Showtime’s Excellent ‘Penny Dreadful’ Draws Viewers Into Interactive Installations Photos, VIDEO

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Danny Sapani, left, is Sembene, Eva Green is Vanessa Ives, Josh Hartnett is Ethan Chandler and Timothy Dalton is Sir Malcolm in Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful.” (Jonathan Hession/Showtime)

Showtime’s stunning Gothic melange of the literary demimonde is coming this Sunday, May 11 at 10 PM.

The stylish horror drama is dense as properly layered English Trifle with so many visual shockers you may want you favorite blankie nearby, unless you really like spiders.

In preparation for the launch of “Penny Dreadful,”  Showtime commissioned a creepy, interactive experience that recreated Victorian London in present day through window displays that will be up from May 5 through May 18 in New York (on 21st St and Broadway) and LA (at The Roosevelt Hotel, 7024 Hollywood Blvd).

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The displays were created by Future Colossal and their CEO and Creative Director Jake Lee-High (pictured above) who explained (tried to) very complicated techie details to some not-so-tech savvy journalists this week for the making of the interactive experience, with access to behind the scenes technology that literally tracks passerby foot traffic. It’s unnerving and exhilarating at the same time. And by ‘not-so-tech savvy journalists’ I mean me. There were many computers involved in the making of this cool installation I can say with great authority.

"Penny Dreadful" OOH Experience LA

If you are unsure about “Dreadful,” we highly recommend you add this to your Sunday TV fare. This highly unusual series is a macabre shocker that dips heavily into that era’s literary riches, and is penned by John Logan. This steampunk meets From Hell meets Sweeney Todd series is set in 1891 olde London, a dark and dirty place still unnerved by the gruesome Jack the Ripper murders. Main characters include Sir Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), a renowned explorer, stunning Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) , American shoot ‘em up cowboy Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney) and the good Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), one of the many interesting characters I loved watching inside this addictive potboiler of evil.  Also watch for Billie Piper, Danny Sapani and Rory Kinnear.

The series name is a tip of the hat to slightly salacious and certainly scandalous Victorian publications that serialized stories in weekly installments costing, you guessed it, just a penny. Logan dives deeper and culls characters from 19th-century English literary classics like The Picture of Dorian Gray, Dracula and of course, Frankenstein.

(All this bit came from Showtime) These interactive windows use artificially intelligent characters controlled by pedestrians using a combination of LIDAR Lasers and a groundbreaking new display technology called Live Vinyl (LED panels backlighting printed vinyl) to produce an immersive environment that reflects the world of Penny Dreadful.

This half-world is inhabited by characters from the series brought to life by depth-measuring lasers precise enough to capture 50 pedestrians at a time.

"Penny Dreadful" OOH Experience LA

Additionally, the consumers brave enough to look through the kinetoscopes in each window will be able to experience some of the series’ characters and surroundings.

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The windows will also allow each passerby to create their own animated gif that they can share via social media. This will be the first time ever that Live Vinyl will be used along with LIDAR technology to drive an interactive storefront that responds to each pedestrian individually.

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