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Penny Dreadful


Ranxerox
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Just a heads-up that the first 2 seasons of the Showtime series Penny Dreadful are now available on Netflix.  The series is a lot of fun and would be a great source of inspiration for a Victorian Hero campaign.  Indeed all the principle characters of the series are pretty easy to imagine as heroic level Hero PCs. 

 

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I am really enjoying it.

 

I would point out, however, that Victor Frankenstein inhabited Napoleonic times, not Victorian. He's a good eight decades out of place on Penny Dreadful.

 

But the show has served to remind me just how many great, classic "Victorian Pulp" writers were active in those years: Wells, Verne, Dumas, Doyle, Stoker, Stevenson.

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I'm also a bit puzzled by the re-conceptualization of "Dracula" in this series. Now, I'm only on episode 10 so maybe I'm in for a surprise twist, but so far they seem to have redesigned the Dracula figure to be a feral vampire of Egyptian origin rather than a brooding eastern European nobleman who could (and did in Stoker's novel) easily pass for a regular human when it suited him.

 

Oh, and another potential anachronism? Ethan seems to be at least a couple decades ahead of his time...

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Do we have year that this is all suppose to be occurring?  The source of the Nile hasn't yet been found so we know that it is before 1858.  Since the first or the Wild West Shows wasn't until 1883 so if we use that as a date then Ethan is an anachronism. I suspect that trickshooters probably out date the complete shows so story teller/trickshooters could existed before 1858.  However, I pretty sure the actual term wild west show is used series so that point is probably moot.

 

Yeah, I think this is one of those campaigns were each player gets to make the character that they want and nobody looks at the history books.  Any character concept that could be found somewhere in the 1800s seems to be fair game.

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When I poke fun at the anachronistic characters, I am only comparing them with the time period of their original literary/cinematic incarnations, not with other potentially ahistorical elements of the series.

 

For instance, the events of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein take place in the late 1700s, which means this show has dragged Victor ahead by about a century. The events of Universal's The Wolf Man take place in the early 1900s, which means this show has pulled Ethan back by a decade or two (that is, if I am guessing correctly about him, which I am doing judging from the full name wikipedia lists for his character). However, the others, like the Dracula-oriented figures and Dorian Gray are all contemporary with the 1890s.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sure, but it is easier (for me) to imagine that maybe these characters all got together for an adventure not previously disclosed (by prior fiction) when they are all more or less contemporaries of each other in their original source material. For the events we see in the show we only have to imagine that the original authors got the details wrong, or chose to spin a slightly altered tale. But in the case of Victor, we have to further imagine that Shelley was born nearly a century later than she was, which breaks the motif.

 

Of course, 99% of viewers don't have a clue about the time periods originally used for each character and so aren't even remotely sensitive to this issue. Chances are they never read the original stories or, even if they did, never really paid attention to their time frames. But I did, and so it bugs me a little. Not enough to ruin the show for me, mind you. I still find it tremendously entertaining. But it is perhaps slightly telling that my favorite character is the one with no literary antecedant to be screwed with (Vanessa).

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If you're referring to Netflix, I should point out that only 18 episodes out of the full 27 are available right now. The third and final season just ended recently and probably won't be added to Netflix for a while, although I'd love to find I'm wrong about that.

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  • 6 months later...

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