Penny Dreadful has always been a curious show because, much like its namesake, it skates the fine line between high art and lurid camp. Flowery dialogue, literary references, an all-star cast, and refined period garb are mixed seamlessly with sex, gore, and demon possession.
When last we saw our cast of characters, they were all more or less screwed: Caliban was heading to the arctic, Ethan Chandler was being shipped off to parts unknown in a crate with shorn hair, Vanessa and Sir Malcolm were left bereft, and Dorian and Lily were conspiring to take over the world while waltzing in blood. Just your average Sunday.
But now, Season 3 looks like it’s going to tip that line in favor of the “sex and gore” side, taking a turn for the True Blood. Eva Green’s writhing skills are back to their old tricks.
Ordinarily, this might be bad news, as True Blood isn’t exactly a favorable comparison. But Penny Dreadful has always managed to keep a firm grasp on its narrative threads and mix art into its more batshit set pieces in ways that True Blood never managed.
So bring on a sexier, crazier, spectacular Season 3. It’s never been a better time for the gothic, and this is a rare show in which the bolder and more outlandish, the better.
Season 3 of Penny Dreadful premieres May 1 on Showtime.