Shane West and Janet Montgomery


Phew! Lots of blood.  I've just finished watching this series. "Why did I ever start?", I wonder. And why did I watch all the 13 episodes in the series? I can't actually say why. Never been interested in horror movies or series. Bewitched? I don't think so. There was nothing magic in this TV series, nothing bewitching to me. 

I started watching it out of curiosity while reading The Crucible before leaving for London to see Arthur Miller's play on stage (read my review + personal report of the experience). I don't know what I expected to find, but nothing of what I did. It is obvious, but I'll make itclearer:  I didn't like it much. Witches and witch hunting, black magic and supernatural, superstition and Puritans' fear-ridden rule in 17th century Massacchussetts are the main features in this story, with a bit of romance added. There are no complex characters, no great writing. It lacks substance.  

There is no John Proctor,  but a John Alden (Shane West), who is meant to be fascinating as the brooding handsome hero of the saga, but that wasn't enough. His love for Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) will lead him to very dangerous revelations and outcomes, though their behaviours, too,  seemed to me rather unsubstantial.  Good special effects, a few bloody and some hot scenes, some rather decent acting, barely acceptable scripts have not beguiled me. But, apparently, they have succeeded with sufficient viewing figures to justify the making of a second series. So, if you want to give it a try, there have been many who liked it. Don't be scared to be too scared, if I could see it, you will manage that,  too. 

Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful  - Main cast
A reunion of classic Gothic literary characters in Victorian London? That was something I couldn't resist and that was my reason to start watching Penny Dreadful. The 8-episode series, after a slow uncertain start, got me hooked and left me quite enthusiastic at its season finale. 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 GrayMina Harker and Abraham Van Helsing from Bram Stoker's Dracula, and Victor Frankenstein and his monster from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Thanks to very good acting,  characters' in-depth analysis and engaging scripts, I came to love this series episode after episode. I really appreciated all the characters and their stories: shy Victor Frankenstein drawn by his ambitious challenge to Nature, his wrecked, melancholic creature (Rory Kinnear) ,  irresistibly charming Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), the Lord of Darkness and his beloved prey Mina,  demon-possessed Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) and her guilt - ridden protector Sir Malcom Murray (Timothy Dalton), brooding, mysterious Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and his desperate love for dying  prostitute Brona Croft (Billie Piper). They  are the main characters in this dark, adventurous quest that conveys its best emotions in its study-of -character attempts (see episode 5).

Looking forward to series 2, which has  been recomissioned, worthily this time. We'll have 10 new episodes in 2015.

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