Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

by Ariel Kelly about a month ago in tv review

Same story generations a part

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels
("Angel of Death" Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

One of the best shows to date was inspired by the original horror comics. Penny Dreadful, or bloods, were cheap violent novels that were popular during the mid-to-late Victorian England. They were more or less eight pages per installment. During their time they were considered second rate and gory. Writer G.K. Chesterton was a avid defender of the up and coming genre. Chesterton argued that the novels were "the most moral part of the modern fiction." (

Time has moved on since the Victorian era but stayed the same. Where machines were just taking off, we have been immersed in it. When Penny Dreadful came on t.v. my mother and I were hooked. Horror, suspense, thriller and the like are all favorites for both of us. One of my earliest memories with my mom was watching Interview with a Vampire but this was not the beautiful Brad, Tom and Antonio. These were the darkest of our nightmares.

It took almost five years for season two and it was worth the wait. The anxiety and excitement was matched by the undertone of the season. In the first season you have The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen but their their rawest, grittiest and darkest ways. In most ways it shows a portion of each origin story. With season two however, you see the makings of what will be Los Angles, California in the late 1930's. For all of America's history there has been strife and conflict so why what do you get when you throw in the supernatural elements? Like the gods and goddesses had direct and indirect roles in the Trojan War, so do angels here in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels.

Though set over eighty years ago, the issues that we see in media, politics and everyday life we see harsher examples in Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. Nazis, Latin Americans, gang culture and the American Dream collide in what has been a more subtle but gory way. Initially I will admit that I was doubtful because where was Josh Hartnett? Where were Dorian Gray? Vanessa Ives? Frankenstein?? The first episode put my mind at ease. I was in awe that they blatant history was there that many Americans do not want to accept. It was front and center.

The supernatural forces at play are both haunting and sisters and at odds with each other and I predict themselves eventually. One sister has a direct hand, or whisper, in the makings of chaos while the other "has no heart for the living". Growing up in a mill town in Indiana in a predominate Latin American community I felt that I was learning more of where I come from too. Friends who grew up and probably drowned out their grandmother's sayings found themselves mouths open and minds racing once I told them to watch the second season's first episode. Needless to say, they caught up with the second season only to get lost in the first.

In the era of M.A.G.A. Penny Dreadful: City of Angels displays the times we are in now. The Neo-Nazi ideals that have seeped into American society are at the forefront. The commentary for us knowing what we know of then, makes you realize that we are not so far removed as we would have liked to think. I am waiting still for a Afro-American character, how could you not have a black person in 1930's America? So I will patiently wait to see where the season ends. IF they do not introduce a Black character, I will be let down, for sure but not too surprised. From 2016 to now the rise of hate speech for Latin communities has been sickening so for the writers to make the main character Latin, warms my heart.

Though not as gory as the first season, this season has proven the writers, creators, actors and everyone involved have something to say and what they have to say runs deep. Each time I re-watch an episode I find another layer that could be talked about for discourse. I can't wait to see where and how they end this.

tv review
Ariel Kelly
Ariel Kelly
Read next: Run Necromancer
Ariel Kelly

I prefer to be called Ari, much easier than constant corrections.

I am a freelance writer and artist (paint and makeup).

I love history, movies, literature, "pop" culture (because it will be what we leave behind to a degree) and music!

See all posts by Ariel Kelly