Cast: Eva Green, Timothy Dalton, Josh Hartnett
In the wake of the success of American Horror Story it seems like networks are trying to capitalize on this. Horror-esque shows have been popping up left and right lately to most genre aficionados’ delight. Granted, the horror genre has never really been wanting, apart from detective stories, the most popular one. It seems as if horror is always in our cultural background, but that different aspects of it gains more fans at different times. We have been barraged by Vampires, Zombies and Werewolves these past years and maybe there is time for something different. American Horror Story: Coven claimed that it might be witches and Salem (reviewed separately) ran with it.
Penny Dreadful takes a different direction; at least this is what the inaugural episode would have us believe. The setting is in the Victorian Age and we are presented with a world that has become quite familiar to us through other shows, handsome cabs, cobblestone streets and men in bowler hats, but there is another element here as well. The world seems to be inhabited by other worldly creatures. In the first episode we meet vampire like figures and at least a nod in the direction of Frankenstein’s Monster.
The plot initially revolves around Timothy Dalton’s character whose daughter has been abducted by something. He is allied with Eva Green, an apparently cursed woman, who in the first episode takes the role of his secretary. Within the first ten minutes she has tried to recruit Josh Hartnett, a carnival cowboy to aid in their search for the missing girl.
It is quite clear that there is more to this plot than meets the eye. One gets the feeling of a Victorian X-files with an array of quirky characters who will support the main figures with their special abilities. One of these, a flamboyant expert on Egypt, has already been introduced. This gives the impression of a comic relief to the show that may be unnecessary.
American Horror Story understood the fact that too much comedy, or any comedy for that matter, would render the horror aspect void. Sleepy Hollow as an example of the other part of the spectrum focuses too much on Ichabod Crane’s conflict with the modern world and therefore making the sense of impending doom almost nonexistent. Blood and gore is not enough in this case to keep us in suspense.
The cast is what may be the saving grace for this show, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton are strong enough actors to carry the rest of the cast and it is quite obvious that Josh Hartnett is struggling to keep up with them. As an example Jeremy Piven’s performance in Mr Selfridge was outright appalling compared to his counterparts, but improved as the show developed, most likely because the others rubbed off on him.
Granted this is only the first episode and there is no real point in voicing any negative aspects, but tentative ones maybe. Penny Dreadful has got all the potential to be just what it claims it’s going to be, but it also might be just dreadful…
C. Marry Hultman
Ian Anderson – Homo Erraticus
Genre: Progressive Rock
Best track: After these wars
2014 might just be the year of progressive rock, its grand return. Ian Anderson might just be the man to usher it in. It is easy to assume as his new album has been given significant press, even being streamed for free through Billboard.
Homo Erraticus is billed as the third installment in the Thick as a brick trilogy chronicling the life of Gerald Bostock, or so it is claimed. While Homo Erraticus in theory is the third installment of this series, claiming to be the words of Bostock based on an old historic manuscript, it is so much more than this. Anderson himself claims that the album is about the British people coming to terms with how to connect with the rest of the world. How to deal with the ones who had once been enemies or colonies now become tourist traps.
What Anderson does is give us a guided tour of the history of the British Isles, from the time of the first people to tread those green hills (Doggerland) to the supposed future of the United Kingdom (Cold Dead Reckoning). What Anderson does so beautifully in this concept album is that every song is its own microcosm in the grander macro of all the tracks together. As the album tells a story as a whole every single song does the same. This is especially clear in Enter the Uninvited, a tale of those who invaded England and After these wars, about post war Britain.
Just like the lyrics, the music takes the listener on a journey as well. If the narrative guides us through British history then the soundtrack takes our hand and shows us the wonders of progressive rock. Everything is represented here, from Yes through Jethro Tull and even into the more modern progressive metal we hear today. Anderson proves with this that he’s not only very well aware of the genres past, but of where it is going as well.
When most other “old timers” struggle to be relevant, Anderson does it with ease, both musically and lyrically giving a nod and a wink to those who have come before him and those who will follow.
Ian Anderson’s Homo Erraticus is available now on CD, CD/DVD combo, download, LP and a deluxe issue
C. Marry Hultman
So this is the first post in the Guild, we would like to thank David Jaramillo for the logo and Paulus Edlund for the Wolfshead image. If you are interested in the designs of Dave like his page on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DavidJaramilloDesign