While describing itself as a "spiritual descendant" of the original series, Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels also wants viewers to know that it stands on its own merits. Which we're feeling is a nice way of saying that you don't have to know a whole heckuva' lot about the 19th Century England-set first run to know what's going on in late '30s Los Angeles.
But what you do need to know – and what you, Det. Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto), and Det. Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane) are about to learn in the following teaser "Crime" –
When a grisly murder shocks the city of Los Angeles in 1938, Detective Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto) and his partner Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane) become embroiled in an epic story that reflects the rich history of Los Angeles: from the building of the city's first freeways and its deep traditions of Mexican-American folklore, to the dangerous espionage actions of the Third Reich and the rise of radio evangelism.
Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels stars Zovatto, Lane, Natalie Dormer, Jessica Garza, Johnathan Nieves, Adriana Barraza, Michael Gladis, Rory Kinnear, Kerry Bishé, Brent Spiner, Amy Madigan, John Logan, Lorenza Izzo, Adam Rodriguez, Thomas Kretschmann, Dominic Sherwood, Ethan Peck and Lin Shaye.
"Penny Dreadful: City of Angels" – Cast of Characters
● Zovatto's Tiago Vega is LAPD's first Mexican-American detective, forced to grapple with racism, childhood trauma, and faith issues in 1938 Los Angeles.
● Lane's Lewis Michener is a veteran officer in the LAPD as well as Vega's partner and mentor, wise to the ways of the world and ruthless in pursuit of his goals.
● Nieves' Mateo Vega is Tiago's volatile younger brother. While essentially goodhearted, he lacks the clear strength and ambition of Tiago, so he's vulnerable to both his own capricious emotions and various influences around him.
● Garza's Josefina is the youngest of the Vega family. She plays the part of the quiet and overlooked sister, but possesses a powerful spirit waiting to be unleashed.
● Barraza's Maria Vega is the powerful matriarch of the Vega family. Maria will go to any lengths to protect her children from the dangerous world of 1938 social politics, as well as from the chilling supernatural forces invading their lives.
● Dormer's Magda is a supernatural demon who can take the appearance of anyone she chooses and manifests in a number of guises throughout the story. Charismatic, clever and chameleonic, Magda is an invaluable ally – and could also be a deadly enemy.
● Kinnear's Dr. Peter Craft is a successful German pediatrician and the head of the German-American Bund, an organization he hopes will keep the United States isolated from the growing threat of war in Europe.
● Bishé's Sister Molly is a charismatic radio evangelist. A beautiful singer and gifted orator, Molly captivates her many faithful followers even as she grapples with the complex demands of her life.
● Madigan's Miss Adelaide Finnister is the mother of the charismatic radio evangelist Sister Molly (Kerry Bishé). Miss Adelaide shrewdly manages the church's finances and oversees the growing religious empire.
● Spiner's Capt. Ned Vanderhoff is the Precinct Captain at the Hollenbeck police station in Boyle Heights – the boss of Tiago Vega (Zovatto) and Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane). A veteran officer under a lot pressure, Vanderhoff struggles to keep a lid on the volatile and changing city.
● Shaye's Dottie Minter is a friend and ally of Detective Lewis Michener (Lane) Cunning, wry and clever, Dottie is an invaluable operative in the battle against Third Reich espionage in Los Angeles.
● Gladis' Councilman Charlton Townsend is the ambitious head of the L.A. City Council's Transportation Committee; a man of killer instincts and ruthless political wiles.
● Izzo's Santa Muerte is the Angel of Holy Death and sister of the charismatic demoness, Magda (Dormer).
● Rodriguez's Raul Vega is the eldest son of the Vega family and a righteous union leader and advocate for his people.
● Kretschmann's Richard Goss is an aristocratic and mysterious German architect with grand plans for the future of Los Angeles: a manipulative master builder with unsettling connections to City Hall.
● Sherwood's Kurt is the chauffer and bodyguard for Richard Goss (Kretschmann). There's more to Kurt than meets the eye: an unexpected depth and surprising background.
● Peck's Herman Ackermann is the charismatic second-in-command at the German-American Bund. His aggressive politics, heated rhetoric, and personal magnetism inevitably create tension within the group and for the Bund's leader, Peter Craft (Kinnear).
Logan and Michael Aguilar (Kidding) serve as executive producers, along with the Neal Street Productions' Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris, the originals' executive producers. James Bagley will serve as co-executive producer, with Logan's Desert Wolf Productions producing. Paco Cabezas (American Gods, Deadly Class) is on board to direct several episodes.