Spoiler-Free Review of “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” on Showtime: Evil Looks Good on Natalie Dormer

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“Until not a soul is left…are you ready?”

The sequel spin-off of Penny Dreadful may not be connected to the original show, but it does present us with a different kind of evil in a brand new time and setting with Natalie Dormer’s Magda at the very center of it.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels premiered on Showtime on April 26th 2020. It will feature weekly episodes (55 minutes in length). It stars Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Nathan Lane, and Lorenza Izzo.

While the show has been long awaited by fans of the beloved Gothic horror series, Penny Dreadful, there will be no crossovers or Easter Eggs to the original series, even though it seems like this could have been done.

The show takes place in Los Angeles, 1938 and follows several groups of characters as the demon, Magda and Santa Muerte clash on their involvement in mortal affairs.

The show certainly has a lot of possibility, but can it live up to its predecessor? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Penny Dreadful COA Showtime 1
Images courtesy of Showtime

Natalie Dormer ignites the screen.

I am already a fan of the Game of Thrones alum, but I have to say that Natalie Dormer was born for a role like this. While it will certainly not be easy to live up to the breathtakingly magnetic, Eva Green in the original series, Dormer is taking on a new character and is embracing her dark side with style.

The opening scene leaves you wanting so much more and reveals just how manipulative and powerful Dormer’s character can be.

Penny Dreadful COA Showtime 2
Images courtesy of Showtime

Exceptional cast and gorgeous setting.

The sequel is set in pre World War II L.A. The setting is absolutely gorgeous and I appreciated some of these smaller moments where we got to witness dancing in the street, beautiful outfits, and serene backdrops of the bluffs, transporting us back to a different time and place seamlessly.

The rest of the cast is talented as well, which should work in their favor, as they have the potential to really light up the screen with character dynamics and relationships.

The Cons:

Penny Dreadful COA Showtime 5
Images courtesy of Showtime

A storyboard of ideas can get confusing…

After watching the premiere episode, there are already so many characters and sub-plots, which makes it difficult to keep up. I’m all for a slow burn type of reveal, but I think that some of these plots are going to get lost in the void. The premiere episode acted like a storyboard of ideas rather than a full developed plot, which could be problematic.

Penny Dreaful COA Showtime 4
Images courtesy of Showtime

Don’t bench your best player…

Natalie Dormer is the best part of this series right now and yet she is taking a back seat in the premiere episode. While I understand that the show is focusing more on her whispering in the ears of men to convince them to do evil, she honestly deserves more than this.

I love seeing her take on different characters as she hides her true identity as the demon, Magda, but it seems like we are stifling a major asset on this series and I just honestly want to see more of her. Let her shine!

Not enough supernatural elements.

The original series did a fantastic job of transporting us into a world of Gothic horror as we met familiar characters from literature with a unique and dark spin. While I understand that the show is going in a new direction, I don’t want it to lose that supernatural spark. There are a lot of elements in history to explore during this time, but let’s tell a new story filled with legend and magical possibility.

So am I in or out?

Penny Dreadful COA Showtime 3
Images courtesy of Showtime

Right now, I’m honestly about 50/50. The show has the potential to be something extraordinary. We get this interesting clash between the demon, Magda and the legend, Santa Muerte, which could really help the show find its own entertaining path, but I have a feeling that a lot of things will get lost in the midst of an over-complicated plot.

I’m going to give the show a few more episodes because Natalie Dormer honestly deserves it, but I really hope that this slow burn mystery can just start lighting things on fire already.

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Penny Dreadful: City of Angels in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl


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Spoiler-Free Review of “Ozark” season 3 on Netflix: Edge of Your Seat Perfection

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

Netflix certainly has us covered with plenty of new shows, seasons, and movies to help us during social distancing, but they really hit it out of the park with the latest season of Ozark.

Ozark season 3 premiered on Netflix on March 27th 2020 with 10 new episodes (Approximately 60 minutes in length). It stars Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey.

If you have never seen the show before, it channels a real Breaking Bad feel. Marty Byrde is forced to move his family from Chicago to the Missouri Ozarks in order to launder money for the drug cartel.

Each season focuses on different business ventures that Marty must obtain in order to successfully launder the money to appease his boss and protect his family, leading to scandal, murder, and secrets along the way.

I am a fan of the series and was eager to see where the Byrde family would invest their time and money next. A casino seemed like the perfect place, but we quickly learn that this may not be so easy when competitors and the FBI begin to stir up some trouble for the Byrde family.

The show is fantastic, but the episodes are super long and sometimes can drag here and there. However, season 3 absolutely picks up the pace while introducing us to some new characters. But does it do enough to stand out from its prior seasons? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Ozark Netflix 1
Images courtesy of Netflix

New character dynamics light up the screen.

I am a huge fan of Ruth Langmore and will continue to root for her against all odds. Seriously, she’s the best. However, I was beyond thrilled when we got some new characters on the show to really spice things up and to develop some of our other characters even more.

I am going to highlight Wendy’s brother, Ben, who comes to visit the Byrde family. Tom Pelphrey is beyond brilliant playing this role and he also helps us see even more layers from both Ruth and Wendy. Season 3, episode 9 was probably the best episode I have witnessed on the show and I think that both Pelphrey and Linney deserve an Emmy for their performances.

 I still have chills from it…

It was also nice to see other characters develop more. Charlotte and Jonah actual earn their own story-lines, which I appreciated, as they interact with Helen’s rebellious daughter, Erin.

The casino background is a nice change of scenery.

We’ve seen Marty invest in a restaurant and a strip club, but I thought the casino was really a bold choice.

Ozark Netflix 2
Images courtesy of Netflix

I have to say that Ruth did an amazing job running the floor and was not afraid to ruffle any feathers if anyone tried to mess with her.

Of course the casino captures the attention of the FBI, which makes things more complicated for the Byrde family, but I was thoroughly invested in all of the schemes and secrets behind the scenes here, which was a welcomed change of business for the Byrde family.

Fast paced edge of your seat moments and cliffhangers.

Every episode had something new and exciting. I was never bored throughout season 3 and the final moments of the last episode will leave you in complete shock. It’s that good. I really appreciated how much this show adapted to keep the pace going steady, as it had the tendency to slow down quite a bit in seasons 1 and 2.


The Cons:

Ozark Netflix 3
Images courtesy of Netflix

The Darlene and Wyatt scenes…

So, while I thought a lot of the new character relationships and dynamics were necessary and intriguing, we don’t need to pair everyone up and we don’t need unnecessary sex scenes with certain characters that really leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Sometimes I think certain characters should really just be abandoned if they don’t further the plot and we don’t need to have them in every scene for them to make a difference.

So am I in or out?

Ozark Netflix 5
Images courtesy of Netflix

I’m in! Since a lot of my favorite shows are delaying production and release, I was beyond pleased to be able to binge-watch Ozark season 3 all in one weekend. This series blends family drama and crime thrills seamlessly. Each episode leaves you wanting more and the finale gave us one of the most shocking cliffhangers I have seen in a while.

Season 3 was my favorite season yet! More please!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Ozark season 3 in the comments section below.  Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!


Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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