Are You Still Pissed About How Penny Dreadful Ended?

The season two cast of Penny Dreadful.
The season two cast of Penny Dreadful.
Image: Showtime

Showtime’s original Penny Dreadful seriesnot to be confused with the more recent installment with Natalie Dormer—had a three-season run from 2016-2018. It borrowed its premise from the Alan Moore graphic novel League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, wherein characters from famous English literature serve as protagonists and antagonists.

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Produced and written by John Logan, the Victorian-set gothic horror show starred Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, and Timothy Dalton.The show followed Vanessa Ives (Green), a powerful psychic medium wanted by the devil, as she and her crew—gunslinger Ethan “Wolfman” Chandler (Hartnett), explorer Sir Malcolm Murray (Sir Timothy Dalton), and scientist Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway)—chased after the various dark forces plaguing London in the 1800s.

Deceased actress Helen McCrory played season two antagonist Madam Kali/Evelyn Poole in an unforgettable performance. I made sure to the point that out on Twitter.

I wish her character could have had more to do in the series, but it ended abruptly after season three. And I’m still upset about it!

The show ended abruptly with no warning to fans. According to Deadline, Logan announced that season three would be the end of the series. I swore up and down that this was a lie. Who ends a show without making an initial announcement that it’s over? Penny Dreadful had too many characters with backstories left open-ended for his reasoning to hold any truth.

Shazad Latif as Doctor Jekyll was introduced in season three, as Lilly (Billie Piper), a Bride of Frankenstein-esque character, was building an army of vengeful women to take revenge against the men of London, and Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) headed to Egypt. Fans speculated this would segue into an appearance of the Mummy.

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In addition, Catriona Hartigan (Perdita Weeks), an original character for the show that had roots in the H.G. Wells novel The Time Machine, was Vanessa Ives’ new confidant. And at the end of it all, Vanessa gets turned into a damn vampire by Dracula! You don’t leave that many loose ends and say that’s what you always wanted to do. John Logan, I don’t believe you, and I’m still bitter.

Any Penny Dreadful fans out there just as upset as I am? Four years later, and I am still in disbelief! What sort of conclusion (or continuation) would you rather have seen instead?

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Let me hear your thoughts on this!


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DISCUSSION

imodok
iMODOK

I was bitterly disappointed when Penny Dreadful was abruptly canceled. I never understood why it didn’t find an audience and am convinced it would have been huge if it had launched in the streaming era. Eva Green was a total superstar, and it was great showcase for Timothy Dalton and Josh Hartnett, who has never been better. The narrative was daring and took huge risks (which didn’t always pay off), but always felt true to — and critical of— the source material and the Victorian era. The shows blend of gothic atmosphere, gore and sensuality was totally compelling. Even the series’ opening credits and score were exceptional.

I think, first and foremost, the sudden cancellation meant that the final confrontation with Dracula, the Big Bad of the entire series, was rushed and not as well developed as it should have been. Giving that arc more time to marinate and build would be my first pick.

After that, there were many subplots to complete, but an adventure in Africa seemed inevitable, perhaps involving a version of Haggard’s She. I wanted Sembene to come back as a spirit haunting Sir Malcolm. I would be interested on the shows take on Fu Manchu and old school Haitian zombies.

But I am also intrigued by the idea, teased in the final season, that the series could include sci fi based as well as supernatural horror — taking on Morlocks from the future and even aliens.