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Showtime's 'Penny Dreadful' an elegantly beastly outing
Showtime's 'Penny Dreadful' an elegantly beastly outing

Having created and shared them throughout recorded time, we are well acquainted with monsters, their forms and habits, strengths and weaknesses, ways of appearing and disappearing. Homer and the Bible are full of awful beasties; Shakespeare gave us Caliban, Stan Lee the Hulk. Indeed, we are now in a long entertainment cycle in which fantasy and its look-alike cousin science fiction are dominant modes. So we know the ropes. There is little that occurs in the first two hours of "Penny Dreadful," a new period-supernatural series premiering Sunday on Showtime, with which a person who has seen, say, a dozen horror movies — possibly fewer, I am being generous — could...

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