'Penny Dreadful': John Logan's Thriller Debuts Sunday on Showtime

Image: 'Penny Dreadful': John Logan's Thriller Debuts Sunday on Showtime Josh Hartnett, left, as Ethan Chandler and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in season 1 of "Penny Dreadful."

Thursday, 08 May 2014 12:09 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Three-time Oscar-nominated producer John Logan will bring his "Penny Dreadful" 1890s-era thriller drama to Showtime Sunday with an assortment of well-known monsters and evil characters.

Logan serves as executive producer of the series along with Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Mendes won a directorial Oscar for "American Beauty."

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The psychological thriller brings some of the notable European classic characters together, including Dr. Frankenstein, Dorian Gray, and Dracula, among others, and drops them into Victorian London.

"Penny Dreadful" stars Josh Hartnett, who plays the "complicated" Ethan Chandler, and Eva Green as the female lead Vanessa.

"He's charming and brash, but there are demons behind his eyes," The Hollywood Reporter says of Hartnett's character. "He's more complicated than he likes to admit. Green costars as Vanessa, an enigmatic woman with haunted eyes, who will prove herself a force to be reckoned with as the heroine of the series."

Logan told The Hollywood Reporter that he believes stories involving monsters like Frankenstein will still scare today's audience.

"I started thinking about themes and why almost 200 years after (Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein') was written, we're still reading Frankenstein," Logan said. "I think it's because the monsters break my heart. Growing up as a gay man before it was socially acceptable, I knew what it was to feel different, alienated and not like everyone else."

The San Francisco Chronicle's David Weigand said that while "Penny Dreadful's" monster mash is not a new concept in film and television, younger viewers will likely be interested in the series.

"If you grew up in the century before boy wizards, magical wardrobes and CGI effects, you may have been into movie monsters like Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, and Frankenstein's monster, not to mention invisible men and creatures from black lagoons," Wiegand wrote.

"Universal (Studios) couldn't keep telling the same story over and over again, so eventually, it started putting various monsters together in the same films, something that John Logan replicates in his new Showtime series, 'Penny Dreadful,'" he continued.

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