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Showtime’s ‘Penny Dreadful’

Showtime premieres Penny Dreadful, which follows a hodgepodge of literary characters in Victorian London, Sunday, May 11 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Below are reviews from around the web compiled by B&C.

“Still, if Dreadful is a cluttered, unfettered mess, at least it's a lively and stylish one, graced with a convincing sense of period, a sly sense of humor, and (for the most part) a very strong cast. Just be aware that watching requires a strong stomach: Blood doesn't just flow in Dreadful, it pools.”
Robert Bianco, USA Today

“A genre series like Penny Dreadful -- really a unique amalgamation -- could have gone all kinds of wrong. But Logan, who has written each of the eight episodes, and director J.A. Bayona (who cements the overall look and feel of the series) keep things intriguing and fresh, fearful and entertaining. The characters are so vastly different from one another but mix well.”
Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter

“If there’s a drawback here, it’s the slightly uneven production values. The monsters feel a trifle generic — more Buffy the Vampire Slayer than anything else — which doesn’t blunt the brooding atmosphere or the grisliness of their handiwork.”
Brian Lowry, Variety

“The only significant misstep is in the casting of [Josh] Hartnett as the American. He's obviously a competent actor, but often, he can be a rather vague presence in films… Rather than providing a credibly calm center, Hartnett seems to have wandered in from another series by accident.”
David Wiegand, San Francisco Gate

“Is Penny Dreadful a great drama? After two episodes I doubt it, and I’m guessing its strength comes from not trying to be one, but instead owning its gilded, operatic ridiculousness.”
James Poniewozik, Time