Created by Sam Mendes and John Logan the team respectively behind Skyfall
, with John Logan as showrunner, the show thrusts the viewer into a Victorian England filled with mysterious characters somehow linked to the occult world and Josh Hartnett as a gun slinging American who doesn't know what's what. The show is based on old Victorian pulp horror stories, which were collected into a publication called Penny Dreadful, essentially containing scary stories, some unique, some based off classic literature, like Frankenstein. So while we might think the show is about a group of mysterious individuals dabbling in occult worlds, it's actually an amalgamation of different penny dreadful stories that somehow all fit into this one time period. As a viewer, you are just supposed to go with it once you realize the story is more pulp than grounded reality. Eva Green is a bit vague and too cryptic - obviously they can't show their cards too early - but it becomes clear that they are dancing around the issues. Eva is a bit too much, chewing the scenery, though it doesn't help that she is written somewhat poorly. The first two episodes are directed by JA Bayona, a fantastic director who we know from the amazing films The Orphanage
and The Impossible
. The issue here is tone, it's grounded one minute, then completely farcical the next, leaving it to the audience to figure out a good middle ground, however, I'm just not finding it.
FINAL VERDICT: Stream it.