Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has a simple basic concept: what if the great characters of 19th/early 20th century English literature got together as secret agents? They could have adventures and since they're all public domain they didn't have to be licensed! Moore was ahead of the curve on mash-up culture, and his comics featuring the League (and their multiple iterations) have been crammed with wonderful references and literary in-jokes. It's not his best work, but there's a playfulness to it all that's a load of fun. The less said about the movie, the better.
Now Showtime is getting into The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen business, but they've changed the name to Penny Dreadful. And they're not including Alan Moore in any way. And they're not really basing it on his stuff, just sort of taking the exact same idea and running with it... which I guess is the danger you face when writing comics full of public domain characters.
The new show is from John Logan and Sam Mendes, the guys behind Skyfall (and other stuff too, but let's go with their most search optimized credit), and it'll air on Showtime in 2014. Described as a 'psychosexual horror' show, Penny Dreadful will combine Dr. Frankenstein and his monster, Dorian Gray and characters from Dracula into a romp sure to meet True Blood levels of sex and violence.
Maybe it'll be good! I have a certain skepticism to all Showtime programs, because they tend to be 'HBO, but more salacious,' but the pedigree on this is good. The whole thing could devolve into a terrible camp-fest, and I do wonder how true to the characters the show will be. I loved Moore's stuff because I felt like I was getting new insight into familiar characters, but will Logan stay as faithful? The average TV audience doesn't even know who the hell Dorian Gray is, let alone get that Frankenstein's monster was given to high-falutin' soliloquies.