Showtime has committed to a new horror series from John Logan (Skyfall, Sweeny Todd) and Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Jarhead, American Beauty). Described as a "psychosexual horror" period piece set in Victorian London, Penny Dreadful will gather some of gothic literature's biggest names (Dr. Frankenstein and his monster; Dorian Gray; Van Helsing) into an ensemble piece. Showtime, like most other premium cable networks, rarely orders pilots, and Penny Dreadful is no exception. In fact, the project is being fast-tracked for a 2014 premiere. Filming begins in London later this year.
At this weekend's TCA panel, Showtime president David Nevins had this to say about the project: "The visual spectacle combined with the psychological insight in their reimagining of these iconic literary characters seems totally mesmerizing to me. This promises to be a wholly original television show. It's very realistic, it's very grounded; the characters are in very human form in turn-of-the-century London.
I can't help but wonder if Penny Dreadful is being poised to take the place of Dexter. While Showtime will neither confirm nor deny that the upcoming eighth season of Dexter is the last (I have to imagine that they are crunching numbers to see if they can afford Michael C. Hall for another year) it does seem that Penny Dreadful will appeal to the same audience. Are they lining up Dexter's replacement?