It's fair to say that since Penny Dreadful premiered in 2014, it's become something that both Sky and Showtime can be extremely pleased about. A firm favourite amongst cult TV fans and featuring one of the best casts on any TV programme, it's spawned a whole fandom and won plenty of ratings for both channels. To date, there's been 18 episodes across two series and pulled characters from The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dracula, Frankenstein and countless others, marrying them to a creepy, gothic aesthetic. Now, production is ramping up on the third season of the critically acclaimed hit, and there's some exciting news about the actors and characters that will be helping to drive the programme forward in its third series.
Alongside existing stars Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper and Josh Hartnett, this season will see the return of Tony Award winning star Patti LuPone (American Horror Story), who will return in an all new, series regular role as Dr. Seward, an American therapist who treats Eva Green's Vanessa with unusual methods. This season will also add Dr. Henry Jekyll to the lineup of literary characters who inhabit the world of the show, who will be played by Shazad Latif, who was last seen in The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Spooks.
The third season will again feature nine episodes to air on Sky Atlantic in 2016, and will again bring a host of esteemed guest stars, including SAG Award nominee Christian Camargo (Dexter, The Hurt Locker, The Twilight Saga) as Dr. Alexander Sweet, a zoologist who strikes up an unlikely friendship with Canessa. Alongside him is Sam Barnett (2012, Jupiter Ascending) as Dr. Seward's mysterious young secretary and Wes Studi (Hell on Wheels, A Million Ways to Die in the West) as Kaetenay, an intense and enigmatic Native American with a deep connection to Ethan who also becomes a new ally to Timothy Dalton's Sir Malcolm. Finally, Jessica Barden (Far from the Madding Crowd, The Outcast) joins the cast as Justine, a young acolyte to Lily and Dorian Gray.
All in all, Sky have done a terrific job in attracting talent to the programme, though its reputation amongst the acting community generating tough, uncompromised characters and plotlines won't have done any harm either. Whilst the first season won warm reviews from critics, the show truly found its footing in the second series with the A.V Club saying "On the strength of its cast, the beauty of its design, and the sheer joy it gets from its homages, it’s the sort of dreadful that’s mostly a delight." and Entertainment Weekly stating: "The sly second season of Penny Dreadful finds its drama in characters trying to shake shameful pasts that won’t stop haunting them, and finds rich menace in cunning folk and shape-shifting spirits who make thralls and puppets out of our heroes, robbing them of authenticity and self-determination."
Penny Dreadful is created, written and executive produced by three-time Oscar nominee John Logan (Hugo, The Aviator, Gladiator) and executive produced by Logan's Desert Wolf Productions, along with Oscar winner Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris. Sam Mendes is currently helming the newest James Bond picture after making classics like American Beauty and Pippa Harris is known for Revolutionary Road and Call the Midwife. This third series is part of Sky's continued commitment to producing high quality programming for all their channels.
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