing! Would that be a “Sneezer”, er, “Caesar salad”?

    • Tankd…I agree completely. Big mistake. Don’t know why they did it. Foolish move, by my thinking.

    • Continental Europe has never had the same rigidly defined sexuality Americans like to think they have. Dorian’s character is about exploring undercurrents of desire that most people spend their lives repressing. I think the last episode showed that perfectly. Although I”m not sure what the blood lust is about.

      • …”exploring undercurrents of desire that most people spend their lives repressing”?

        Sounds like you are projecting your issues onto others and assuming that most people feel and think like you do.

        …”rigidly defined”?!

        As a matter of conscience, design, and faith, thank you very much.

        “Although I’m not sure what the blood lust is about”?!

        It’s an animalistic instict, much like the inclination to mate with your own kind, that many people, thankfully, spend their lives repressing, in favor of heightening our spirituality.

    • I was enjoying the show, but just too many degenerative sex scenes.. makes you wonder about the writer

      • The writer, John Logan, is an openly gay man who has written several well received plays (most notably Red) and a ton of screenplays (good and bad.) This show was called by both him and and Showtime as a “Psychosexual Horror” piece as far back as last Fall. One of the advertising images was of Dorian at the orgy with a half naked man and woman. You have nobody to blame for being upset with the show’s “degenerative” sex scenes but yourself for expecting the show to be something it obviously never pretended it was. (I have more of an issue with the shots of the dismembered women but I merely look away from the TV for a moment and can handle them fine.)

      • I agree. American Horror Story has done the same. It’s all about “buzz”.

        The shame is, Penny Dreadful is otherwise a very well written show.

        • Well Ryan Murphy has trouble writing anything coherent.

          As for PD being a well written show (by a gay man–just making that point again,) Dorian Gray is also a very well written novella that 130 years back many people thought was filled with “degenerate” sexual ideas.

        • Hmmm, weren’t Penny Dreadfuls supposed to be salacious, sensational affairs? I think the contemporary show’s ‘degeneracy’ is in keeping with the spirit of the thing.

          • Exactly. They always pushed the boundaries of their society.

            I have a TON of issue with American Horror Story (I did mostly like the second season, which Tim Minear was showrunner for) and Ryan Murphy in general, but if anyone started watching it not expecting anything gay knowing he was the creator and writer than being put off by that aspect (much as is true with this work by a GAY author) is entirely their fault.

            Besides, horror in general is meant to make people uncomfortable–and more often than not, that involves some level of sexuality and not just violence.

    • Couldn’t agree more, has killed it for me.

      • Then don’t watch a horror show written by a gay author. Easy peasy. Enjoy, umm, Stephen King’s Under the Dome? (Unfortunately for you, gays are so rampant that I can’t think of one other tv show that is remotely horror based and yet has gays as part of the main writing team.)

    • I liked the previous, so i ordered Showtime and I was enjoying the show, up until the making out of two men. Nothing against homosexuality but for a straight man, watching men making out is a turn off. I just found out the writer (John Logan) is gay so it makes sense that he’d promote his lifestyle thru the show. Hey, if you’re gay then that scene was a turn on to you but please don’t sell the show as a Thriller but as what it is “A Gay Show”. By the way, I just canceled my subscription. And life goes on…

      • One of the ways Showtime sold the show was with an image of Dorian Gray with a half naked man and a half naked woman flanking him…. Jokes on you?

      • You cancelled because of one scene? Childish. The world is made up of many people.

      • So having to males hook up makes it a gay show. So every thing I watch with straight couples is a straight show, and only directed at straight people? That is just ridiculous.

        Are you so unsure of your own sexuality that seeing two men make out kills it? You write you have nothing against homosexuality but than you continue about the writer trying to promote his gay lifestyle on others. If that’s the case I’m prette sure than straight people are trying to promote their lifestyle on everybody else 24/7.

        Characters their sexuality doesn’t make it any less of a thriller/horror show. You are so blind and close minded it’s disturbing. Grow up.

    • Seriously? Well, as a straight guy who likes Ethan (and the other characters), I don’t care who he sleeps with. Straight guys need to calm down about guys having sex with guys. I can’t understand why it’s such a big deal. ??:(

  3. I’m guessing Ethan Chandler is a werewolf. That scene at the zoo with the wolf pack. The foreshadowing of the play in the last episode. Plus he wouldn’t let Frankenstein take any of his blood…… Also the rat terrier betting parlor upset him too. Dog = Wolf. The murders that are happening where the blood isn’t drained? Not vampires then….. A werewolf. An American Werewolf in London. Ha, ha.

    Did anyone notice that Ethan isn’t worried about catching tuberculosis (consumption) from Bruna Croft? Neither is Dorian Grey but that’s another story.

  4. Dorian you sexy beast getting in to everyone’s undies ;) But seriously though this is an amazing show.

  5. Yea Ethan is defiantly a werewolf but I think that has been made pretty obvious. As far as the kissing at the end of the episode…to what purpose does it serve? To prove that Dorian can seduce anyone…isn’t that built into the character of Dorian gray? Thats what I got out of it anyway. Good episode. I find the frankenstein monster guy particularly interesting ( cant remember his name right now ). They are defiantly doing a slow build on these characters but I think thats a good thing.

    • I had heard the name Dorian Gray beforo, but I didn’t know from where so I looked it up. After reading the legend of him….I’m not really sure what he’s doing in here either. His ledgen is that basically he sold his sole to stay young by haveing a painting of him mad that would age instead of him…..And that would basically make him immuned for things like consumption. I’m guessing this just might be one of the original Penney Dreadful tales from way back that they decided to throw into the mix.

      Speaking of throwing into the mix. We have about every monster story present from the `800′s don’t we? I guess we should be seeing a Jekyll and Hyde pretty soon then. Off hand I think that’s about the last story out of the 1800′s. We have vamps, Frankies boys, Ghosts, and probably Werewolves…..Oh…And even Van Halsing….That pretty much covers them once Jekyll shows up doesn’t it? Actually I kind of like this idea of all the baddies around town around the same time…Sure is entertaining.

      • Jekyll has werewolf undertones, Dr. Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde, but I think that would be cheating so I agree, I hope they do bring in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. On another note, Dorian Gray sold his soul to remain young and instead of using it to do good in the world, find love, etc. he, instead, creates a life of debauchery. I think the writers are going to use Vanessa and Ethan in a similar way as the brother/sister in the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” That is, Vanessa will fall for Dorian and Dorian will end up breaking her heart, leading Ethan to try and hunt down Dorian.

        Also, I love how the writers are taking the negative space from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and creating the series around it. Basically, we are at the point in Dracula where Jonathan Harker is trapped in Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania as Dracula is trying to move to London with the later portions of the book intertwined, like Mina’s disappearance.

      • The Portrait of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde.

      • The main good guy is thinking about a trip to Egypt (Timothy Dalton’s character, Sir Malcolm). Maybe a mummy is in the works? Dorian Grey seems to be just thrown in to show kinks and degeneracy. What about a portrait controlling his aging? One other fault is they seem to film alot of scenes too dark lighting-wise to really see clearly what is going on. The show Salem, another horror show, has the same trouble. The scene I realize is not supposed to look like Sunlamp City, but it is hard to enjoy a scene when it is too dark to see what is going on on the screen.

      • Glad to see Van Helsing in there. Hope he gets more active in future episodes.

      • Dorian Gray is not a legend: it’s a novel. You would do well to read it.

  6. Also the blood on Ethan after the fight seemed really fake…they just ended the fight and he wipes some blood off but otherwise looks fine? haha what is that?

    • In reality…How often does anyone in any showing actually look like people do after a fight……Seldom does anyon on screen puff out like anyone who’s ever been hit knows all too well. That’s the magic of hollywood…Getinto fights and refresh with a little water to the face….Then load a 6 shooter on Monday and shoot all week long without having to reload. A good example of that was when they were attacked by the vamps…I think his 6 shooters must have been fired at least 10 times apiece without a reload…

    • I thought it was odd to show he had no markings or injuries from the fight. but it could also further illustrate that Ethan is indeed not entirely human and heals quickly. Look at the scene in the first episode where he’s thrown clear across the room by the elder vampire… or gets beat up by the lesser vampires, he’s surprisingly durable for a “human” in the Penny Dreadful universe. I keep waiting for them to finally show us him transforming, although the scene with the wolves in the zoo,if you look at his eyes during the scene where he is “communing” with the alpha wolf, the way they lit the scene, there is an odd and subtle sheen to his eyes when he’s mostly in shadow as if his eyes are reflecting the light the way an animal does. anyhow, they’re killing me with this endless waiting.

      • Yea I never thought that maybe they are trying to show he is more durable and therefore not normal….good point.

  7. I could have sworn I saw a short snippet of Frankenstein observing the vampire blood through the microscope in the “Previously on Penny Dreadful…”, but could not remember ever seeing that scene until tonight. Is this a mistake, or am I seeing things?

    • That happened before already,it was in ep 2 I think in Murrays house as he was hired !

  8. Does anyone else feel Billy Piper’s Brona destined to be the Bride of Frankenstein? My guess “Demon” finds her dead in the street next week and takes her to his “Father.”

    • I am with you there,I think so too !

    • Yep, seemed obvious that’s where it was going back in episode 3.

    • totally.

  9. This series has tremendous potential for Victorian supernatural themes. However, they are definitely hurting it in my opinion by trying to keep over-riding sexual scenes front and center (same problem with Salem, but it is on a free channel, WGN Ameica, or at least included in my basic cable package).Dump the sex, concentrate on good spooky special effects and a good plot, and you will have a winner. I signed up for Showtime specifically to watch this, and it is not quite delivering what I hoped for. I am having a hard time justifying the extra $15 a month just for this show that is not bad but kind of luke-warm (good parts very good, but….). I am thinking about dumping Showtime, and just finishing watching this series when it comes to Netflix (who has it listed potentially as one it will get when available). I also heard from Showtime it will probably be out on DVD in about a year.

    • “America”…spelling, tsk, tsk.

      • With text speak it’s all going away fast now days anyway. Few more years and our English today will be considered “Old English” to make room for the Orwellian type of “New Speak” we seem to be transferring towards…

        As for me…I just don’t proof until later when I can’t change typos….So sue me…

  10. First I would like to say because ethan tamed a wolf does not make him a werewolf, and nothing else he has done gives you that clear picture except for the relaionship in the past with his father and he might be running from the law. What and who is Dorian Gray is what we should be asking, is he an artist with a mystery person in that back room. Th frankenstein created man is very interesting working in the theater. What happened to looking for Sir Malcolms daughter we are getting off track. Why did Eva Green do all that stuff and say all that stuff during the secance. What is this series really about. great crazy show, but kissin Doria did not have to happen

    • Dorian has his aging painting in that back room. They’re also not really going off track, just giving us more than just the main story to enjoy. That’s what good TV does, gives several different plot threads at once.

  11. just glad no sex scene between ethan and dorian, plus still loving the show it is interesting how ethan does not like violence at all almost repluse at it to some degree. Still wonder what he is though for he is something for sure.

    On dorian did it show how aged his back was when the person taking the photos of him and billie during the sex scene

    cannot wait to see the painting, can he look at it without dying

    • I wouldn’t doubt that a homosexual sex scene will be thrown into the mix at some point. That’s how shows “jump the shark” these days and get “buzz”. For some, nothing widens the eyes so much as seeing flesh on TV. Too bad, as resorting to such tactics displays lack of confidence in their storytelling.

      • I get your point that graphic sex scenes are often lazily used on cable shows, but really–while I can’t imagine a graphic gay sex scene anytime soon on this show (Ethan and Dorian seemed a one-off to me,) you don’t mind the elaborate straight sex scenes we’ve had that have done little for story?

        Openly gay creator John Logan mentioned the gay themes early on and the show has been sold by Showtime as a “PSychosexual” horror show (their term) from the start.

        From a Hollywood Reporter interview last Winter:

        “”I started thinking about themes and why almost 200 years after [Mary Shelley's Frankenstein] was written, we’re still reading Frankenstein,” self-professed “monster geek” Logan said. “I think it’s because the monsters break my heart. Growing up as a gay man before it was socially acceptable, I knew what it was to feel different, alienated and not like everyone else.”

        The first-time showrunner (Penny Dreadful is the screenwriter’s first stab at TV) noted that he drew inspiration from the old Universal horror movies of the 1940s that mixed and matched characters such as the Wolfman and Frankenstein. “I wondered if there was a way to do that now and take these characters seriously,” he said of the show’s genesis.

        Penny Dreadful, which is filming in Dublin, will also feature a fair share of poetic dialogue — which inspired Logan to create the series.

        “I chose to set the show [in 1891] not because it would be cool visually but because the Victorian era reminds me of right now,” he said. “They were on the cusp of the modern world … grappling with the very elemental question of what it means to be human. I sit down at my computer and I don’t understand any of the new world zooming toward us. We’re on the cusp of the same thing now: There’s frightening dissonance and excitement for unchartered waters. We will pull these characters from where they’re comfortable into unchartered waters, and, to me, that makes good drama.”

  12. This show could be good, but it has one glaring flaw. The character of Dorian Grey is played in a way that makes him seem way too modern. He’s not so much dark as Emo like (tired and dull). He seems bored with his life. And if the character doesn’t care about his life, why should I?

    • I do find the fashion choices for Dorian to be too modern (I know he’s meant to be a dandy, and part of the Aesthetic movement of wearing elaborate clothes that Wilde was, but—leather pants?) But the character in the novel was for most of it bored with his life as well–unless he was persuing some person or more opium–if anything Dorian here seems slightly more passionate about things like in his talk about the flowers (a talk that would have come from one of the other male characters in the novel IMHO.)

  13. I love this show. Any renewal news, have written to Showtime got no reply.

  14. While I liked this episode more than the Screenrant critics (I liked it more than episode three which I felt devoted a bit too much time to the Frankenstein backstory–particularly since it was not all that different from the official backstory most people know,) the one point in the review I would argue is the take on Dr Frankenstein and Sir Malcolm. I agree that the scenes were wonderful–but Sir Malcolm is starting more and more to seem like the most manipulative character on the show, and I’m not convinced he wasn’t saying at least *some* of that just to appease Frankie.

    • Wait until you see tonight’s episode. Sheds a lot of light on that conversation.

  15. This show will die fast. Historically homosexual shows normally will not last long. As for me I am a Homophobe and proud of it. I will not waste my time looking at crap like that. And I challenge all that are in the closet Homophobes to come out of the closet. Come on people! why do that have to put sex in the movie of any kind to be good?

    • All the power to you…. lol

    • I mostly agree. I know some of you “Enlightened” critics don’t agree because the main stream media has pushed that homosexuality is natural and anyone that voices their opinion to the contrary is vermin but if they continue with the homosexual scenes the show will not last. I was finding the show entertaining as it reminded me of the movie “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”. However when they got to the homosexual scene I felt like puking. I like a series with action, suspense, violence and sex but only between men and women or women and women and I’m proud of that. Ask most women and they’ll tell you they don’t mind watching a sex scene between women and women but ask them how they feel about a sex scene with man and man and they’ll make an ewww face. As so, I think Tankd has a point regarding how most men would probably identify with Ethan or Sir Malcom versus Dorian or Dr. Frankenstein and since there isn’t a big cast of main actors in this show right now like say “Game of Thrones” (My favorite series) or “Spartacus” (The best series ever) which has and had homosexual scenes I agree the show will lose a lot of viewers.

      • Have you heard of slash fanfiction? Or Yaoi japanese manga? Both are very explicit gay stories–often appropriating straight characters from other genres, written by women and read primarily by women. Queer as Folk in its later years when many got tired of it had, much to the surprise of many of its writers, its most loyal audience being straight women. And I suspect as generations grow up, this will be even more true. Hell, even in high school I dated a girl who liked porn–but only gay porn (mainly cuz she found the guys hotter, but whatever.) I’m not saying this is the norm, but it definitely is becoming far less abnormal. (And I think a TON of girls who say they don’t mind or enjoy lesbian sex scenes, but are straight, would feel the same if asked about gay ones.)

        That aside. It’s a show created and with every line written by a gay man. I say that’s his right to include gay themes if he wants. The network’s paying for it. Why shouldn’t he write what he wants? It’s not his responsibility to make sure some of his audience remains comfortable–he’s writing “psychosexual” horror. One point of a lot of horror is to push people’s boundaries about what they’re comfortable with. Certainly that was a huge part of 1800s horror (even if of course they were far less explicit back then with sexual themes and had to be implicit–yes, including Dorian Gray but that was due to the times.)

        I’m not saying you’re wrong for finding it gross or hard to watch. But to claim the show is ding something it obviously set up to do from the moment it was conceived just as a stunt seems odd to me (especially if it apparently will lose so many viewers.)

        Also, I doubt Ethan’s gonna have much more man on man action, so maybe some viewers can just pretend the last, what, 45 seconds of episode four never happened. Problem solved.

  16. Having the cowboy make out with the gay guy absolutely shattered the verisimilitude of the show.
    I could carless about whether someone is gay or not, so long as it fits with the story, but the ending of the last episode was nothing but shark-jumping trash in a limp-wristed effort to be edgy.
    I realize that most powerbrokers in Hollywood are gay. Great! Do whatever makes you happy but please deal with the FACT that homosexuality among men in America is around 1.5 percent of the population.
    It’s incredibly sad that John Logan places his personal gay-wish-fulfillment BS above and beyond the storyline and the expectations of 98.5 percent of the viewing public.
    Calling someone a homophobe because they are straight and looking forward to seeing the growing relationship between Ethan and Venessa is juvenile.
    It was already established that Dorian goes both ways. Fine. Bases covered. But to feminize the strongest male role in the show just to push the person political agenda of the screen writer is not only amateurish it’s damn pathetic.
    I was a huge supporter of the show. Now I won’t watch it. I hate being preached to and I’m am beyond sick of every show with any production value raising the rainbow flag at the expense of the plot. Put gays in every show. I don’t care. But don’t trash the show by forcing every straight-seeming male to have midseason gay sex with the token girly-man. It’s not accurate, it’s not edgy, and most of all, it’s not entertaining.

    • Yours is the best, and most accurate, comment here!

      That scene had “agenda” written all over it, and it felt totally forced and misplaced.

      • Why is it agenda? This is a show written by a gay guy. He has said since last year about how he sees a connection with these horror stories and being gay. You can argue that–but it’s your fault if you watched the show not expecting any gay “agenda” issues. I would think someone who reads websites like this would be smarter than arguing they knew nothing about a show they chose to watch.

        • I disagree. It was poor development of Ethan Chandler’s character. It should not have been a “shocking moment”, whether the show is run by a gay male or anyone else. It seemed too forced.
          The restraint he has shown when threatened or insulted did not match with him suddenly getting an invitation and saying yes “immediately” into the home of Gray. It was poorly written.

          • I dunno. His girlfriend had just gone hysterical and ran off and not wanted him to follow we know he has a past of being a pretty severe alcoholic (don’t ask me how he’s so steady with a gun,) and Dorian offered him the distraction of getting out of there, and specifically getting drunk.

    • Why are homophobes always so ignorant?

      The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a sexual orientation law and public policy think tank, estimates that 9 million (about 3.8%) of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. That is a lot higher than what you just said. And that number will be even higher in reality considering there are still a lot of people afraid to come out because of people like you.

      And why must you homophobes always be such dramaqueens. There is a bit gay in an entire pool of straight and all of the sudden iets a gay show, a writer trying to push his agenda in people their face and bla bla bla. Considering the ratings for the show didn’t change much during the entire season people didn’t seem to care about it.

      Don’t you think you homophobes are trying to push your agenda in our face. Think about that one, oh wait, thinking must be hard on you. Poor little homophobe saw two men kissing. THE DRAMA, LOL :)

  17. We need a new term for jumping the shark due to bashing people over the head with preposterous and gratuitous gay agenda pumping, i.e. episode 4.

    Blowing the shark?

  18. John Logan will once again write every episode (10!) next season. http://www.deadline.com/2014/06/penny-dreadful-renewed-for-second-season-showtime/

  19. This is a very great show. it is better then most movie’s i have seen and it is a tv show.

  20. THIS TV SHOW IS GREAT. CAN’T WAIT FOR SEASON 2

  21. Derek:

    Thanks for making my point for me. If only 3.8 percent of the population (and that’s no doubt wildly exaggerated) are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, gayness among men is less than half that number. So if you put 100 random guys in a row, at best, maybe 1 of them is gay.

    The other 99 percent ARE NOT GAY!!! Do you get it? Proportionately, more of them will suffer from full-blown Schizophrenia than have some strange fetish over other men’s fecal holes. The rate of gayness is nearly identical to those suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder (individuals who disregard social rules and cultural norms, have impulsive behavior issues, and are indifference to the rights and feelings of others). Don’t worry about it, it’s really rare and not a problem for 99 percent of the population.

    But does that mean every TV show should feature programing that appeals to psychos and promotes total indifference to the suffering of others as a perfectly acceptable way to behave in modern society?

    Face your own facts. Butt-sex between two men should appear on 1.9 or less percent of TV shows, (i.e. on the extreme fringes of what one is capable of viewing during a typical day). It should be something you can find if you’re looking for it, if that’s your thing, but to make it the center peace of every freaking show of decent production value on paid cable is utterly inappropriate to the point of insanity.

    A bunch of Gay Jewish men in Hollywood are hell-bent on promoting their lifestyle to kids, and that’s the only reason such abhorrent and deviant trash is televised at all (deviant in the sense of something that falls so far out of what’s consider normal behavior by the vast majority of people in a given population that it’s considered unacceptable in the minds of most people). Like 1 out of 100 people.

    I don’t care what other people do in the privacy of their own homes, it’s none of my business and I don’t want to know. Do whatever makes you happy, as long as it’s not hurting anyone else.

    But just because YOU don’t mind watching something (involving men) that makes 99 out of 100 men sick, doesn’t (or shouldn’t) entitle YOU to force ME and to watch it. I pay for cable same as you, so don’t tell me to “turn it off” when 99 out of 100 men paying for cable are on my side.

    Someone should hack into John Logan’s TV stream and insert a few seconds of something sick into the middle of whatever he’s watching, like someone murdering puppies, and see how he likes it. Why not? 1 out of 100 people have Antisocial Personality Disorders and think puppy murder is fun!

    Only puppy-murder-phobes don’t like it!!!

    • Please, dude, show me where all of these gay shows are happening. This ia a show by a gay writer. You look foolish for expecting that it wouldn’t have a gay element.

  22. Why does John Logan think everything is about him and what he does with his boners?

    • Cuz he gets paid the big bucks. That’s what happens when someone thinks you have talent… I doubt he has had his boner up a certain actor’s bum, but who cares. If you dislike the show because it has gay themes, watch one of the dozens of other shows that don’t. Problem solved.

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