If you loved The Terror: Infamy, you need to catch up on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels doesn’t feel like its predecessor, but there is another show that it feels like. It’s all about The Terror: Infamy.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is receiving some mixed reviews. Part of the issue for some is that it doesn’t feel like it’s predecessor, Penny Dreadful. I sort of get that, except that the promos never once made it feel like it would have the same vibe as the original series. It always had the vibe of another show, The Terror: Infamy.
In fact, there are many similarities between the two sequels; similarities that will make you fall in love with City of Angels more. It turns out that the two shows share a cinematography/director of photography: John Conroy (who was also the director of photography on the original Penny Dreadful series too). No wonder there’s a similar vibe in the beautiful storytelling.
Honestly, if you adored The Terror: Infamy and haven’t given Penny Dreadful: City of Angels a chance yet, I urge you to give the latter a try. If you turned away from City of Angels before it didn’t feel like its predecessor but loved Infamy, I would love for you to check out the series again with a fresh mind. Here’s how they’re so similar.
A mythology of another culture
We’re used to our own mythology. The stories of Dracula, Dorian Grey, and werewolves are common. We see them all over horror movies, so it’s easy to be comfortable with them. They become this type of content that is something easy to put on and relax watching. And there’s that knowledge that we know something.
The Terror: Infamy and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels offer something different. They bring in mythologies that not everyone has heard of. Or you may have heard of them in passing or because of movies like The Grudge, but never really looked deeper into or consider.
Rather than feeling like we know the worlds, we’re thrown into mythologies that bring up questions. We’re left scratching our heads, and we have to learn as some of the characters do. That leaves us uncomfortable, which is part of the point.
We should be uncomfortable.
— The Terror: Infamy (@TheTerrorAMC) October 24, 2019
The shows feel more real
Discomfort is a theme for both The Terror: Infamy and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. We’re meant to feel uncomfortable as we see the racism and bigotry. People of other races are attacked for something that they haven’t done or just because they’re different; because they’re from a culture that people don’t understand.
Let’s start with Infamy. The Japanese-Americans were attacked and put in camps because of something people that looked like them did. There was a fear that the Japanese-Americans would join those who flew the planes at Pearl Harbor; that they’d join the Axel powers.
On Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, there’s just this fear of the unknown. The Americans attack the Mexican-Americans because of the color of their skin. There are the attacks because of the way the Mexican-Americans talk, because of their culture, and because they had different beliefs. There’s a clear bias against them.
— Penny Dreadful: City of Angels on Showtime (@SHO_Penny) May 4, 2020
These actions make the shows feel more grounded and real than the likes of the original Penny Dreadful. Much of this is based on real history instead of fantasy, giving it a different feeling overall. Naturally, the discomfort within the series is something that not everyone can deal with. I get that, but it’s important to push past the discomfort in the events on the screen. You’ll learn a lot (about history and yourself) by doing this.
The real horrors are the real events of the time. The use of the mythology is a way to help ease some of that tension and sense of realism.
What do you think of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels? Will you give it a chance as a fan of The Terror: Infamy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Penny Dreadful: City of Angels airs Sundays at 10/9c on SHOWTIME (and on Crave in Canada).