PENNY DREADFUL: “Séance”

Season 1, Episode 2

Episode Air Date: May 12, 2014

Podcast Date: 2016.08.07

 

 

EPISODE SUMMARY

 

Vanessa and Sir Malcolm attend the party at Ferdinand Lyle's home in the hopes of learning more about the the Egyptian hieroglyphs found on the dead creature. Vanessa meets the ever young Dorian Gray. Vanessa also participates in a séance where she proves to the spirit world's conduit. Meanwhile, Ethan Chandler makes the acquaintance of a prostitute, Brona Croft. She in turn has a session with young Gray. Elsewhere, Victor Frankenstein is amazed at how quickly his creation, who he has named Proteus, can learn. It all comes to a surprising end however.
- Written by garykmcd

CLIPS

Clip 1:

Begin:32:46 after whispery your master grunting from Vanessa
End: 36:00 after "you knew I was dying didn't you father? Did you name a mountain after me?"

Clip 2:

Begin:41:22 "breakfast miss croft?"
End: 43:00 brona says "I do."—optional clip….maybe after the stuff on Vanessa??

Clip 3:

Mr Lyle talks about Ammonet & Amun Rae

Clip 4:

Proteus recognizes boats and talks to the American - also gets ripped in half.

 

THESIS

Penny Dreadful maybe the exception to the rule….tired of traditional monsters: Werewolves, Vampires, and Frankenstein’s monsters. This show presents them with frantic pace, strong characterization, great arcs, and as a great Victorian Mash-up—what League of Extraordinary Gentlemen should have been.
 

TRIVIA

When Vanessa goes into trance, she talks about a "green place" where "the Porters are dying". This is a reference to the characters of Jane and his father in "Tarzan of the Apes", by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The novel takes place approximately at the same time as the series, and matches its the Victorian setting.
"Enter Proteus" appears eight times in William Shakespeare's The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1952), but the one shown is from the start of Act 2, Scene 6.

Trivia for the whole show:
As creator John Logan had never written a television series before, he did not produce a spec script, but instead wrote the first two episodes directly. When he had the opportunity to pitch it to Showtime, he also wrote a 40-page Bible exploring the characters and story, with the network eventually buying the show.

Penny Dreadful is an old term used during the nineteenth century to refer to cheap popular serial literature, and it could be interchangeable with penny blood, penny awful or penny horrible. It means a story published in weekly parts, with the cost of one (old) penny. The main plot of these stories were typically sensational, focusing on the adventures of detectives, criminals, or supernatural entities.

The language used in season 2 (Verbis Diabolo) is a fictional amalgam of Aramaic, Ancient Greek, Latin and an obscure Arabic dialect called (in phonetic English) "Kan Allah Musali-Algins". The language, Verbis Diabolo was created specifically for the show by the curator of the London Historical Societies Emeritus Professor of ancient languages.

The séance back-bending scene was filmed in three different segments: the first was on set with Eva Green standing on the table; the second was filmed in a studio where the actress bent her body as far back as the stuntmen deemed safe; the third was Eva bent all the way back in a contraption - the last were filmed in front of a green screen. The post-production team then combined all three segments into one.

In this show, Dr. Victor Frankenstein likes to quote the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley's second wife, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley, was the author of the 1818 Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, from which the characters of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and "Frankenstein's monster" originate.

The show is using many metaphors to point out the hidden or dual nature of the main characters. One of them is shooting scenes in reflective surfaces like mirrors. Most notably though is the dark versus light depiction of Vanessa and Mina.

The shows boasts four Bond alumni: Timothy Dalton, played the titular character; Eva Green, who played Vesper Lynd - a Bond girl; Helen McCrory, who plays Clair Dowar MP; and Rory Kinnear, who plays Tanner.

Danny Sapani, Billie Piper, Timothy Dalton, David Warner and Helen McCrory and Alex Price have appeared in the revived series of "Doctor Who".

Actor Simon Russell Beale based his accent for his character, Ferdinand Lyle, on the accent of the renowned playwright Tom Stoppard. Stoppard was born in what was then Czechoslovakia, but while still a young boy, his family fled the Nazis. They went first to India (where he spent three years), where his Czech mother was remarried to a British army major, and subsequently Tom was educated in north-central and northeast England. Consequently, Stoppard's adult accent, though mostly standard Received Pronunciation English, is a unique combination of many diverse linguistic and dialectical influences.

According to John Logan, Dorian's entire admittedly-anachronistic look came from Reeve Carney, who dresses very similar in real life.

This marks the second time that Anna Chancellor has played the mother to one of Eva Green's characters, the first being in The Dreamers (2003).

The "Frankenstein's monster" character in this show sometimes uses the names "Caliban" or "John Clare." Caliban, the name first given to him by the actor Vincent Brand, is a character from Shakespeare's play The Tempest who (like the monster) is described both as monstrous ("A freckled whelp hag-born--not honour'd with / A human shape") and sensitive, with a legitimate grievance against his master Prospero. John Clare was a real English poet during the Romantic movement (the same era as more famous writers such as Lord Byron, John Keats, Percy Shelley, and Shelley's wife and "Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus" author Mary). Clare had a tragic life; although his mostly rural-themed poems were generally well-received, their sales were not sufficient to earn him a living to support his wife and children, especially after he started suffering from mental illnesses and alcoholism. He was institutionalized due to his florid delusions, which included the beliefs that he was really Shakespeare or Lord Byron in disguise; that he had multiple wives; and that he was a celebrated boxer. The Shelleys and the real Lord Byron knew each other well, and it was while they were all on a vacation together in Switzerland that Mary Shelley first conceived the Frankenstein story.
The Grand Guignol (in London as depicted in the show) is not a real theatre. It was constructed for the filming of the series. It was a real theater in Paris in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The style of plays common in this theater eventually ended with that style of storytelling being call "Grand Guignol".

Sam Mendes originally planned to direct episodes, but schedule conflicts prevented him from doing so.

Though the Grand Guignol Theatre was primarily a French institution, there was a British Grand Guignol that was active in London in the early 1920s.

This is not the first time that Billie Piper has played a prostitute, she previously portrayed 'Belle' in Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2007).

When the director scheduled to direct the finale of season 3 had to back down, the producers and the cast (specially Eva Green) demanded Paco Cabezas to be back, after having helmed episodes five and six of the same season, because they had a great working experience.

Sarah Greene stated in an interview that the make-up for Hecate and the other witches' Nightcomer forms consists of several different pieces, which take several hours to apply. She stated that the breasts and genital regions are fake, and are part of the prosthetic. However, Greene forgot the instructions not to drink alcohol before putting on the make-up, as sweating alcohol would negate the adhesive used. Once whilst shooting in the make-up, her chest-piece fell off.

The manner in which Vanessa sizes up and breaks down Ethan Chandler during their first meeting is remarkably similar to the way Vesper Lynd - a previous character of Eva Green's - does to James Bond in Casino Royale.

Inverted with British actor Stephen Lord who plays the American Warren Roper.
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Billie Piper and Eva Green have both worked with Matt Smith.
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Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper and Douglas Hodge previously appeared together in the TV movie Mansfield Park (2007).
 

OUTRO

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