HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Penny Dreadful: The Complete 2nd Season
HTS Overall Score:79
Last year’s “Penny Dreadful: Season 1” was a bit of a surprise for me. It looked like a twisted knockoff of “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, but soon made its own path with a demented take on Victorian supernatural myths. Witches, warlocks, werewolves, and immortal men reign supreme in a time that is just coming out of the barbarous past of people like Jack the Ripper. Delightfully twisted and full of surprises, “Penny Dreadful” continues on this season after some surprises at the end of the last. I shan’t say that it is better than the previous season, but it easily rivals it with engaging characters and a very unique show that manages to stay edgy and dark, as with most cable TV shows meant for adults these days, but doesn’t vomit on itself with excessive nudity (even though there is a good bit) like “Game of Thrones” or other HBO prime time shows.
When we left last season, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) had the devil exorcised from herself and she was free to live her life, or so she thought. While the devil may be gone from controlling her, he definitely wants her back. While Eva locks herself up in a fortress, protected by Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) and his manservant Sembene (Danny Sapani), Satan has sent a cadre of witches led by Evelyn Poole (Helen McRory) to bring poor Vanessa back into the fold. Holed up in her little fortress with her protectors and American sharpshooter Ethan (Josh Hartnett), Eva seems like she has the upper hand. Only thing is, is that the devil is not exactly someone to be taken lightly. Eva is being worn down piece by piece with Evelyn’s constant attacks of spells, and she has to rely on other people in a way that she has not been forced to do until recently.
Ethan has a bit of a dark secret as we found out last season. He’s from the Americas, but relocated to England in order to start a new life due to being a werewolf. Slaughtering a dozen people at the end of last season he’s holed up with Evan and Sir Murray in order to keep his vicious nature at bay from the public. Inspector Rusk (Douglas Hodge) of the Scotland Yard, is suspicious of the young man, but really has no proof of his involvement in the mass murder, but that doesn’t stop him from hounding Ethan in an effort to find out the truth. To add a few more sub plots, Victor Frankenstein has made himself a new creature, named John Clare (Rory Kinnear), and this time the creature wants himself a mate. Brining the dead prostitute Brona Croft (Billie Piper) back to life, we have a new female lead that draws both the attention of the very bored Dorian Gray, as well as Frankenstein’s own eye which creates a 4way romantic interlude that leaves John Clare livid with rage (uh, oh. Dr. Frankenstein can’t help but has his monsters ticked off at him).
The majority of the plotline is spent around Vanesssa and being hunted by the Devil and Evelyn. She’s the main character and given main billing on all the previews, and is given the bulk of the storyline. She’s gotten a good grasp on her supernatural powers as a witch, and with the conflict between her and Evelyn we get to see an intensity and bloodthirsty ferocity to the woman that wasn’t present in season 1. Timothy Dalton does what Timothy Dalton does best, and that is shine in every role he’s in. the man’s charisma and charm have delighted men and women for decades, and even in his aging years, the actor is dashing and incredible visceral in his role (giant of a man that he is. Josh Hartnett, who previously had fallen off the acting map, does a surprisingly good job in the role of Ethan, and gives us some really fun scenes to play around with his backstory (fans of the Wolfman franchise will recognize where his plotline is going really quickly).
The episode rundown:
Evil Spirits in Heavenly Places
Above the Vaulted Sky
And Hell Itself My Only Foe
And They Were Enemies
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=55242[/img]The 1.78:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray looks simply phenomenal, much like most modern high budget TV shows of the day look. Bathed in a blue and yellow filter, the show switches between the two at will, giving a very crisp and brooding image. The outside air is beautiful and slate blue, with deep shades of heavy dark blues and inky black levels. The Victorian era clothing is fantastically nuanced, with every line and fiber showing for all the world to see. Contrast is excellent, and skin tones look decidedly natural. My only complaint was that there is some slight banding that comes and goes, mainly with the opening credits, otherwise the image is pristine and well detailed.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=55250[/img]“Penny Dreadful’s” 5.1 Dolby TrueHD track is excellent to behold, with a fantastic level of immersion and aggressive tones to make it a shining example of modern television audio. The show has a lot of action and chaotic events, which lend itself to strong surround support and a pinpoint accurate level of directionality of effects. The creepy and eccentric score by Abel Korzeniowski is odd, yet strangely attractive, in its own way. Voices are crisp and clear, locked up in the front channel and the LFE channel is given quite a bit to play with. It’s not going to rival movies like “Transformers”, but the low end gets an aggressive boost that fits the mood quite well.
• Video Production Blogs
• Reeve Carney Roundtable
• History of the Occult
• Character Profiles
“Penny Dreadful: The Complete 2nd Season” manages to keep up with the quality of its first season, and keeps the audience entertained. With the introduction of so many dark and “edgy” TV series littering cable television these days, it’s not as shocking or as horrifying as it really tries to be, which is no fault of its own, but rather an indication of the glut that “adult” shows have on the market right now. Eva Green is a delight to behold, and Timothy Dalton’s addition makes the show even more worthwhile. The audio and video shine, as is to be expected from a modern Showtime series, and with the positive response from audiences, it looks like the show has at least a few more seasons left in it. If you’re a fan of bloody and horror infused supernatural mysteries, then I definitely recommend checking out the series.
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, Timothy Dalton
Created by: John Logan
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish DD 2.0
Runtime: 548 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 6th, 2015
Buy Penny Dreadful: The Complete 2nd Season Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Solid Watch
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