Gothic horror is enjoying something of a revival on TV at the moment, from the absurd American Horror Story to the curiously restrained and sanitised Dracula, which was cancelled after just one season. This will not be the fate of John Logan’s Penny Dreadful, however, which has already been renewed for an extended second season just four episodes into its debut. Taking its inspiration from the sensational serialised fiction of the penny dreadfuls popular in mid-Victorian Britain, the show is a patchwork of famous Victorian literary characters featuring alongside Logan’s own fictional creations and all set against the backdrop of the most elusive and enigmatic character of them all, the city of London. This is the London of fog and gaslights, of excess and restraint, and the collision between modernity and tradition; a place where the spectre of Jack the Ripper still haunts every dark alleyway. "There is only one goal worthy of scientific exploration: piercing the tissue that separates life from death", says Dr Viktor Frankenstein, just one of the many literary figures reincarnated in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. This is a show all about the spaces in between, the lines between the living and the dead, the beautiful and the horrific.