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.
Sit down for an exclusive interview with Ted the zombie. At an early age Ted learned of his talent for sending grown men running and screaming like little girls. He quickly catapulted to ... See full summary »
Sarah Bergeest Still
Paramedic services in Toronto are provided by Toronto EMS, and its ambulances are white with a giant blue "A" painted diagonally on the side of them. The ambulance used by the main characters is an unmarked ambulance, and their uniforms do not reflect the name of the service they work for. See more »
Episode 1. Pretty good start. I immediately liked the hero (Craig Olejnik is perfect casting) and I was entertained not only by the story, but by the way the story was told.
Episode 2. I like it. The don't overuse the gimmick and - when they do use it - the use in in an intelligent way. The cast are great. The cop is written as being very smart and the hero is written as often being wrong. So, it's interesting to watch them working.
Episode 3. Craig Olejnik is a great leading man. He sells the idea of hearing people's thoughts and he's very likable and sympathetic. He's got that whole wounded dove thing going on, yet he's Alpha Male enough to carry to mild action sequences. Ennis Esmer is a great sidekick. Very likable and funny. He should get more screen time. Lisa Marcos is crazy hot.
Episode 4. It's not a bad show and the elements that I like... I really like. So I'm gonna stick with it. It's light entertainment. A fun, summer show.
Episode 5. The best case-of-the-week for Toby so far. The twist at the midpoint really surprised me, and made the episode more interesting. Toby's powers are, when you think about it, pretty useless to him. They never tell him anything useful. The show's real strength are the scenes between Toby and his best friend. Great writing and acting/chemistry make for some hilarious and believable scenes of a friendship.
Episode 6. I like the angle of the hero who cares about people he meets and wants to butt into their lives and help/save them. It's the whole Pretender/Early Edition thing, I suppose. Toby keeps running around getting involved in stuff that has nothing to do with him. He's a goodie-goodie. Like Tru on Tru Calling he knows stuff that he shouldn't and he uses that knowledge to try and save lives and stuff. I dig that stuff. It makes him a very old fashioned TV hero.
Episode 7. Michelle Adams gives a terrific performance as the girl with the powers. She brings a great sense of being 'above' everything to the role. Just like Craig Olejnik, really, who makes a fantastic lead.
Episode 8. Flawless. The first episode to nail the show's formula to perfection, and the first superb episode.
What did they get right? Toby's powers were useful and without them there would have been no story. Each use of the power (a) advanced the story, (b) was funny, (c) led to a character moment, (d) was genuinely cool/interesting.
They created a strong/excellent b-story for the underused Mylene Robic. Charlie was well-written and dynamic and heroic. Lisa Marcos was sexier than ever (my god, but she is crazy hot and I'm borderline obsessed) and she showed considerable acting chops, too.
Episode 9. For the second week in a row, the show excels in giving all four regulars an abundance of good scenes and Olivia gets a really good subplot for the second week in a row.
Even better, the show seems to have gotten a complete handle on Toby's powers and has figured out a way to show/use them that is interesting, cool and logical.
Episode 10. Mid-way through the season, The Listener completely hit it's stride and started to deliver superb episodes. This is yet another superb episode.
1. Toby's powers. The show has totally figured out how to use Toby's powers in a way that is totally cool, and totally serves the stories and makes them far more interesting.
2. Oz. Without making it a stated aim of the script, the show has found a way to show us how Toby's friends 'use' him and his power.
3. The story. It's a cracker of a tale from start to finish.
4. The twist. I love stories with a twist, and I love shows that opt to end their episodes on a downbeat note.
5. Mylene Robic/Olivia. She didn't have as much screen time in this episode, as in the previous two, but I really love her and Toby as a couple.
Episode 11. Another strong case-of-the-week, with lots of cool touches involving Toby's powers and the regular characters. The show has nailed it. They know how to tell stories and use Toby's powers in an intelligent way. All uses of Toby's powers are cool, now. And they either advance the plot in some tangible way or they provide nice moments of insight into the characters in the stories. Class.
Episode 12. Another great episode. Why? It's a novel way of telling the story. There are multiple new ways to use Toby's power shown in the episode (a woman appears behind him, at one point). The actual identity of the killer is impossible to guess. All four regular characters are getting quality screen time. There's a great subplot with the great Gordon Pinsent playing a guy who knows about Toby's past.
The final scene/shot is great, too.
Episode 13. The Listener is an usual series. All episodes were case-of-the-week driven, but the first seven episodes were flawed and uneven. From episode eight onwards, while still being case-of-the-week driven, the show became superb and flawless. The show figured out how to make Toby's powers cool and interesting, and the show also figured out how to use the powers to enhance the story in unusual ways. Good writing and good acting and the added bonus of an intelligent way of using Toby's powers.
I desperately want a second season. But not for the backstory, they haven't made me care enough about the backstory and there are more than enough shows out there about lone heroes up against mysterious conspiracies. No, I want a second season because this show has turned into something that delivers A+ stories every single week and the hero, his powers and the cast are very cool.
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