TV review: Penny Dreadful: City Of Angels
Don't call it a comeback.
Those who were left reeling by the sudden end of horror series Penny Dreadful in 2016 and hoping for something similar may well struggle with this spin-off - at first.
Get over that we moved from the Gothic to the Noir, and there is a lot to enjoy.
Whereas the Victorian London setting of the original had infamous characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray to latch on to, City Of Angels is fresh and unfamiliar ground.
Unfamiliar in that, so far, there are no famous monsters roaming. Well, no fictional ones at least.
It may be set in the Los Angeles of 1938, yet the themes are chillingly up to date.
Racial tension over an immigrant population, the rise of US-based Nazis and manipulation under the guise of religion.
The one familiar face is that of Rory Kinnear, who played The Creature last time round to heartbreaking effect. This time, he is a seemingly genial doctor, who is also leading his local chapter of Nazis.
The new star for this series is Natalie Dormer as Magda, a demonic presence who inhabits a number of roles - each manipulating and seducing various players into lighting the powder keg of tension.
The Game Of Thrones star is always captivating and is obviously having fun here. While some of the accents wobble, it is entertaining to see her make the switch from apparent innocence to relishing whispering evil nothings into the malleable.
City Of Angels is primarily the story of Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto), a Mexican-American detective shunned by a prejudiced LAPD and viewed suspiciously by his own community for joining the police.
He teams up with Nathan Lane's Jewish detective, and they are both on the outside, but seemingly the only cool heads in a city ready to pop.
Add an investigation into a cult murder/sacrifice, an early mega church and the building of a highway by the far right and you have plenty of threads to follow. Shot to make every location look like it is simmering in a low, arid, oppressive heat, this is a desert dry horror noir.
Less mystical than its predecessor, yet refreshingly not simply repeating a formula.
Premieres April 27, 11pm, FX (StarHub TV Ch 507/Singtel TV Ch 310)