WARNING THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR PENNY DREADFUL EPISODES 1-5
Showtime’s Victorian Horror series Penny Dreadful is joined the ranks as not only one of the best horror shows, but shows period. It’s takes on classic characters from Dracula, Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and various horror tropes has been fantastic thus far. Along with magnificent performances by pretty much every actor (except perhaps Billy Piper).
But I had hoped for all that. What I didn’t expect was that the show would address queer content with such a delicious nonchalance. Victor’s obsession with building a man. His meek poetic nature and close relationship to his mother provide the audience with a character with a hint of gay subtext. And we have Dorian Gray as a proper bisexual.
But what really shocked me was when macho Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) ditches Vanessa (Eva Green) to go drinking with Dorian. And I nearly died of a stroke when after some absinthe, Ethan hauled off and kissed Dorian and they proceeded to strip. And the queerness kept coming after that with Vanessa’s flash back episode in which she had some heavy lesbian subtext with bosom buddy Mina, ruined her wedding and tried to molest Mina’s sissy brother (who proceeded to die in the wilds of Africa). The irony of a show so rooted in Victorian England would be so fluid and modern with it’s approach to sexuality is one of it’s strongest points.
Penny Dreadful airs Sundays at 10PM EST on Showtime