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A&E

TV Review: ‘Penny Dreadful’

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Two and a half stars

Penny Dreadful Sundays, 10 p.m., Showtime.

Characters from various classics of supernatural literature (Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray) team up to fight and/or embrace evil in the wildly silly Penny Dreadful. Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill explored a similar concept to more rewarding effect in their comic-book series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (which was made into a terrible 2003 movie), but Penny Dreadful creator John Logan is more interested in horror than in superheroics. Both extremely gory and extremely pulpy, Penny Dreadful is so overwrought and histrionic at times that it makes American Horror Story look subtle. Stars Timothy Dalton and Eva Green lend some class to the proceedings, but the show takes itself a little too seriously to be campy fun. The 1890s-era sets and costumes are impressively lavish, as are the blood and guts, but the ridiculous tone and cluttered storytelling prevent the show from living up to its literary inspirations.

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  • Every book adaptation should be this good.

  • Made from the “kids-won’t-care-how-badly-we-slapped-this-thing-together” school of filmmaking.

  • A requiem for America this is definitely not.

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