January 16, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST

Showtime previewed TV’s latest sexy horror drama series to critics at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena on Thursday. The mood in the room? Mixed. The Penny Dreadful trailer (a longer and better and more naked version than the teaser below) looked very promising. Yet there was a sense of treading into familiar territory and a curiosity about whether the new drama will stand out. Penny Dreadful stars Eva Green, Timothy Dalton and a facial-haired Josh Hartnett in a show that weaves together a group of people living in Victorian London along with literary horror characters (such Frankenstein’s monster, Dorian Gray, and Dracula). It’s like an R-rated Once Upon a Time with classic monsters.

One reporter noted to the panel, “It sort of feels as though I’m living in a psychosexual horror arms race,” referring to shows like HBO’s True Blood and FX’s American Horror Story. “We’re just creating our own show, and it’s appropriate to what we want to do,” replied creator John Logan (a heavy hitter whose screenwriting credits include Gladiator and Skyfall). “I’m not concerned with pushing the envelope or not pushing the envelope. I’m concerned with being true to who these characters are.” Here’s the trailer. Penny for your thoughts?

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