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.
This series concerned ' The Mission ', a centre ran by a group of nuns in a poor part of town and the hapless casualties of urban life who went there for help. It was a brave scheduler who put it into a slot normally reserved for male action fantasy type shows, but the stories were actually scripted by the likes of Philip (Avengers)Levene and Elaine Morgan,who easily adapted to the new social awareness, with conscientious, gritty ' kitchen sink ' dramas.
Although there was pathos,Francis White for example gave the performance of her life as a woman on the brink of madness after seeing 'a vision'. Has she seen something? or is she having a nervous breakdown? The sisters must try to find out. There was certainly humour as well,with Kenneth Cope and Angela Baddley giving hilarious performances of a lodger struggling with his oft inebriated landlady. Romance too! as Gemma Jones in one episode had to decide between joining the sisterhood or running off with Martin Shaw.
The show did have one continuous glamorous element and this was the young nun Sister Benedict (played by Joanna Dunham), who had slight misgivings about returning from the warmth of missionary work in Africa to work in London.
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