Those who have been looking forward to checking out Showtime's new period-set supernatural drama Penny Dreadful are in luck today as the premium cable network has opted to post the entire premiere episode for online for free. Entitled 'Night Work,' the full episode can be viewed on both YouTube and on Showtime's official website. The episode can also be watched using the Showtime Anytime app.
For those unaware, Penny Dreadful is set in Victorian London, and hails from the team of showrunner John Logan and executive producer Sam Mendes. The two famously teamed up previously on the James Bond blockbuster Skyfall, but Penny Dreadful truly represents uncharted dramatic territory for the duo.
Penny Dreadful stars Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, a charming, brash man-of-action burdened by a complicated past filled with personal demons, and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic heroine who is a lot more dangerous than she looks.
The cast - which includes names like Timothy Dalton (James Bond in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill) and Billie Piper (Rose in Doctor Who) - also incorporates several characters that are ripped directly from the pages of classic horror literature, among them Dr. Viktor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Count Dracula.
Showtime has kept the show's plot details pretty close to the vest up until now, despite the absolute avalanche of teasers, trailers, character bios, and other promotional material that has been flooding the web for months.
The relative mystery surrounding Penny Dreadful's Gothic tale has been carefully crafted into one of the series' biggest selling points, and since this isn't a review, we won't ruin anything for prospective viewers.
That said, it does seem a bit strange that after so much secrecy, Showtime has decided to put Penny Dreadful online a full two weeks before its scheduled premiere date. While obviously done to spark early interest, Showtime must realize that the actual premiere broadcast could take a hit in viewership. Presumably, the network feels that any new subscribers the show might attract is worth the potential ratings drop.
Those who choose to check out the Penny Dreadful premiere early will be going in almost totally blind, as very few advance reviews are available. Showtime obviously feels that the concept has a lot of potential, though, otherwise they wouldn't have invested so much capital into promotion.
It's been a long time since a Showtime original series opened with this level of hype. Let's hope the final product lives up to it.
Penny Dreadful officially premieres Sunday, May 11th, 2014 @10pm on Showtime.