Question: I recently watched the pilot episode of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and I really enjoyed it. I thought the performances were good, especially Natalie Dormer. However, I tried watching a few episodes of the original Penny Dreadful series, and this one seems very different, not just in terms of characters, but also with regards to tone and premise. The nature of the new show might be too different for fans of the original, but new fans may be hesitant to watch due to the same name. What do you think about the title association and how this could affect opinions on the new series? —Marissa
Matt Roush: These two Pennys could hardly be more different, and your question is a good one. While Natalie Dormer is terrific in her various guises as the evil shape-shifting demon stirring up mayhem in 1930s Los Angeles, I’m finding the supernatural elements of City of Angels more distracting than compelling, whereas the Gothic horrors of the original series, mashing up various iconic monsters of literature and legend, was pure intoxication to me. I am curious how fans of the original series will react to the new version. City of Angels works best for me as a crime drama wrapped in a social commentary, and I’m not sure that’s what I or anyone else expected from the anthology’s second act.
To submit questions to TV Critic Matt Roush, go to: tvinsider.com @TVGMMattRoush