In Season 3 of Penny Dreadful, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) accepting her demons could plunge the world into darkness, while Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), the Creature, and Lily (Billie Piper) must each face their own monstrous selves. Starring Eva Green (Casino Royale), Josh Hartnett (Black Hawk Down), and Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights).
Showtime really had a great show with 'Penny Dreadful,' one that outdid their competitors on other networks. In the horror genre, we see a lot of the same things over and over again, whether it be scare tactics, origin stories, or rehashed characters. What 'Penny Dreadful' did was take it to another level and add a gothic romance theme to it with all of the classic monsters we've read about and seen on screen before, having different backgrounds and character traits like we've never seen before.
Not only that, series creator John Logan put all of these iconic characters under one roof and made a compelling story that was different than anything we've seen before it, relating to these monster legends. Unfortunately, 'Penny Deadful' was cut short, ending after only three seasons. Sometimes our favorite series go on for way too long, pushing out season after season until they're no longer fun to watch. On the other hand, there are some excellent TV shows that end entirely too early, which is the case with 'Penny Dreadful'.
This show had so much to tell and different avenues that it could have explored, that I'm surprised that it ended this quickly, but at least the show ended by a decision of the creator and not by a studio executive cancelling it. This third and final season of the hit show 'Penny Dreadful' showcases most of our character's origin stories, even traveling back in time to see the life of Vanessa and how she become to be in a fantastic episode. Dr. Jekyll is introduced this season who aligns with Dr. Frankenstein in order to create something new, while the creature tries to pick up the pieces of his former life and looks to the future of what awaits him.
The big villain this season is Dr. Alexander Sweet, who in turn is actually a certain iconic vampire we know from tons of films and books. All of the monsters and characters have to deal with their own personal issues while looking after Vanessa until the very end. Each character, relationship, and story arc has ample amount of time to develop and achieve it's conclusion with a little bit left to the viewer to guess the future. It's a solid way to end a show abruptly and a service to its fans everywhere that each aspect of the show had a conclusion and fitting finale. Again, the technical aspects of 'Penny Dreadful' are award worthy as are all of the performances. It's sad to see this show go, but then again, I'm glad it went out on its own accord and never became stale.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'Penny Dreadful' Season 3 comes with three discs, all of which are 50GB Blu-rays that are Region A locked. There is an insert, promoting Showtime, which is housed inside an eco-friendly blue, hard plastic case. The reverse side of the cover art has the episodes listed out with a brief synopsis.
'Penny Dreadful' Season Three comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This series never really screamed "bright colors", but that never stopped it from look beautiful in its own gothic way. The detail is sharp and vivid throughout, even in the icy cool sequences that are ripe with tons of blues and grays. Closeups reveal scars, wounds, individual hairs, and droplets of blood and sweat throughout each episode nicely. The makeup effects look fantastic here too with each bloody vein looking very realistic.
The wider shots look just as good, never going soft, giving the image some great depth. Colors never pop off screen with bright primary colors, but the gothic color palette sure sticks out nicely with well-balanced blues, silvers, and grays. There are moments in the desert where more earthy tones come into play, which looks excellent. The red blood looks vibrant and shines in each episode. Black levels are deep an inky always and the skin tones always look natural, even when there is an undead person on screen. There was some very minor banding, but other than that, this image looks excellent.
This release comes with a brand new Dolby Atmos soundtrack where I used a 7.1.2 Atmos speaker setup with the normal 7.1 surround and two overhead speakers, plus a subwoofer powering this sci-fi soundscape. The standard Blu-ray version has a DTS-HD 7.1 MA mix. This option was not available on the previous two seasons, but I am so glad it appears on this third and final season. This new Atmos mix is excellent, with even more immersion in this scary and chaotic world. The overhead speakers bring the rain, wind, and bigger sound effects that fly overhead or ride by, such as a train and explosions.
The other sound effects and ambient noises flow nicely through the surrounds and are quite full and robust at all times. Each sound was well-balanced and layered with some great directionality. The score always added to the suspense of each episode with a gothic romantic tone while never drowning out any other sound aspect. The bass kicks in during the heavier action scenes, which will rattle the walls, but is never overly aggressive. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow, and free of any pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills. This is an excellent audio presentation.
The bonus features here are spread across all three discs of this release.
Hecates' Witch Prosthetics (HD, 3 Mins.) - A brief glimpse of the witches in this third season and their makeup effects, which was cool to see.
The Making of Dr. Jekyll's Lab (HD, 3 Mins.) - The production Designer and Set Decorator talk about building and creating the big set pieces and how it influences the characters.
Character Profiles (HD, 15 Mins.) - In this bonus feature, several of the show's big characters are talked about, including their history and what's in store for them.
Vanessa's Costumes (HD, 3 Mins.) - This short bonus feature talks about Vanessa's costumes throughout the series and the work that went into them.
The Dead Zoo (HD, 3 Mins.) - Actor Samuel Barnett gives us a short tour of the Natural History Museum in Dublin, which is one of the locations of the show and what was built there for the series.
'Penny Dreadful' Season Three was a great way to end the series, even though the show ended too soon. The characters, story, filmmaking, and effects were all top notch, that brought a new look to all of our favorite classic and iconic monsters. I just wish we had a few more seasons with these characters. This final season added a Dolby Atmos track, which was awesome, and the video presentation looked to be a slight improvement from previous seasons. The extras are all too short and don't cover anything of value, considering this is the last season. Still, this release is highly recommended, because we sure don't have another show like this on any network.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.