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.
Next to last entry in the series and it shows. It's a pretty dull 30 minutes of Friday and Smith tracking down a blow-hard con-man posing as as a cop. He preys on the vulnerable, especially the young and the elderly. Perhaps the most interesting segment is his ex-wife detailing what a a shiftless braggart he is. Joby Baker has an extended part as a teenage victim, which he handles well. Of course, the series was always low key, but this one is plain dull. Too bad the series had to wind down in this undistinguished way.
I've got to come up with ten lines in order to post this comment. It might be helpful to note that audience attention in 1959 was turning from realistic police shows like Dragnet to glamor detective series like 77 Sunset Strip, produced by a major studio Warner Bros. with many more resouces than an independent outfit like Webb's Mark VII productions. The new era became most marked by the advent of Peter Gunn, a hip urban drama that captured the Kennedy era of wry detachment, Ivy League grooming, and a cool jazz score. If Dragnet symbolized the mainstream values of the Eisenhower period, Gunn signaled a turn toward what can be characterized as the "in-crowd". Times had changed
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