Penny Dreadful – a steampunk series with an engaging plot
Steampunk TV shows? If you think that good ones are few and far between, don’t loose hope – there is always more to be discovered. One quite hidden gem, though it was quite successful, is John Logan’s Penny Dreadful. Together with Sam Mendes Logan has created a show that features an engaging plot, and a Gothic atmosphere which makes the aesthetic of the show that much more interesting. Classed as a “horror” the show’s creepy and eerie vibe and mystery adds some charm and makes us want to see more, but also allows for some steampunk features and elements to make their way on screen, which we enjoy even more.
Something that must be mentioned, is the use of literary characters throughout the story. We are used to cameos of famous people, but Penny Dreadful actually uses them as main, reoccurring figures that move the plot forward and interact with one another. Pretty unique, as far as most shows go. How can you not enjoy characters that actually are Victor Frankenstein and his monster the Creature, Van Helsing, Dr. Jekyll and Dorian Gray? We also have a number of less known characters which also have their inspirations in literature, like Lily Frankenstein and Mina Harker, who is obviously inspired by Dracula’s Mina. There is something very enticing about watching a 21st century show with characters that were created so far in the past, and see them interacting with each other.
If you think the show is just a retelling of already seen stories, though, don’t worry. Despite having the same names, the characters are portrayed in ways you’ve never seen them before, with detailed backstories and new origin-stories that differ from the classic portrayal of the characters, but still keeping the essence of the inspirations and keeping alive the fascination that we have with the originals. They are also shown in a new, more morbidly realistic light and mixed in with other characters who we don’t know from before, ensuring that you still get some variety and new elements. These literary characters touch upon steampunk themes and make for a very interesting plot, which also adds variety and a different take on their lives.
Without giving too much away, the show is set in Victorian times (our favorite), and centers around Victor Frankenstein who works together with a gunslinger named Ethan Chandler and explorer Sir Malcolm Murray and how they fight the evils and supernatural beings of London. The hunting-down-supernatural-beings-aspect is something that in our opinion makes any show ten times better. Also, you have a Victorian setting to enjoy, with steampunk clothing to marvel at, and an alternative Victorian time-line that goes hand in hand with a lot of steampunk literature.
Besides, if you’re tired of shows that only air one season, this one has three, having run from 2014-2016. Perfect for a smaller binge-watching marathon, and the season three finale was already planned out as the end of the entire story, according to the director, so you don’t have to worry about one of those short, cut-off endings.
So why not give it a try? Victorian London, literary characters, and Gothic horror – Penny Dreadful is one of the most interesting steampunk shows out there that you can watch to get some steampunk inspiration.