Showtime has released trailer after trailer after trailer for their upcoming Gothic horror series, Penny Dreadful, but to date none of them have been quite like the latest teaser posted above. Instead of showing off footage from the series, and establishing a modicum of plot, this latest clip serves as a character introduction of sorts; every sequence in the promo hints at the background of the series’ principal players, or so it seems, moving from one person to the next in mesmerizing style before wrapping itself up.

Everyone has demons, so marketing for Penny Dreadful likes to remind us, but rather than explore the dread inherent to that idea, this bit instead chooses to reassure us: whatever grim, inward or outward burdens you may carry, there are others out there who bear the weight of their own hardships. Then again, maybe that’s not actually much of a relief given the nature of the program, perhaps even less so when we consider the sources – it’s not very encouraging to hear all of this from monster hunters, spiritual mediums, macabre doctors, and depraved immortals.

But all the same, the idea presented here is that wherever you lurk in the vast gloom of Penny Dreadful‘s literary-based world, you’re not alone. Take that as a kind of comfort if you will. The overarching message here, though, appears to be one of introduction, as each piece of the teaser provides a backdrop for the characters displayed here, reflecting who they are as individuals while cluing us in to their personal narratives.

We’ve made the acquaintance of these people already, thanks to a handful of images Showtime previously released in tandem with mini-bios on each of the individuals presented in the teaser. There’s Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), a veteran explorer determined to put the wrongs of his past right; Vanessa Ives (Eva Green, recently amazing in 300: Rise of an Empire), a powerful medium weighed down by the very gifts that make her so extraordinary; Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), an American on the run from his own secrets; Dr. Viktor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), a surgeon too fascinated by far with the mysteries of life and death; and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), a wealthy young man who might not be as young as he seems.

What, exactly, ends up uniting these characters (the latter two of whom are ripped right from the pages of classic Gothic literature) is still less than obvious. The teaser’s ending shot, though, suggests that they’ll be working together as a team, a sort-of riff on The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as they fight against the darkness invading London.

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