Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Penny Dreadful: Fresh Hell

"What would Dr Frankenstein be without his creature?"

So, at last the second season starts on Sky Atlantic. It looks as though last season's big bad is going to be witches, but in the meantime we have character arcs to set up for the new season, lushly and beautifully shot by James Hawes as always.

We add to the feminine theme of witches with a riff on Bride of Frankenstein as Billie Piper returns to play said monster, while her prospective mate finds another grimly Victorian job with poor conditions, this time working in a waxworks exhibit, a la Madame Tussaud's, except much more influence by lurid crimes and, well, penny dreadfuls. His boss, I'm pleased to see, is played by the excellent David Haig. 

Elsewhere, Ethan dithers about whether or not to return to Anerica while Vanessa remains her delightfully weird, brooding self. He tells her of his blackouts, after which he wakes to much blood. Much will come of this, especially as an inspector from the Yard is investigating the deaths of his pursuers from the end of last season.

Meanwhile, it's made clear to Sir Malcolm by his poor, bereaved wife that, after presiding over the deaths of two children, their marriage is henceforth to be eked out as a cold, artificial she'll with the two of them living apart. His surrogate daughter, Vanessa, is now his only family. No wonder she runs into his arms, able to confide in no one else. The witches, it seems, led by the mysterious Mistress Kali, are after her soul...

A very promising opening, if not quite up to the heights of last season's opener. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.

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