Penny Dreadful City of Angels
More info i
Credit: Showtime

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels premiere drops early as critics praise spinoff

Contributed by
Apr 24, 2020

Penny Dreadful, the beloved Showtime drama from creator/writer John Logan, is getting a Los Angeles-set update: City of Angels. The 10-episode series gives its heady supernatural tone a heaping helping of L.A. noir, as its central detectives wage war with a shape-shifting demon (Natalie Dormer). Intrigued?

Lucky for fans, the premiere of the series is getting released early — out now — ahead of its official debut. And the best part is that it's beyond the regular Showtime paywall, so fans can determine if it's worth hopping on board with a subscription.

The premiere episode of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels is out now on streaming platforms and on demand. You can even watch it below:

So far the star-studded show — which boasts Nathan Lane, Daniel Zovatto, Kerry Bishé, Rory Kinnear, Adriana Barraza, Michael Gladis, Jessica Garza, and Johnathan Nieves among it cast in addition to Dormer — has received mixed-positive reviews.

Here's what the critics have to say:

Paste Magazine's Lacy Baugher sung the show's praises, appluading the worldbuilding and cast. "But if Dormer’s performance is the electric engine that powers the show, then Nathan Lane’s beleaguered, hardboiled detective Lewis is its heart, a character who feels as though he’s stepped fully formed from some classic detective novel," she writes. Her only problem with the "richly imagined and beautifully brought to life" show? It tries to do too much.

Daniel Fienberg at The Hollywood Reporter writes that, though there are plenty of erratic story issues, the "series looks lush, sun-soaked and frequently stunning." He also echoes the praise for Dormer, calling her the "clear standout" of the good cast. While Fienberg considers the show more of an alt-history than the franchise's first foray and finds plenty to enjoy - even if he "would have preferred more rigor and investment" from the new spin.

The Guardian's Adrian Horton calls the show "beguiling horror," even if the plot density also featured in the negatives column. "If you’re already dropping threads of this plot, well, join the club – the bold and disparate strands of this series (Nazis! Footloose-style dance sequence! Jewish gangsters!) are individually compelling," Horton writes, "but the show strains under the weight of its own webbing." And yet. Like any good pulp, the mess can still be fun. Horton concludes that "the show’s well-constructed, trenchant escapism can be aggressive, but it is magnetic."

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels officially premieres on April 26.

Make Your Inbox Important

Like Comic-Con. Except every week in your inbox.

Sign-up breaker