Friday, September 12, 2014

Penny Dreadful Available On Disc and iTunes

Penny Dreadful, which I am still planning on posting for each episode, will be available on iTunes beginning October for $22.99 for all the seasons; DVD and Blu-Ray will be available beginning October 14 ($31.99 for DVD, $36.99 for Blu-Ray, over 7 hours of episodes). It has been confirmed that the spiritualist seance medium Madame Kali (Helen McCrory) and the aesthete Egyptologist Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) have been promoted to season regulars.
Ferdinand Lyle, the frivolous Egyptologist who aided Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton) with the hieroglyphs from the dead vampire's skeleton is the opposite of Murray: Murray is a explorer, specifically of Africa and uncivilized places; Lyle is a collector of things from around of the world of highly civilized places (please recall in Episode 2, Seance, when Dorian Gray details to Vanessa Ives where all the different pieces in the room came from). Love of the Egyptian was a craze during the Victorian era, even mummy dust was sought after to cure headaches and various ills (making it a strange form of cannibalism). Lyle also typifies the Aesthetic movement: in collecting household items from around the world, making everything dramatic, entertaining lavishly, and wearing a rather ridiculous "social mask," Lyle embodies those who, during the Victorian era, cultivated "sensibility," rather than rationality, the star of the Aesthetic Movement being none other than Oscar Wilde, the creator of Dorian Gray, which is interesting because Dorian isn't much of an aesthete: yes, his cologne collection is important to him, yes, he drinks absinthe, he care very much about his clothes and never seems to have anything important to do, but mostly, Dorian seems to be more decadent than anything, and an aesthete only secondarily, which is important and we will examine this further in the posts. 
Season 2 will be released on Showtime sometime in 2015 and has all ready begun filming in Dublin. Also joining the second season is two-time Tony winner, and two-time Grammy winner, Patti LuPone who will portray a shadowy figure from Vanessa Ives' past (Eva Green). Also guest starring is Douglas Hodge, who will be a Scotland Yard investigator following the murders in London,.... I suppose that means the murders Ethan (Josh Hartnett) has committed.
Like all great charlatans, Madame Kali--Kali for the Hindu goddess of Time, Change and Destruction--is merely a stage name for the spiritualist; her real name (in the show) is Evelyn Poole and Sarah Greene, one of the new cast members for Season 2, will be portraying Poole's daughter Hecate, named after the Greek goddess Hecate of the "crossroads" of life. Something that I have liked about the film is that everyone commits sins, and everyone suffers for them, sins have a price to be paid in the film. Introducing a character who invokes "the crossroads," as Hecate does, suggests the next level of the committing sins, namely, repentance. We don't know what's going to happen, however, this is an intriguing addition. Madame Kali's name of "Poole" reminds me of the servant for Dr. Jeckyll in Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, as well as of Grace Poole from Charlotte Bronte's 1847 novel Jane Eyre (the "crazy woman in the attic" that Grace Poole symbolizes has fostered a branch of Feminism after Grace's character, and you can be sure that it is not at all kind to men). "Poole" plays an interesting metaphor in both stories, as in a "pool" of water in which to see one's self, and meditate upon one's actions, but it also suggests "pooling" one's resources to make the most of it. With such a strong name given her, Greene's character will surely add a new dimension to the upcoming season. On an entirely different note, the glass table around which they are gathered will be deeply explored in my upcoming post on the episode. Mirrors, as we know, symbolize meditation, the looking-inward to see ourselves which no one but we can do and which is necessary for spiritual advancement. Even though it's Vanessa who "gives the performance" it's Sir Malcolm who does "the reflecting" and we know he's sorry for how he has behaved because he checks on Vanessa in her room that night and covers her up, a fatherly act of love, so to speak, so he doesn't blame her for the private revelations that were made public that night. Please remember, the name "Vanessa" refers to "literary invention," which she herself is, and it carries true in this scene as well. Madame Kali, or, rather, spiritualists like her, were becoming quite popular, including with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes. While Doyle made Holmes an absolute disbeliever int he occult, Doyle himself was convinced of paranormal events and belonged to some spiritualist groups for most of his life. 
Also joining the cast will be Johnny Beauchamp, whose character is a "mysterious man with a distinct past," and that flavor of that makes me hope we have a Doctor Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, but I somehow doubt it. I was able to watch up to Episode 5 of the 8 episode season, and while I have significant work completed, part of the problem of doing TV shows is that you don't know what details are going to show up to throw a wrench in the reading (for example, in Mina's death and Ethan's exposure as a werewolf, which are the two main concerns I have). Regardless, I am very excited for the second season, and can hardly wait.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner