Penny Dreadful - why no Holmes?

I only recently discovered Penny Dreadful so I appreciate that this discussion may have taken place long ago...

...but I do find myself wondering at the creator, John Logan's, choices when it came to source material.

At the time of writing I've only seen the first two series but I have read ahead to see the characters due to feature in the third, and sadly final, series.

The first two series took characters from the works of Mary Shelley (Victor Frankenstein, the monster et al.), Bram Stoker (Mina Murray), Oscar Wilde (Dorian Gray) and others.

It appears that for the third series Dracula and other Stoker characters will feature along with Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Henry Jekyll.

Logan created additional characters as well but given the period he chose I'm surprised he elected not to touch on the works of Conan Doyle.

Given Sir Malcolm Murray's explorer character it would have been an obvious idea to bring in Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger. Given that Conan Doyle took Challenger into the world of Spiritualism he would have been a shoe-in to the Penny Dreadful world.

Perhaps this is the problem with Holmes. Is Holmes too rooted in the logical world to fit into the Penny Dreadful world? In a clearly supernatural world would the logical and sceptical Holmes have appeared as a foolish character in denial or was is it simply the case that he's a bit overused on TV at present?

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here



  1. I've actually been wondering about this too, Alistair. It certainly seems that Holmes should show up in the series.

  2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed in the supernatural and was even a member of The Ghost Society. Sherlock, himself, wanted to find proof of the supernatural but never got so lucky. "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."

  3. Holmes was not on a quest to find proof of the supernatural. If witnesses suggested it as an explanation during cases (e.g. Devil's Foot, Sussex Vampire) he would demand proof. As he said himself "no ghosts need apply."

  4. I think that Holmes, being proof-oriented, would have accepted anything proven to him, including the supernatural. It might take him a few episodes (I haven't seen the series at all), but to portray Holmes as stubbornly in denial about anything strikes me as a grave injustice to his character.
    It's more likely to be the result of the present film oversaturation.