Full disclosure: this Bookish Diva is supremely tardy to the Penny Dreadful party. I heard murmurs about this show and dismissed them. My “to be watched” queue was rather deep and I didn’t know if I had the emotional bandwidth to invest fully in another show.

Then the live tweeting began. As I tenderly tiptoed through the tweets, curiosity took hold. I had to know more about Dorian, Vanessa and Ethan, so I jumped down the rabbit hole and never looked back. And this Bookish Diva solemnly swears that mentions of Josh Hartnett’s posterior had no bearing on my decision to indulge in Penny Dreadful.



Luckily, we have a little more time before Penny Dreadful returns to us in all its Gothic glory. In the meantime, this Bookish Diva would like to invite you to play game I’m calling “Jonesin’ for a Classic.” Penny Dreadful is crawling with some of literature’s most iconic characters. It would be a shame not to get to know them fully.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde


We know the story of Dorian Gray: a handsome young man with quite the vanity problem who sells his soul to ensure that he forever remains young, beautiful and vital. Dorian’s hedonistic sensualism enchants and enrages those who have made his acquaintance. This Bookish Diva didn’t think it was possible to out-Dorian the literary version of Dorian Gray. However, Reeve Carney’s version may just do it.


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Considered one of the earliest examples of science fiction, Frankenstein tells the tale of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who attempts to create life with unimaginable results. This tome tackles controversial topics and touched on religious ideas, such as Victor Frankenstein playing God as he creates a new being.

Dracula by Bram Stoker


Long before that sparkly fellow and Lestat, there was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. There was no brooding in a sleeping girl’s room or divulging secrets to overzealous writers. There was just a charming undead noble trying to spread the gift of non-life. Granted, we have not met the Count himself yet in Penny Dreadful. But with Mina Harker and Van Helsing on the scene, he can’t be far behind.