We’re all pretty much in agreement that Penny Dreadful saw a marked upswing in quality in its recent second season.
This was largely thanks to the boosted role for Helen McCrory – a far better villain than the faceless vampires from Season 1. Whilst Madame Kali will be sorely missed in the upcoming third season, the entire cast has talent to spare and there’s an embarrassment of riches in the Victorian Gothic tradition just itching to be explored.
Here are some our hopes for next year’s third season…
1) Reunite our heroes, and anti-heroes, in London
They were understandably split up at the end of Season 2, but let’s not dwell on that. Nobody wants them apart for long and we don’t really care what convoluted reason is given to reunite them. Just do it quickly.
2) Remember this is a fantasy show: get on the diversity train when it comes to casting
With Sembene (possibly) dead and Sir Malcolm on his way to Africa with the body, there’s presumably a couple of scenes in our future with the diversity dial turned to eleven, but why not extend that to the whole show?
It’s a fantasy about vampires, demons and the occult so claiming historical veracity on the casting front just won’t wash.
3) Give Dorian something to do other than look pretty
Dorian has been short-changed thus far, given little to do of any consequence. Even his relationship with Angelique, clearly designed to be provocative and not much else, was brushed aside somewhat perfunctorily after a promising start.
Now that we’ve finally seen the portrait (which looks deliciously like it might go somewhat the way of Stephen King’s The Sun Dog) and he’s pledged allegiance to the altar of Lily Frankenstein we have renewed hope that he could now become a worthy villain we love to hate to love.
The big reveal for Ferdinand, that he is Jewish, revealed an interesting layer to everyone’s favourite Egyptologist.
Maybe avoid the obvious (a Mummy) and go off on a slight tangent and introduce a Golem. I’m sure Hecate could return to facilitate as a side salad to whatever her dastardly plan for the future will be.
5) Give Vanessa and John Clare more scenes together
Their meeting in the cholera pit was possibly the best part of Season 2 (well, aside from every scene that Madame Kali was in) and served as a quiet counterpunch to the histrionics we love.
Don’t overplay the card, but when two actors work that well together there’s no reason not to let sparks fly, or in this case, lightly simmer.
6) Get (even more) clever with the Gothic references
There’s already (possibly) been a very subtle nod to the Phantom of the Opera (a cut from Warren Roper’s masked face to a scene in an Opera House), amongst many others, but there’s so much more that can be done.
Why not have Frankenstein bump into Mary Shelley or have Poe turn up and gift Vanessa with a raven and a heart in a box for no particular reason. Have Lily dye a black streak in her hair as the reverse Bride of Frankenstein or reveal Sir Malcolm’s wastrel younger brother named Ernest, once lost in a handbag in Victoria station.
Maybe Dorian’s mansion could have Vathek’s Five Rooms (palaces, originally) of the senses or have Ethan tortured somewhere in a pit full of pendulums. These nods shouldn’t overwhelm the show of course and some of my suggestions are frankly ridiculous, but who cares – go big or go home.
7) Jekyll and Hyde
Okay, it’s unavoidable. Everyone wants an appearance from this pair. Someone get on the phone to Chiwetel Ejiofor, yeah?
Are you looking forward to Season 3? Let us know below…