After a somewhat uneven first season, Penny Dreadful, Season 2 premieres this Sunday, May 2nd with an extended 10 episode run. The show merges the stories of Dorian Gray, Van Helsing, Dracula, The Werewolf, and Frankenstein into a lurid and grim 19th-century British-set narrative. It sounds like a lot of fun and often it is, but it's tone is brutally stark and somber. The second season is rumored to be "more engaging for a broader audience". I often felt like I needed a viewer's guide and thankfully a literary-minded friend was able to lend some background to the original books. It's definitely the thinking person's American Horror Story.