'Penny Dreadful' Revived at Showtime

Penny Dreadful poster and John Logan - Split-Getty-H 2018
Courtesy Photo; Getty Images

Two years after its surprising and abrupt end, Showtime is reviving Penny Dreadful with a new chapter called City of Angels.

Creator, writer and executive producer John Logan will return for the new series, which has been in the works for months, alongside Michael Aguilar (Kidding) for the new chapter, which is described as a "spiritual descendant" of the original three-season story that was set in Victorian-era London. Production on this incarnation will begin in 2019. A premiere date and episode count have not been determined.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels opens in 1938 Los Angeles for a story that Showtime describes as "a time and place deeply infused with Mexican-American folklore and social tension." Rooted in the conflict between characters connected to the deity Santa Muerte and others allied with the devil, City of Angels will explore a mix of the supernatural and the combustible reality of that period, creating new occult myths and moral dilemmas within a historical backdrop. The series will feature all new characters and storylines.

"Penny Dreadful: City of Angels will have a social consciousness and historical awareness that we chose not to explore in the Penny Dreadful London storylines," Logan said Thursday in a statement. "We will now be grappling with specific historical and real-world political, religious, social and racial issues. In 1938, Los Angeles was facing some hard questions about its future and its soul. Our characters must do the same. There are no easy answers. There are only powerful questions and arresting moral challenges. As always in the world of Penny Dreadful, there are no heroes or villains in this world, only protagonists and antagonists; complicated and conflicted characters living on the fulcrum of moral choice."

Logan and Showtime launched Penny Dreadful in 2014. The first incarnation of the series featured famous characters, including Frankenstein's monster, Dorian Gray and figures from the Dracula novel.

The morning after the third-season finale, which featured the surprising death of Eva Green's Vanessa Ives, Showtime and Logan announced that they had decided midway through its sophomore run that the show would wrap with its third season. "John has decided the show really, at its core, has always been Vanessa Ives. John has said three seasons is enough, and I think it's really interesting that we live in this world where every show can have its own rhythm and create its own destiny," Showtime president David Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter at the time. "This is a case of your creator says this is the best thing for the show and eventually you just say OK, do it, just do it well." 

Logan and his Desert Wolf Productions banner, Aguilar and Neal Street Productions duo Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Skyfall) and Pippa Harris executive produce the series; James Bagley co-exec produces.

"We were so thrilled when John Logan came to us with this wildly original take on the Penny Dreadful mythology that explores both the human spirit and the spirit world here in California," said Showtime programming president Gary Levine. "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels promises to be an extraordinary saga of familial love set against the terrifying monsters that are around us and within us."

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels joins a Showtime scripted roster that is poised to say farewell to two of its long-running series next year: Homeland and The Affair. The premium cabler's slate also includes Billions, The Chi, Ray Donovan, Shameless, SMILF, Kidding and the upcoming Halo, City on a Hill and Ball Street. Next up is the limited series Escape at Dannemora.