The subtle trick Showtime's "Penny Dreadful is that it is far less about the blood, gore and the specter of gruesome death than the sharp pain and exhilarating pleasure of living, and the terror of feeling alone even in close company. Read our review in the May Picks section.
Before E! used video taped clips of his radio show, a lone Howard Stern hosted a one-on-one, half-hour interview program. Being probably the most thorough, intimate interviewers ever, he never tosses a softball question. Unfortunately--probably because Howard pried so well,I don't know--none of the Hollywood big guns appeared. Most of the guests were those who already appear on his #1 radio show (Donald Trump, Geraldo Rivera, Joan Rivers, etc.), which was fine, but probably not what E! was looking for. Too bad, cuz I'm sure Howard questioning Mel Gibson or Destiny's Child would be great. Incidentally, the first guest ever was Garry Shandling, and Howard returned the favor by doing a memorable guest appearance on "The Larry Sanders Show."
A couple of stand-outs: Marg Helgenberger ("CSI") and Howard re-enacted a Bram Stoker's Dracula scene--the one that ends with "Take me away from all this death!"--and did it seriously, and quite well! Howard wanted Marg to wear a shear dress, and she did, over her clothes! Very funny stuff. Plus, a very telling conversation with Phil Hartman about his marriage to his wife. The contents were so prefacing things to come that Howard had E! rerun the show (in place of the simulcast show) shortly after Hartman's death was announced.
A note to Jules Asner who hosts "Revealed" on E!, take some lessons from this show, from the King, then come back so you can ask a real question to be truly revealing.
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