Showtime’s new original program, the Gothic horror series Penny Dreadful, is a curious beast for sure, but also one that’s very much been resonating with most of the viewers who’ve been tuning in, during the month that’s passed since its premiere episode aired (read our review). The show is now confirmed to return for a second season, which show creator John Logan – Oscar-nominated screenwriter of such films as The Aviator, Hugo, and Skyfall – has already begun writing.
Penny Dreadful has, so far, lived up to its name; by offering a show that is heavy on the pulpiness and kink, in addition to embracing certain popular trends in pop culture right now (see: blending together multiple iconic characters and/or intellectual properties), the series is, in many ways, the embodiment of what could be considered a modern “Penny Dreadful” for cable TV – set in late 19th century England, anyway. That’s not to say the show is flawless, but between the various mysterious plot threads being slowly unraveled and scenery-chewing to remember from Eva Green, it’s of little surprise that this show has found an interested audience.
According to the official Showtime press release, Penny Dreadful has been drawing 4.8 million weekly viewers across multiple platforms; that includes, it being the network’s currently most-watched new show through its Showtime On Demand and Showtime Anytime avenues. With numbers like this, it’s no wonder that Showtime Networks Inc. President David Nevins says renewing Penny Dreadful for season two “was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made.” Production on the next season – which will be ten episodes long (two more than season one) – is slated to begin in the months ahead, on location in Dublin, Ireland.
[MILD SPOILERS for Penny Dreadful season one, episode four ahead.]
The second half of Penny Dreadful season 1 promises to (at least, partly) payoff the mysteries teased throughout the first four episodes. That includes, shedding light on the connection between Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and the absent Mina (Olivia Llewellyn); revealing what, exactly, is up with Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and the deep, dark secrets he’s clearly been keeping hidden; and unveiling the true identity of this “Master” character, what he wants with Vanessa – and why Professor Abraham Van Helsing (David Warner) seems to know so much about the blood qualities of its kind (hint, hint).
Indeed, now that the show has managed to get what is arguably the less interesting backstory material and related, though necessary, heavy-lifting out of the way – by establishing the thematic motifs of the series (a la symbolism-heavy discussions of poisonous orchids and the like) – the stage is set for Penny Dreadful to dive deeper below the surface of its League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-esque premise and truly carve out a dark, twisted, horror mythology to call its own.
Penny Dreadful season one continues next Sunday with “Closer Than Sisters” @ 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.