Saturday, June 07, 2014


I've been watching the Showtime series Penny Dreadful. 
It's very steampunk, and I do applaud the writers having the guts to rewrite the classic horror and gothic tales.  It's quite a good, entertaining show... but some of their set and/ or prop people need too be taken to task... I know I'm being too picky.  And I know that the vast amount of the populace probably wouldn't notice...
But in the third episode... the child Victor Frankenstein is shown walking thrown a field of daffodils until he comes upon the corpse of his beloved pet dog.  It's a scene that sets up his decision with death That feeds his character later... the corpse of the dog was very gruesomely executed by the FX dept, complete with living maggots crawling out of its eyes... What was bothering me was the daffodils that the poor deceased animal was found among.
They were fake. 
It's not like they were incidental,  I could forgive that.  They were important... the whole lead into the scene was a Woodsworth poem... the one with the line about finding eternity in a... you guessed it... daffodil.  There were some rather lush shots of said daffodils...  I didn't notice it at first. The photography was overlit and shot through a filter to make everything seem prettier before it all got ugly, Then I noticed that the daffs didn't look right.  There were no buds.  Just open blooms.   The leaves were what were really bothering me...daffodils grow there leaves from an underground bulb and the foilage comes directly from the ground...these leaves seemed to be coming from a stem about 4 inches above the ground.  And they were light green, not the dark green you'd expect.  And there weren't enough of them.  And yep... that leaf has some obvious wire showing.  Damn. 
Now... I've been on movie sets.  There are a lot of fake flowers on the interior sets, and filling in on the exterior sets too... let's face it, real blooms don't hold up for several weeks of shooting under hot lights.  But when said flowers are featured that closely,  you gotta take some extra trouble.
You got in excess of 2000 dollars tied up on a fake dead dog, and daffs that came from a dollar store.  I'm not even going to mention that daffodils seemed to be blooming in mid to late summer except I just did... oh well.
Now... I got past it... the plot was distracting... until the next episode.
In the next episode there mysterious Vanessa Ives was semi stalking the hypnotic and magnetic Dorian Gray at the botanical garden.  Now, I will forgive cultivars and species growing in the background that weren't known in the Victorian period.
I'm not THAT picky.  
But when Dorian shows Vanessa a plant that he insists is the poisonous Atropa Belladonna... it should somewhat resemble Atropa Belladonna. 
It most definitely NOT be a bunch of silk ficus leaves with a few silk orchids scattered about.      
For God's sake, your in a bloody Botanic garden.  There's gotta be a real live atropa around there somewhere.  If not, these are a few real live horticulturists around who could, with a couple days warning, find you one.  Or a reasonable substitute.  At least a real plant... if a character is going to be sniffing a plants fragrance in closeup, it has to be a convincing plant dammit.   I'll forgive Dorian snorting the fragrance of a phalenopsis orchid, even though it doesn't have a fragrance.  I'll forgive him later saying that some other orchid is a rare Siberian species that only blooms once every 15 years, even though it looks like a hybrid that you can occasionally find at Wal-Mart,  but at least they were real plants. 


  1. LOLOL. Great rant, Claude!!! I live for these! hehehe.

  2. Hee hee! You ARE picky. But you are also right. Get it right folks--some of us really do care!

  3. I do not have the luxury of colorful annuals here in the tropics - but drop me a line if you need some Amorphophallus tubers. You can probably sell them too - I am sure there are adventurous gardeners there !

  4. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Just watched Penny Dreaful and loved it. But I was really shoked about the fake belladonna, although I think it is Solanum dulcamara what is a nightshade too.