This past week has been full of Penny Dreadful and tarot incidents. My tarot cards have finished purifying, and my first reading for myself was essentially my cards bitchslapping me and telling me, “We got work to do.” Getting told that I’m stubborn and need to be patient by a deck of cards is pretty bad, especially when everyone living in the house has said the same thing for years now.
Finishing Penny Dreadful was a time and a half. I already miss the characters dearly. For one, the show is a bisexual dream. It’s full of heartthrobs for my gothic literature-loving heart. If you enjoy horror narratives, this is definitely the show for you. If you enjoy morally gray characters and intertwining plotlines, this will definitely be a treat. It’s only three seasons, and it dives into tough subjects such as colonialism, sexism, religion v. spiritualism, sexual violence, and a great deal more. It’s lacking in POC representation, there being only one non-white character per season worthy of note. That is my main qualm with the show, but I did take great pleasure in Sembene (the only African character) being the one person who has some goddamn sense in the midst of all the craziness. I enjoy questioning religious themes, and I love seeing characters develop over time and yet not be completely redeemable. I got attached to everyone in spite of their misdeeds SPOILER Everyone except Dorian Gray, the death of the one trans character in the show is still a sore spot for me. I wished he would have had his portrait destroyed at the end, but his ending was incredibly fitting as well END SPOILER.
Even though we had new characters introduced who were separate from the source material, I found the use of the source material incredibly accurate and well done. The sensual Dracula, the poetic Frankenstein’s Creature, the mad scientist Jekyll, all of them were so well done I cried. The number of LGBT+ characters was very nice, and perhaps the strangest thing for me to be pleased with was the amount of male nudity as compared to female nudity. The willingness to show the naked penis gave me a strange amount of excitement mostly because, you don’t see that shit often. You tend to only see tits and vag, but nothing else. Maybe some ass. I should be clear, I’m excited because it just doesn’t happen and the imagery felt balanced. And as stated earlier, this show challenges a lot of sexist notions, so I found myself really enjoying the dichotomy set from the very first episode.
I really loved this show and the storyline has stuck with me. It will continue to stick with me for a while, and I hope someone else close to me watches it and comes to tell me about it.