TRAILER: ‘Penny Dreadful’ Spin-off Places Mexican-American Folklore at Center of 1930s-Era Crime Story

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Showtime
Courtesy of Showtime
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After a four-year hiatus, Showtime horror series Penny Dreadful will be reintroduced as a spin-off series from John Logan, the original show’s creator, writer and executive producer. On April 26, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels will debut on Showtime. The show will take place in the 1930s – during the Golden Age of Hollywood – and be “deeply infused with Mexican-American folklore and social tension.”

Viewers will immediately see some of this Latino culture – in gruesome fashion – at the start of the trailer when the LAPD’s first Mexican-American detective Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto) arrives at a murder scene, where a victim’s face is painted like La Catrina – the skeletal figure best known as a symbol of Dia de Muertos. Written in blood near the bodies, the words, “Te llevas nuestro corazón, tomamos el tuyo,” set the stage for a supernatural crime story featuring entities like Santa Muerte and the Devil.

Mexican actress and Academy Award nominee Adriana Barraza (Babel) stars in the series as Maria Vega, the religious matriarch of the Vega family. She lights candles and praying to a collection of Santa Muerte statues arranged in an eerie sort of Dia de Muertos altar. Other Latino actors in the mix include Jessica Garza (The Purge), Johnathan Nieves (Better Call Saul), Sebastian Chacon (Tales of the City) Lorenza Izzo (Casual), Adam Rodriguez (Criminal Minds) and Adan Rocha (Murphy Brown).

Cultures seem to clash when the series combines Third Reich imagery with Mexican-American characters, but based on an interview at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour earlier this year, it seems as though Logan is interested in telling a timely story about today’s “marginalization and victimization of an ethnic community.”

We’ll have to wait a few more months to see if this means we’ll see a “Nazis vs. Mexicans” narrative, but Logan has definitely piqued our interest.

Check out the trailer below.