For lovers of supernatural and horrors shows, Penny Dreadful has been the best production of 2014. Penny Dreadful is a British-American horror TV series created for Showtime and Sky by John Logan who also acts as executive producer alongside Sam Mendes. It first aired on television on Showtime in May 2014. The first two episodes of the series were both available on demand before the respective episodes were broadcast over the air. The title refers to the penny dreadfuls, a type of 19th-century cheap British fiction publication with lurid and sensational subject matter. The series draws upon many public domain characters from 19th-century Irish and British fiction, including Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mina Harker and Abraham Van Helsing from Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Victor Frankenstein and his monster from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
The cast is the show's best asset. Eva Green steals the show as Vanessa Ives, an enigmatic, composed, driven heroine who ignores zeitgeist and proves herself a force to be reckoned with. Reeve Carney plays Dorian Gray, a confident, entrancing, yet lonely, self-isolating man who cannot die. Timothy Dalton is Sir Malcolm Murray, a hardened explorer of the African continent, on a deeply personal quest to find his kidnapped daughter Mina. Rory Kinnear plays Caliban, a reanimated corpse brought to life and abandoned by Frankenstein who tracks down his creator and demands that Frankenstein create a mate for him. The show also brings back Josh Hartnett to television after a long time, as Ethan Chandler, a charming, brash, daring American man of action with uncanny marksmanship, who detests violence and is more complicated than he likes to admit.
After a slightly shaky start, (perhaps trying to encapsulate the stories of Frankenstein and his monster, Dracula, Dorian Gray, not to mention a rip-off of "The Exorcist", with a werewolf thrown in for good measure, might have been going a creature or two too far), "Penny Dreadful" turned out to be one of the year's more pleasant, as well as nastiest, surprises. Unlike the pretentious, art-house gore-fest that is "Hannibal" this was imaginative, fast-moving, just the right side of silly when it needed to be and intelligent, (and suitably gruesome), in just the right proportions, adhering very much to the spirit of the originals if not to their text. It was also very well acted by a decent and starry cast, (as a young Victor Frankenstein and his creature both Luke Treadaway and Rory Kinnear were outstanding while even Josh Hartnett acquitted himself quite well this time round), written and directed.
The first season aired in 2014, and on June 4, 2014, Showtime renewed Penny Dreadful for a ten-episode second season to air in 2015.