Penny Dreadful: On the 10th Anniversary of the Series’ Premiere, the Time Is Monstrously Right to Raise It From the Grave

When Showtime premiered Penny Dreadful a decade ago, we altogether expected a grand monster mash-up. And certainly, series creator John Logan delivered just that over the course of the three seasons that followed. But he also gave viewers something that we couldn’t possibly have anticipated: a horror drama of uncommon depth and crushing beauty. It is for that reason that all these years later, we still can’t help but hope he’ll reconsider his decision to end the show after just 27 episodes with the death of Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives. (Read TVLine’s 2016 interview with Logan here.)

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That the writer/executive producer would view Miss Ives as the beating heart of Penny Dreadful makes sense, of course. Much of the story sprang from her torturous battles with the forces of darkness. However, we would never say that the show couldn’t have gone on without her. We were, after all, equally gripped by the soul-stomping plight of the Creature (Rory Kinnear), the hopeless torment of werewolf Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and especially the transformation of coarse Brona Croft into the vengeful Lily Frankenstein (the estimable Billie Piper).

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We were also excited about the prospect of what was to come, given the hints that were dropped in Season 3 that we were destined to see Dr. Jekyll (Shazad Latif) become Mr. Hyde and Ferdinand Lyle (Simon Russell Beale) unwrap a mummy. Logan said back then that all he was doing was moving characters toward their respective finish lines. But what if he wasn’t? What if now, with time and distance, he was able to admit that he misses the gothic world that he created — and return to it?

Penny Dreadful Season 4
Penny Dreadful Season 4

Immediately after Penny Dreadful aired its last episode, TVLine laid out a blueprint for how the series could continue. Or, rather, we pointed out how Logan himself had already outlined the next chapter before our eyes. (Read how here.) Not that the series’ short-lived “spiritual descendant” Penny Dreadful: City of Angels didn’t have its merits, but its intrigue didn’t hold a candle to the possibilities that the mothership dangled in front of us. And as passionate as the show’s fan base was, were it to rise from the grave, we’d flock to it as devotedly as Dracula’s minions did to their master.

Would changes have to be made, it being 10 years on and actors not necessarily being available? Naturally. We wouldn’t be afraid, though, not if Logan’s sure hand was charting the course of the continuing drama. We’d just be grateful for the chance to revisit his exquisitely bleak landscape and satisfy our never-ending hunger for his elegant prose.

What say you? Would you watch a Penny Dreadful without Vanessa? Or, in your opinion, did the show end when it should have?

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