Penny Dreadful Tarot (Showtime), and the first few cards (the Majors) didn't disappoint. Simple line drawings on a purple background, a creepy take on tradition. Like the skeleton roaming free under a spiky Sun, the images are clear, spooky, and work very well both intuitively and archetypally.
The Courts, too, are surprisingly good. For instance, in this King of Pentacles we have a mature man in a crown and draping cape. He holds an antlered skull on a wand, with an inverted pentacle etched into its forehead. Grounded, perhaps too materialistic, as well as domineering, he is a strong figure.
However, then we come to the bulk of the Minors, all the cards 2-10. These generally have a central "theme" or image. So, the Seven of Wands builds up from the two of wands, which had the foregrounded wand with a skull and one other wand on it, to what you see in the image. At least they show the correct number of suit objects. Other than that, though, I find them very disappointing.
Imagine if you got a number of cards from the same suit in a spread. There is no colour variation, and little image variation. These are the worst of both illustrated and non-illustrated pips: a central image which attracts attention, yet has nothing to say; and then suit objects that you cannot easily count or distinguish. The image distracts me from straight-up numerological and other traditional readings, while not adding anything useful to an intuitive interpretation.
All that being said, I am sure there is someone somewhere who would get on with these cards. With that hope, I offer an unopened deck as a giveaway - postage paid to anywhere in the world. I bought two decks, as I have a friend who loves purple, and loves the Bohemian Gothic Tarot, so I thought this might please her. Looking through my own copy, though, I realised it wouldn't (partly as there are spiders on a lot of the Majors, of which she is terrified, and partly because of the pip problem). So, if anyone is interested, just leave a comment. I will announce the winner (if there's more than one person interested) next Friday, 5th September :)