Penny Dreadful (TV Show): Why Can’t I Decide Whether This Show is Terrible or Not?

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Eva Green does something seductive and/or creepy as hell

Take a Drink: for old-timey (pretentious) vocabulary

Take a Drink: for occult rituals and/or screaming

Take a Drink: for sex

Take a Drink: for generic mentions of God or the Devil

Do a Shot: for transformations

Community Review


Movie Review

By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –

A Gothic horror cable show, with all the sex and gore that implies, from Skyfall writer John Logan, starring Eva Green?  What can go wrong?


While not a bad actor, this is a definite warning sign.

Penny Dreadful presents a late 1800s London populated by all the denizens of popular monsterhood featured in the pages of those cheap horror magazines- Penny Dreadfuls.  Eva Green apparently is irresistible to them all, including vampires, witches, werewolves, Dr. Frankenstein and his creations, Timothy Dalton, and Dorian Gray for some reason.

 A Toast

Eva Green and her *ahem* bosom buddies are a national treasure.  She’s straight-up perfectly cast, as is Dalton, who has gravitas for days.  Rory Kinnear accomplishes quite a bit saddled with some terrible makeup, and the mis en scene is aces- great production design and costuming, handsome cinematography, some spectacularly gory tableaus and ideas, and yet…

Beer Two

Penny Dreadful can’t commit.  It wants to have its highbrow cake and squash its face into it like a lowbrow feed trough.  One scene is high-fallutin’ ruminations on existence and the meaning of life, and the next is a montage of fully gratuitous sex and/or violence.

Beer Three


Dr. Frankenstein and the first baby-like monster of his we meet’s arc in the first season was one of the strongest I’ve seen- touching, and strange, and powerful.  In the second season he makes a female, bangs her after some emo nonsense, she transforms into some sort of uber-feminist femme fatale literally overnight, and he’s suddenly hooked on heroin like two scenes later.


Penny Dreadful, immediately after blowing up its credibility

Beer Four

Character development is an across-the-board problem.  Green is great, but far from the most compelling character, as much as the plot tries to insist otherwise, and her development is constantly undercut by the writers trying to use her to jog other characters’ development.  It’s a wonder they haven’t mated her up with every single male character by this point.

Beer Five

Penny Dreadful suffers from trying to serve too many masters.


Not Satan… more like Little Nicky

As a result, most characters are underdeveloped vis a vis the emotional attachment the writers seem to think viewers should have towards them, so twists and deaths land without weight and seem the bad kind of random- not reflective of the vagaries of life and death, but instead poorly thought-out writing.


So much wasted potential.  Sons of Anarchy is gone, so I guess I’m glad I still have something to hate watch.


About Henry J. Fromage

Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

One comment

  1. Hipster bullshit at it’s finest, a friend tried to get me into Penny Dreadful and now I have to reevaluate how long they’ve secretly hated me. Artistic potential bogged down by it’s own sense of self-importance… Hard pass. Great review.

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