Caliban is a main male character in Showtime TV show Penny Dreadful. He is played by actor Rory Kinnear.



Caliban, or The Creature as he is often called, is the first humanoid monster created by Dr. Victor Frankenstein. His unusual birth left him tortured and anguished, leaving him a lonely and misunderstood outcast. For his pain, he furious with his “father”.


Caliban’s Episode Appearances

  • Episode 1 – no appearance
  • Episode 2 -Caliban brutally kills Proteus by tearing him apart. He then tells Frankenstein that his “first born” has returned.
  • Episode 3 – We see Caliban’s “birth” and abandonment by Victor. After Victor left him for dead, Caliban lived on the streets of London. He was regularly beaten and abused because of his disfigurements. Eventually, an old actor took pity on The Creature, and brought him to a theater where he could work as a stage hand. It was there he got the name “Caliban”. Caliban explains that he has returned to Victor because he wants Victor to create a bride for him.
  • Episode 4 – Caliban waits for Victor outside Van Helsing’s office and threatens to hurt him is Victor does not make him a bride. Later that night he works as a stage hand for the play that Vanessa, Dorian, Ethan, and Brona go to see.
  • Episode 5 – No Appearance
  • Episode 6 – Caliban kills Van Helsing and threatens Victor.
  • Episode 7 – Caliban stalks Sir Malcolm’s house.



Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 8 Recap (1×08)

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 8 “Grand Guignol” opens up with Vanessa and Malcolm speaking in the mansion about Mina’s whereabouts . There, Vanessa explains to Malcolm that she has had visions of the vampires and Mina inside the Grand Guignol theater. Malcolm tells Vanessa he would do anything to save his daughter, and he will do whatever it takes to put her out of her misery.

Soon afterwards, Dorian arrives at the mansion so that he can speak with Vanessa as they have not spoken in several weeks since Vanessa’s possession. He tells her that since her “illness” he has spent his time traveling over and around Europe. However, his charm evokes little emotions from Vanessa, leaving Dorian quite bewildered. After turning down several date invitations, Dorian asks her to meet him at the botanical garden later on in the day.

We catch up with Ethan who is bedside with an extremely sickly Brona as she can barley muster up the strength to speak. After finishing a prayer, he sets out in search for the good Dr. Frankenstein. However, at the same time,  it becomes apparent that Ethan is a wanted man withtwo American men from a far keep a watchful eye.

After purchasing a powerful automatic handgun, Malcolm runs into Madame Kali (who you might remember from the seance scene). After discussing firearms and expeditions, the two flirt before Malcolm lies, saying that he hasn’t seen much of Vanessa since that night at the seance.

Back at the theater, Caliban is overseeing a practice scene between Vincent, Maud, and Simon. After messing up the ropes, Simon berates Caliban by calling him a monster and a menace. After storming off, Vincent assures to Caliban that he should not worry about, declaring “Show business, all bitches”.

In the basement, Maude brings Calivan an orange and apologizes for Simon. After discussing the book he left for her, she kisses him on the head, leaving him smiling and on cloud nine. Later on, Caliban douses his face with makeup to make himself more presentable. He then startles Maud by bringing her back an orange. After realizing it is him, she lets out a laugh at his face being drenched in the makeup. After attempting to dismiss him, she realizes that Caliban has been spying on her for some time now. However, Caliban presses onward, violently grabbing her by the neck and kissing her before exiting the room in at his own horror. This action later forces Vincent’s hand as he is forced to fire Caliban. Before, leaving Vincent and Caliban share a touching moment as the hug.

After Malcolm admits to Vanessa that he would sacrifice her to save his daughter, Ms. Ives heads out to the garden to meet with Dorian. She explains to him that they can not see each other anymore as he unleashes something quite dangerous in her. She leaves him with a farewell kiss as he stands in the garden, alone and rejected for the first time in his life.

With nowhere to go, Caliban returns to Victors, who is none to pleased with his abandoned son. With his back to Victor, Caliban tragically monologues his anguish and heartbreak. At the same time, Victor is aiming a gun to the back of the creature’s head. At this moment, a distraught Caliban tells Victor to pull the trigger as he would rather be dead. However, Victor does not and instead places his hand on his shoulder. At the same time, Ethan arrives and calls the doctor down so that he can help him with Brona.

Back at Bronas bedside, Vincent explains to Ethan that she would be gone soon. He has Ethan go out and fill a pail of water for him. When he leaves, Victor speaks with Brona. He tells her not to be afraid, and tells her that he believes in a place between life and death. He tells her that it is a place of glorious rebirth. At this time, he smothers her with a pillow, killing her and ending her suffering. After the deed is done, Ethan returns heartbroken. Vitor assures Ethan that the passing was one of ease and not to worry, as he will take care of the body.

A distraught Ethan takes his woes to the bar. There, the two American men from earlier confront him. They tell him that the have been sent by his father as they are there to retrieve him and bring him back stateside. After pulling out some chains, the tell Ethan things can be done the hard way or easy way. Calmly, Ethan stands up and chooses the former by easily beating the hell out of the two before leaving.

Ethan later meets up with Victor, Malcolm, Sembene and Vanessa at theater. The scour the building until they spot a vampire creature hanging above them. Suddenly, female vampires spring out from everywhere and attack the group. The group defend themselves for a bit but it becomes apparent that they are outmatched. The larger vampire creature approaches Vanessa, but he is killed by Malcolm by having his heart impaled with a blade. After stabbing it again, the creatures dies and the female vampires disperse.

On the stage, Mina appears before them and embraces Vanessa. However, her eyes quickly turn black as she holds Vanessa hostage by the throat. She tells the group threats of the master. As Malcolm calls out for his daughter, he realizes that she is gone. As Vanessa is about to be bit, Malcolm shoots Mina in the shoulder. After pleading with her father not to kill her as she is his daughter, Malcolm pulls the trigger and tells her he already as daughter.

Back at the mansion a distraught Malcolm hides his emotion, telling Vanessa they should decorate the house with a Christmas tree. They smile as he breaks down before embracing Vanessa, who is now the only form of a daughter he has left.

At Victor’s lab, the doctor reveals to Caliban the body of Brona who is to be his bride. He is overjoyed as Victor begins to slice into her cold body.

At a bar, Ethan is once again approached by the two men who assure him they going to take him back the hard way like monkey in chains. Ethan then begins to howl over in agony. As the two continue to call him a monkey and mock him, Ethan transforms into a werewolf under the full moon’s glow. Wolfman Ethan attacks the pair, spraying blood all over the bar and he shreds them up.

In a church, Vanessa speaks with a priest. She asks him to perform an exorcism on her so that she can be free of her inner demon. He tells her it can be done, but much like being touched by god, a touch from the devil can also bring a certain aspect of glory. Her asks her “Do you really want to be normal?”. Vanessa thinks this over as the finale cuts to black.

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 7 Recap (1×07)

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 7 “Possession”

We start this episode with Vanessa and Sir Malcolm talking in the sitting room. Vanessa seems physically fine, but the things she’s saying are strange. It seems like she’s being possessed, although it’s unclear exactly by what. Vanessa starts accusing Sir Malcolm of essentially raping his way through Africa, and proving Peter to rape the native women too so that he could prove his manhood. Books start flying off the shelves in the study, papers start flying around the room. It’s clear that Vanessa is being possessed by something powerful. When it looks like Vanessa is going to do real harm to Sir Malcolm, Sembene charges in the room and slaps her, knocking her unconscious.
Sembene and Sir Malcolm bring Vanessa upstairs and call for Victor. He comes to examine her, and she apologizes for her earlier spell. She seems to be ok now, but then she starts talking about the doctor’s virginity and trying to bite him. Thwn she tells him that a line from Shelly keeps haunting her, “No more let life divide what death can join together.” It’s the same line that Victor said to Van Helsing last episode, and it implies that Vanessa knows about Victor’s little creation. She’s clearly not herself yet. Victor leaves the room, aghast, and goes downstairs to Sir Malcolm to discuss her condition. Victor believes Vanessa is suffering from a psycho sexual breakdown. Sir Malcolm says she had gone out with a man the night before, so they both believe that diagnosis makes sense. The two men decide it’s time to call Ethan for help.

When Ethan arrives, he goes up to Vanessa’s room to see her. She is crouching by her bead. She looks pale and bloody, and her hair is matted. She seems happy to see him and takes his hand, but then starts asking him insinuating questions about his night with Dorian, and threatening to tell Brona. Ethan is clearly shocked, he hasn’t told anyone about that night. She starts screaming in another language, which we later learn is Arabic, and the men have to restrain her to the bed.

Sir Malcolm tells Victor and Ethan about that the Egyptologist said: that Vanessa may be a modern day incarnation of Amunet, an Egyptian goddess. If Amunet ever came into contact with Amun Ra, it would mean the end of the world. The men decide they will keep Vanessa alive as long as they possibly can, so that she can fight off this possession. Ethan asks Sir Malcolm if he knows what Vanessa was saying to him. He said yes, she was speaking Arabic. She was saying “let me die”.

Vanessa continues to suffer as the weeks go by. It doesn’t appear that Sir Malcolm, Ethan, and Victor leave the house or even sleep during that time. Victor develops a morphine habit. Ethan and Sir Malcolm discuss why they’re even trying to keep Vanessa alive. Ethan clearly cares about her, but it’s unclear why Sir Malcolm is so committed to making sure Vanessa gets through this.

Vanessa wakes up to Ethan sitting by her bedside. She seems to be back to her old self, at least for now. She thanks him for his kindness. Throughout this whole ordeal, he has been the only one to truly care about her. She asks him to pull the trigger and kill her if the time comes. Ethan smiles, slyly. “And send you to heaven?” he asks. She says if you believe in that sort of thing. He says he does, and that he believes in that other place too. He smiles again, and his eyes turn black. Vanessa’s old friend the devil is back. She realizes what’s going on and panics, saying she will fight him off again. He wants her to be his queen of darkness, and promises her immense power. Vanessa relents and they kiss and embrace each other.


The camera zooms downstairs and we see Ethan sitting on the couch, just to clarify that the devil was in Vanessa’s room and not Ethan. The men hear screaming upstairs, they see Vanessa writhing in pain. She leaps from her bed and crawls across the ceiling, then leaps onto the floor. All the veins in her body become large and bright red. The veins on her chest form hieroglyphics, just like on the skin of the creature that Frankenstein dissected in the first episode.

Time passes, through we’re not sure how much. Ethan and Victor are downstairs talking. Frankenstein’s monster is outside the house, stalking his creator. The stress is clearly getting to Victor, so he asks Ethan for a favor. Next thing you know, Ethan’s giving Victor a shooting lesson. It’s a fun moment in a dark episode.
Sir Malcolm is upstairs with Vanessa. She looks very, very sick. He asks her to reach out to Mina, now that she is in the space somewhere between life and death. She looks frightened and calls him a cruel man. All of a sudden we hear Ethan say “Get the fuck away from her”. He’s been listening the entire time. He drags Sir Malcolm out of the room, and tells him that if he’s been keeping Vanessa in this state on purpose, Ethan will rip his throat out. The men agree the best coarse of action is to call a priest.

The priest arrives thinking that he is there to perform the sacrament of last rites. The men explain the situation to him: what they really need is an exorcism. The priest refuses, saying it is forbidden. They let him in anyway to perform the last rites. When he sees Vanessa, he takes pity on her and pulls his chair close to her bed. She is restrained, what danger could she possibly be? She rips his cheek off with her teeth.

Vanessa easily escapes her restraints and starts attacking all the men in the room. They all manage to get out except Ethan, who pulls his gun on her. “Vanessa, I know you’re still there!” he screams. She begs him to shoot her, to put her out of her misery. It looks like he’s going to. Instead he pulls the St. Jude token off his neck that Brona gave him and places it on her forehead. He then starts praying in latin. It certainly looks like he performed an exorcism on her. Where did he learn how to do that? Vanessa collapses on the floor.
Ethan grabs his coat and flees the house, into the snowy night. We see Vanessa sleeping soundly in her bed, dreaming of recent events. The next morning we see her go downstairs to talk to Sir Malcolm.

“I know where Mina is”, she says.

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 6 Recap (1×06)

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 6 “What Death Can Join Together” opens with Vanessa and Sir Malcolm speaking about Fenton’s death and his master. Malcolm later expresses his displeasure with Vanessa as he feels she is not doing everything in her power to find Mina.

Meanwhile, Ethan returns from his night with Dorian to find Brona in bed, coughing violently. She apologizes to him for running out on him at the theater. Ethan is forgiving an tells her that he loves her with all of his heart.

Back at the mansion, Vanessa has a tarot reading so that she can learn more about Mina’s whereabouts. After drawing cards, she hears Mina’s voices along with the sounds of screams and a boat. She reports back to Sir Malcolm about sounds, telling him that something terrible seems to have happened aboard a ship. At this point, Dorian enters the scene where he asks if Vanessa would like to join him for an adventure.
With Vanessa gone, Malcolm and Sembene speak about what must be done if Mina can not be saved. They also concur that Fenton was able to communicate with the master, much like a bat would.

At the theater, Caliban is lingering around downstairs until the lead actress and his crush enter. She asks for him to fix a prop blood tube for her. As he fixes it, she shows kindness to him and talks with him about his books. In addition to that, she explains that her brother had an accident that left him scarred. Much like Caliban, he to is shy.

Later, Caliban leaves a book of poems for the actress in her room. As he watches her open it from the shadows, her boyfriend enters the scene. Her mate asks if the book is from his competition to which she replies no, and kisses him. Caliban sees this and cries.

After performing an autopsy on Fenton, Victor meets with Van Helsing about the results. Van Helsing explains to Victor that what they are searching for is a vampire. He explains that he has had much experience with the kind, as he once had to kill his own wife by a stake through the heart and decapitation. As he further explains the traits of vampires, Van Helsing warns the doctor that he should not let himself get consumed by his work.

At this point, Van Helsing and Victor are walking to the street. Van Helsing tells Victor he sees him as a son and think he’s is destined for something great. However, their conversation is cut short as Caliban pulls Van Helsing into an alley and snaps his neck. He tells Victor he will continue to kill those around him until he creates his bride.

Ethan joins Malcolm and Sembene as they search for clues in a “plagued” ship. On board, they discover the bodies of many woman who look like Mina, but are not. Suddenly, the master vampire awakes and awakes the rest of the vampiric women as well. They attack the three but are all put down by the men. Malcolm then sees the master vampire and his captured Minabehind a wall of flames. As he tries to save her, the master and Mina vanish.
After having her picture taken Dorians, Vanessa goes on a date that night with Mr. Gray. Their night ends back at his place, where they have an intense and violent sex session. However, the sex seems to have unleashed something within Vanessa as she hears a demonic voice and leaves. After she leaves, Dorian visits his portrait and his scratch wounds heal instantly.
Back at Malcolm’s, Ethan and Malcolm are having a drink. Ethan tells Malcolm that there are things that are beyond his control, and he is concerned that Sir Malcolm didn’t bring Vanessa with them to look for Mina. He tells Malcolm that he should trust Vanessa, or they’re going to lose a lot of battles. When Vanessa returns from Dorians, Malcolm says he has a lot to tell her. Vanessa looks terrible. Suddenly her feet lift off the ground and she starts levitating.

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 5 Recap (1×05)

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 5 “Closer Than Sisters” begins at Sir Malcolm’s house. We see Vanessa sitting in her room writing a letter to Mina. In it she’s says she’s going to tell Mina how the events that led to her being taken came to pass.

We then flashback to two girls running along the beach, one with dark hair and one with light hair. The girls are holding hands and laughing. They are clearly Vanessa and Mina. Little Vanessa tells Mina that they should go into the ocean and swim out as far as they can, but Mina is afraid and doesn’t want to. Current day Vanessa tells us that the girls grew up in estates next door to each other, and that the gate between their two estates was never locked, until the day it was locked forever.

Vanessa walks over to Mina’s house and says hello to her mother. The two girls and Peter, Mina’s older brother, have an unusual hobby: taxidermy. Vanessa is drawn to the predators, while Mina and Peter prefer the pretty, gentler animals. Suddenly a bell rings: Sir Malcolm is home from Africa! The two girls and Peter rush to greet him, and while he is happy to see all of them, he clearly favors the two girls over Peter. That night, the Malcolm’s and the Ives join together. The two families seem very close.

After dinner, Vanessa decides to take a walk through the Malcolm’s maze. She hears a noise in the maze and decides to follow it, thinking it’s Mina and Peter playing a trick on her. She rounds a corner and sees Sir Malcolm and her mother having sex. Instead of shocking her, Vanessa says that she “enjoyed” watching it. Vanessa goes home and prays, but God doesn’t answer her. Something else does. After that, Vanessa begins to change. She starts committing small crimes, like stealing Mina’s comb, that she tells herself is just “mischief” but she knows is much more.

The two girls grow up. Mina becomes engaged to an officer in the army, but Vanessa stays single. The Vanessa we see in these flashbacks is different than the Vanessa we know now: she’s wearing white, her hair is down, and she seems happy. She has lunch with Mina, Peter, and Mina’s fiance, and flirts with Peter a bit. Later, she tries to kiss Peter in the maze, but he rejects her. Not cruelly, he just seems frightened. He tells her that he is going to Africa with his father. She tells us (although not him) that she wants to tell him to stay, that he’s too weak to go to Africa, that he’s so beautifully weak.

That night there’s a big party: it’s the night before Mina’s wedding. After the party Mina and Vanessa are asleep in bed together, but Vanessa can’t sleep. She goes downstairs and finds Mina’s fiance drinking. She decides to show him the room with all of the stuffed animals. She tells him the eyes are the trickiest part, it’s trick to get dead eyes to look alive. She turns to Mina’s fiance and kisses him. He kisses her back, and the two have sex on the table. Vanessa looks up and sees Mina, watching them.

The aftermath is unbearable for Vanessa. She tries to see Mina, to fix things, but Sir Malcolm forbids her. She becomes extremely sick, although the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. We know that she is possessed by a demon, and Vanessa seems to know too. But her parents send her to an insane asylum. There they essentially torture Vanessa, putting her in a straight jacket, hosing her down, and finally drilling into her skull. When it’s clear she’s not getting better, they send her home to die.

Back at home, Peter comes to visit Vanessa. He wants to say good bye to her before he goes to Africa. She’s lying on her bed, catatonic. But as Peter starts to talk to her, she shows signs of life. She says he should have kissed her in the maze, he says he knows. As he’s leaving, she tells him not to go to Africa, he’s going to die there. It’s not a suggestion, but a prediction, and we already know Peter doesn’t make it out of Africa alive.

Some time after Peter leaves, Vanessa is lying in bed, looking at a mirror on her wall. She hear’s Sir Malcolm’s voice, and he tells her to recite some poetry. She says she can’t, she’s too weak, and that she knows he isn’t the real Sir Malcolm. He asks her to name him, she says he’s the devil. The devil tells her to recite the poetry, and then starts doing it for her. He tells her that he can give her the world, if she joins him. Vanessa at first resists, but then gives in and starts reciting the poetry. They kiss.

Vanessa’s mother is downstairs. She hears some strange noises coming from Vanessa’s room, so she goes to investigate. She hears Vanessa panting, like she’s having sex, and sees her writhing around naked on her bed. Vanessa turns her head, and her eyes are completely white. Her mother collapses, dead.

Some time after her mother’s funeral, Vanessa is walking on the beach. She sees Mina approaching from the distance. Vanessa is dressed in all black, Mina in all white. Mina tells her that she is forgiven, after all of her suffering, and that she is married now. Mina then tells her that she should have run after Peter, that day in the maze, and told him not to go to Africa, that he was too weak. Vanessa had never told Mina this, so she asks her how she knew about that. Mina’s eyes turn red, and she says:

“I know about many things now, Vanessa. The master has taught me much.”

Mina’s eyes turn brown again. She screams “Help me” and then vanishes, as if tugged away by an invisible rope.

Vanessa goes to Sir Malcolm’s house in London to tell him that Mina has been taken. The two both admit that they have blood on their hands. Sir Malcolm is at first still angry with Vanessa, but then softens and agrees to work with her and lets her stay at his house.

We see Vanessa finishing up the letter and putting in an envelope. She then puts the letter in a trunk. Inside the trunk are hundreds and hundreds of letters, all for Mina. Mina has been missing for a very long time.

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 4 Recap (1×04)

Penny Dreadful Season 1 Episode 4 “Demimonde” begins with Dorian Gray at a big sex party orgy with both women and men. Once the party is over, Dorian Gray enters a secret room in his mansion where a large painting lives. He sits and stares at The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Vanessa Ives and Dorian Grey run into each other at a botanical greenhouse garden. Their meeting is very sexually charged and flirtatious. They speak of what the flowers say to them, and Vanessa describes a particular flower as saying lovely, inviting words to her. Dorian then tells her that same flower is the poisonous and deadly nightshade. This could be a reference to how Vanessa is naturally drawn to darkness, or how darkness is drawn to Vanessa.

Meanwhile, Dr Victor Frankenstein brings the blood sample of the vampire corpse to hematologist Van Helsing. Van Helsing says that a property in the blood prevents coagulation, which then assists with hematophagy, or the eating of blood. It is clear that Van Helsing is “intimately” familiar with Sir Malcolm’s quest to find the cure to this vampire disease.

Caliban, Victor’s first subject, is waiting for him outside Van Helsing’s home. He is adamant in his wish for Victor to create him a bride. Caliban threatens Dr Victor Frankenstein and warns him about what will happen to his frail body if he does not follow through.

Ethan and Brona’s relationship continues to escalate in Penny Dreadful episode 4. As they lay in bed together, Brona tells Ethan of her past abusive relationship and how she had to run away from the marriage. Ethan is obviously falling for her, and wishes only to make her happy. So he brings her to the theater on a date that evening.

Victor and Malcolm have a vampire monster held hostage in the basement so that they can experiment on his body. Fenton, he hostage, keeps screaming and hissing frantically asking, “Where is Vanessa? I want my mother!” Victor wants to begin with a blood transfusion in attempts to cure Fenton, but when Ethan is asked to donate his blood he says, “That’s not a good idea – trust me”. It is left unclear what Ethan meant be this, but Sir Malcolm Murray offers to use his own blood before any questions can be answered. It is becoming more and more likely that Ethan Chandler might be a werewolf, which could be the reason why he does not want to give his blood. It could also explain his frantic reaction to Victor and Malcolm’s discussion about the reoccurring killings, burning the newspaper and yelling, “Christ you’re both morbid fucks!” Maybe the werewolves are involved with the murders.

Vanessa arrives at the scene, and Fenton awakes from his sleep. When he sees Vanessa he screams, “I need blood, you fucking devil whore!” Apparently the transfusion did not cure Fenton, so they feed him a cat.

Everyone is at the theater that night – Ethan, Brona, Vanessa, and Dorian. During intermission they all run into each other. Brona is very uncomfortable being there with both Ethan and Dorian. She runs out of the theater, crying that she and Ethan are kidding themselves with all this romance. She ends their romance by saying that they will no longer have sex until after Ethan has paid. Brona then has a coughing attack and passes out in the street.

Ethan leaves with Dorian Grey, who brings him to a place where they make bets on how many rats a dog can kill. Ethan does not respond well to the situation and ends up in a fight with some of the people there. Dorian brings Ethan back to his mansion to clean him up after his fight. They drink absinthe together and end up making out and taking each other’s clothes off.

Meanwhile, Fenton’s master arrives and frees him from the basement. The master goes to Vanessa’s room but she is not there. Victor and Sir Malcolm hear a noise, and go to Vanessa’s room to investigate. The master jumps out of the window after looking at the cross on Vanessa’s wall. Fenton attacks Sir Malcolm, but it does not end well for Fenton. Fenton dies as he is thrown against a broken window, uttering his last word, “Mother?”

Behind The Scenes

Ever wonder about what really happens behind the scenes of the hit series? Take a look at the Penny Dreadful production blogs below to see how sets are made, where the scenes take place, and who is responsible for creating the detail-oriented set decorations, wardrobes, and props.  The production blogs also take a deeper look into the 19th century Victorian London times. Watch the videos below to find out what life was really like during this time!

Production Blogs

Production Blog #1: What is a Penny Dreadful?

Production Blog #2: Literary Roots

Production Blog #3: Coming Together

Production Blog #4: The Artisans – Set Decorations and Props

Production Blog #5: The Artisans: Production Design

Production Blog #6: The Grand Guignol

Production Blog #7: Prostitution and Sex in the Victorian Age

Production Blog #8: British Exploration and the Search for the Nile

Production Blog #9: The Science of Medicine

Behind The Scenes

Inside Penny Dreadful:

Behind Episode 1 – Frankenstein’s Lab:

What is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein?

Much like the popular comic-movie franchise League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Penny Dreadful features its own versions of characters from classic literature. In the end of the first episode, we discover that the arrogant doctor’s name is Victor Frankenstein, and that he has finally fulfilled his dream of bringing someone back from the dead. Victor was originally the protagonist of Mary Shelley’s gothic horror novel Frankenstein, and is played by Harry Treadaway on Penny Dreadful. There are many differences between the two Victors–and between their creations, too. If you haven’t read Shelley’s classic, here’s a short summary to get you up to speed.


  • The book is told in the form of a letter from Captain Robert Walton and his wife. Walton is on a ship exploring the North Pole when he rescues a man out on the ice. The man is nursed back to health aboard the ship, and gives his name as Frankenstein.
  • Frankenstein detects impatience and ambition in Walton, and begins to tell him the sorry story of his life as a cautionary tale.
  • Born to a wealthy family in Geneva, Switzerland, Frankenstein became obsessed with lightning after seeing its effects on a tree. He uses it in countless experiments at college, including one regarding the reanimation of dead tissue.
  • Eventually, Frankenstein attempts to reanimate an entire body’s worth of tissue. There are complications, however, which force him to alter the body’s composition. When completed, the creature stands over eight feet tall, has yellow eyes, and its skin is thinly stretched over its bones and muscles.
  • When his creation is brought to life during one of Frankenstein’s experiments, Frankenstein looks at what he’s made and finds it hideous. The doctor flees his home, and the creature vanishes. He does not receive a name, as he does in Penny Dreadful episode 2.
  • Frankenstein gets sick and turns to his friend Henry Clervel to help him heal. Upon returning home four months later, he discovers that his brother William has been murdered, and William’s nanny Justine hanged for the crime. Frankenstein sees “the Creature” at the scene of the crime, leading him to believe his creation is the murderer.
  • Feeling horrifically guilty, Frankenstein flees once again into the mountains of Switzerland. The monster pursues him and eventually catches up. To his shock, Frankenstein discovers the monster is capable of intelligent speech.
  • The monster explains that he spent some time living near a country cottage. He learned to speak by imitating the voices he heard each day, and found a sack of books so he could learn to read. When he tried to befriend the family in the cottage, however, they ran out of fear for his appearance. The monster then burned down their house in a fit of rage.
  • Frankenstein is taken aback by the creature’s next request: that he make a female monster as well. The creature promises that he will take his bride to South America and hide in the jungle forever. The doctor reluctantly agrees.
  • While traveling and working on his new project, Frankenstein begins to have misgivings. He fears that the two creatures will breed somehow and create a monstrous new lineage of humanity. Frankenstein sees his creature watching him through a window, and destroys the female creation while the monster watches.
  • The monster confronts Frankenstein, saying that he will be with the doctor and his fiancee, Elizabeth, on their wedding night. He then kills Clerval, who came with Frankenstein to help, and vanishes again.
  • Briefly accused of Clerval’s murder, Frankenstein returns to Geneva and marries Elizabeth. That night, Frankenstein goes searching for the creature for their final battle, leaving Elizabeth alone. The monster takes the opportunity to kill Elizabeth and taunt Frankenstein with her limp body.
  • Frankenstein’s father dies from grief, and the doctor is filled with fury. He chases his creation to the North Pole, seeking revenge, but ultimately cannot kill it.
  • Walton takes over the narration here, describing how inclement weather and ice forced the ship to turn back. Frankenstein dies soon after, and the creature appears that night next to his body to express his remorse. The creature has had his revenge on his loveless creator, but it does not make him happy. Overcome by the weight of his crimes, the creature vows to kill himself to atone. In the book’s final scene, Walton sees the creature sitting on a chunk of ice, drifting off into the night, never to be seen again.
  • Frankenstein was written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley when she was just 18. Its subtitle, “The Modern Prometheus,” references the myth about a man who steals fire from the heavens and is punished for his ambition.

Trailers: Penny Dreadful

To get a sneak peek into the new hit Showtime series, take a look at the trailers below!  Although the trailers do not reveal a great deal about the plot of this psychological and thrilling series, you will be instantly intrigued after watching them.  Take a look at some of the creepy and disturbing characters and scenes you will witness when you watch Season 1 of Penny Dreadful!

Penny Dreadful Trailer #1:

Penny Dreadful Trailer #2:

Penny Dreadful Trailer #3:

Season 1 Look Ahead:

Meet The Cast of Penny Dreadful


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Eva Green as Vanessa Ives:

The character, Vanessa Ives is played by French actress, Eva Green. Eva Green began her career on stage, starring in Jalousie en Trois Fax in 2001. In 2003, she began her film career with the provocative movie, ‘The Dreamers’. From there, Eva starred in many different movies such as ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, ‘Casino Royale’, ‘Dark Shadows’, and many more. Most recently, she has taken on the character of Vanessa Ives in the hit Showtime series ‘Penny Dreadful’.

Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler:

The lead male character in the series, Ethan Chandler is played by Josh Hartnett. Hartnett began his career in 1998, with a role in ‘Debutante’. He has been in a number of films since then such as, ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Black Hawk Down’, ‘Lucky Number Slevin’, ’30 Days of Night’ and many more.

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray:

Sir Malcolm Murray is another main character in the series, who is played by Timothy Dalton. Dalton began acting in 1968, and has been starring in Movies and TV series since. He took on the role as James Bond in ‘The Living Daylights’ in 1987. After his James Bond stint, he appeared in many other movies, including ‘The Rocketeer’, ‘The Informant’, ‘Cleopatra’ and many others.

Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray:

Actor Reeve Carney plays the character, Dorian Gray. Carney is not only an actor but he is also a musician. He was a guitar player at B.B. King’s nightclub and has had two bands, Reeve Carney and the Revolving Band and Carney. Most recently, Carney starred in the Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Broadway musical.

Billie Piper as Brona Croft:

Billie Piper plays Brona Croft, who is one of the main female characters in the series. Piper is not only an actress, but she is also a very successful musician. At age 15, she signed a record deal in the UK and had a single debut at number one. In 2004 she began acting in films such as ‘The Calcium Kid’ and ‘Things to do Before You’re Thirty’. Billie also stars in the hit TV Series, ‘Doctor Who’.

Danny Sapani as Sembene:

The character Sembene is played by actor Danny Sapani. Sapani is an English actor, who has guest starred and starred in a number of films and TV series. He is known for his work in ‘Trance’, ‘The Oxford Murders’, and ‘Song for a Raggy Boy’.

Harry Treadaway as Dr. Victor Frankenstein:

English actor, Harry Treadaway, plays Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s character. Treadaway began his career in 2005, with the film ‘Brothers of the Head’. He has taken on many different roles in TV series and films since then. Some include roles in ‘Cape Wrath’, ‘City of Ember’, ‘The Lone Ranger’, and many more.