‘Penny Dreadful’ Full Trailer Reveals What’s Hiding in the Shadows

Published 1 year ago by , Updated March 21st, 2014 at 10:23 pm,

For the first thirty seconds or so of the full trailer for Showtime’s Penny Dreadful (seen above), you won’t be able to tell much difference between it and the numerous teasers and promos that have come before it. Indeed, the clip makes use of a great deal of the same footage previously seen in other preview spots in its establishing moments; Eva Green’s brief exchange with Josh Hartnett sets the tone of the piece, drawing us into an alternate vision of Victorian London stalked by all manner of creatures of the night.

But once we get beyond that opening conversation, the sound turns down, the dialogue all but vanishes until the final unnerving beat, and we’re treated to a cavalcade of images engineered to show off Penny Dreadful‘s potential for creepiness. Admittedly, some of the shots in this procession have cropped up before – the amazing bendable man, for example – but the vast majority of them are brand new, and they tilt either toward being outright freaky or just plain kinky.

By now, you may be familiar with the basic conceit here: imagine a world where characters of classic horror fiction – Dracula, Victor Frankenstein (as well as his legendary creation), Dorian Grey – all actually exist, living in isolation from society by virtue of their monstrous qualities and pursuits. That’s Penny Dreadful in a nutshell, though in between the supernatural players we have human cast members thrown in the mix as well – Vanessa Ives (Green), Ethan Chandler (Hartnett), and Sir Malcom (Timothy Dalton).

Penny Dreadful Cast Penny Dreadful Full Trailer Reveals Whats Hiding in the Shadows

What roles they each serve within Penny Dreadful‘s plot exactly isn’t entirely clear, but by now it’s fairly obvious that they’re all invested in the demimonde Green refers to in her introductory spiel. Likely enough, they’re all out to track down the demons lurking in the shadows, ostensibly to combat them for the greater good – or perhaps for more personal reasons. Regardless, they’ve got their work cut out for them; Frankenstein’s hard at work stitching together corpses, while Dracula’s out for blood.

As much as this trailer throws back the curtain on the sinister things skulking about under shroud of darkness, there’s still a sense of mystery hanging over what the whole thing is really about. What we do know is that Penny Dreadful comes courtesy of showrunner John Logan and executive producer Sam Mendes, who teamed up in 2012 and gave us Skyfall; a gruesome blend of horror archetypes might not be a project we expect from either of them, but thus far Penny Dreadful looks to play to their strengths.

If the show’s apparent top-down approach to plotting – beginning with the idea of mashing up numerous literary works into one entity – lends itself to well-drawn characters, and if they nail the proper tone for the material, then Penny Dreadful could end up being one of 2014’s more interesting new shows. We’ll see if they hit the mark come May.


Penny Dreadful premieres on Showtime on May 11th, 2014.

Follow Andy Crump on Twitter @agracru
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  1. This looks really promising. Glad to finally see something substantial. I only hope it doesn’t get too sexy. I’m getting kind of tired of premium networks constantly throwing T ‘n A at you just because they can.

  2. Creepeeeee.

  3. Ahh this looks freakin insane!
    Ill definitely be checking it out, I mean Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. And if Eva wants to get naked, that’ll be even better. :)

    • That’s what I was thinking.

  4. Showtime? Oh great, does this mean in the last episode Josh Hartnett’s character will end up as a lonely lumberjack?

  5. This should fill my Borgias fill. Plus, it’s beautifully direct.

    • *my Borgias fix, I mean.

  6. its got Timothy Dalton, thats all i need to know. favorite Bond ever

  7. This could be good, very good, if they don’t turn it into an excuse for sex and skin exploitation and related content. Too much gore and sex (or humor in some shows’ cases) can really ruin something that otherwise would be dramatic, intense, and suspensfully-frightful. I will watch this, but hope all the good I see in the trailers is not offset by the bad to the detriment of a potentially-good show.

    • It’s showtime…so I’ll doubt they tone down the nudity/sex scenes…

      • Yeah, “Skinemax” was the same way…use exploitation instead of good acting and plots to push their shows…that’s why I don’t watch much of their stuff. This PD show looks like I could enjoy it, however, if they don’t forget about telling good scary atmospheric stories and sell out just to the exploitive stuff. If I wanted that, I would get the “Porkhouse” Channel or buy Whammer Magazine.

        • I dunno, I don’t mind it myself.

          I guess I’m used to it because my earliest memories of this sort of sexual material was watching Our Friends In The North in 1996 with my parents and one of the later episodes (episode 5 of 6 I think) saw a scene between Gina McKee and I think either Daniel Craig or Mark Strong finally getting it on after the characters had been making eyes at each other for decades. Full on nudity and everything and didn’t take away from the show’s dramatic weight at all.

          The only times I’ve ever complained about excessive nudity being used as a crutch to cover up bad writing is in the constant stream of poor “comedies” that base themselves around jokes based on bodily functions or characters trying to get laid (or any Seth Rogen movie).

          I saw Antichrist based purely on the controversy surrounding it and enjoyed it as a nice artsy flick and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was so controversial about it. Then again, I never saw anything controversial about Baise-Moi or Intimacy either.

    • This spammer is a “penny dreadful”. He is dreadful and for a penny I’d use a
      “paste” procedure on him! Spammers need to get a real job and quit haunting websites like this one meant to entertain, with their virus-ware links.

  8. i dont habe showtime :/ but ill just watch it online. Looks good!