Friday, 20 March 2015

The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful Review

Review By
Patrick Scattergood

Written By
Sharon Gosling

Published By
Titan Books

Horror, Art, Television Tie-In


"Do you believe there is a demimonde?  A half-world between what we know and what we fear?  A place in the shadows, rarely seen, but deeply felt...Do you believe that?"

Some of classic horror literature's most iconic characters, including Doctor Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and figures from Dracula, are stalking the darkest corners of Victorian London.
Created and written by John Logan, Penny Dreadful weaves their stories together with those of original characters Sir Malcolm Murray, Ethan Chandler and Vanessa Ives as they confront their personal demons and real monsters in search of Mina Murray.

Penny Dreadful stars Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green.  The series also stars Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, Danny Sapani and Harry Treadaway.

This lavishly illustrated companion goes behind the scenes to unearth the show's secrets and dissect every aspect of the production.  Exclusive interview material with the show's creator, executive producer Sam Mendes and supervising producer Chris King, as well as key crew and the main cast, accompany previously unseen images, from storyboards to stills and blueprints to sets, in this in-depth look at the making of the series.


Penny Dreadful is a show that has become very popular since the first season was aired on screen to a lot of critical acclaim.  With horrific stories that manage to stay grounded and feel realistic, it's easy to see why it's found such a rabid fanbase.

I was very interested to see just how a tie-in book would manage to capture the feeling of the series yet this book is one that is absolutely gripping.  Not only does it keep the things that make the series such a popular show to watch but also goes through the entire process of it's inception right up to now.

One of the things that I liked the most about this making of book is quite simply the sheer amount of information here.  Not only that but each person interviewed about the show is completely honest about how hard it has been to make and that honesty really stands well next to the more technical parts of the book.

Talking of the technical parts, no stone is left unturned here.  Each and every little detail from the sets right down to the little details on the costumes is explored in great depth here but not once does the book feel like it's over loading the reader.  A lot of that is down to the well paced writing by Sharon Gosling.  You really can tell that she has not only a passion but a  respect for the show and the people involved but she's not afraid to write about the things that the show has struggled with either.  This isn't just a book telling you how brilliant the creators are, far from it.  It really goes out of it's way to show just how hard it is to bring a weekly television show to life but also shows how the talented team use each others skills to form the show itself.

I really loved the introduction written by the shows creator John Logan as well.  I loved the way he told the story of his life and how it interweaved with that of the characters in the show.  It was a nice, personal touch that really showed me just how proud he is of the show.

If you are a fan of the show then this is an absolutely essential purchase.  If you're not a fan of the show, this is still a book that is well worth picking up for the sheer amount of detail that is here on the creation of a show and the stories behind how the whole project came together.

Presentation 9/10
Informative 10/10
Recommended 9/10
Overall 28/30

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