Emmys Nominations Snubs

Showtime Bosses on Penny Dreadful's Abrupt Finish, Bumpy Roadies and More

Showtime Networks CEO David Nevins and programming president Gary Levine on Thursday revisited the abrupt ending of the buzzy horror drama Penny Dreadful, whose Season 3 finale was announced as a series finale moments after it aired.

“We could have announced it [was the final season] before the final season, and we decided not to,” Nevins admitted. As he noted, series creator John Logan “didn’t want to cast a pall” on the show’s final run, nor tip his hand that Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives would die.

“In [John’s] mind it was always three [seasons] and out,” Nevins added. “From early on, we were trying to keep it open for possibility of more, but it became clear that trying to continue the show past the life of Vanessa Ives would be a lesserment. And John didn’t really want to continue beyond that character.”

“The death of Vanessa Ives was plotted,” Levine said, “and in John’s mind he slowly came around to the idea… that for him there wasn’t [a show beyond that].” With neither star Green nor Logan sticking around, “We thought the series would lose its authenticity.”

Topics also covered during the Showtime exec’s TCA panel:

* The summertime comedy launch Roadies is “going according to vision,” Nevins said, but: “We’re still evaluating what it’s future is, one way or the other.” The series’ fate will be determined “probably at the end of its (freshman) run.”

* Purity, a limited series based on Jonathan Franzen’s bestseller of the same name and starring Daniel Craig, is currently in pre-production on two seasons totaling 20 episodes.

* Showtime has ordered a comedy pilot based on Frankie Shaw’s Sundance Film Festival Jury Award-winning short film SMILF. Shaw will star, write, produce and direct the semi-autobiographical project.

* Regarding Homeland‘s freshly confirmed two-season renewal, there was no indication that producers presented ahead of time a firm plan for Seasons 7 and 8. “This show is broken year by year,” Nevins said. Showrunner Alex Gansa basically told the network, “I’m comfortable doing two more seasons after [Season 6],” which premieres Sunday, Jan. 15.

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40 Comments
  1. Nick says:

    Something still just feels off to me about that being Penny Dreadful’s end…it just feels incomplete as a whole, it’s hard to imagine that’s how the creator wanted it to end, it just felt like there were so many loose ends

    • Wordsmith says:

      I agree. All of the announcements since the finale just sound like PR spin.
      Watching it, you could practically see the moment at which the writers suddenly realized that they needed to wrap things up in a hurry and started tossing story threads out the window. (Hint: it was around the time they killed off formerly-nigh-invincible Hecate with one bullet to the chest.)

      • Simon Jester says:

        Except that John Logan said at Comic-Con in 2014 that he had a three-year arc planned out. (And I don’t think Showtime even produced a press kit for the last season.)

        I do regret that they showed the last two episodes back-to-back, though. I think that contributed to the ‘rushed’ feeling.

    • Gern Blanston says:

      Didn’t watch the show so, I am genuinely asking a question. Could this feeling be due to how 99% of American TV wraps everything up in a neat bow? I tend to watch a lot of anime and foreign television and lots of the time they don’t wrap everything up by the time the show ends. There are loose threads left hanging all of the time. So personally, I have no issues with abrupt endings and unanswered questions. Is this a case of something falling outside of the norm so you are not used to it and therefor didn’t like it, or was it just genuinely a bad ending?

      • CGS says:

        I think in the case of PD, it was that the show always, always seemed carefully crafted and written with plotlines that were carefully developed. In s3 plenty of seeds for future stories are planted which gives a clear impression they are leading somewhere… But suddenly they didn’t. The complex mythology was also left hanging and enough was not touched on that was given so much importance earlier on that the only scenarios are that either Logan is a terrible showrunner, or that he is lying about intending for PD to end when it did. Really it just did not in any remote way resemble a planned ending. And having seen lots of a British TV I know what you mean but no, it didn’t feel like that.

      • Temperance says:

        A good story always has some sense of completion (or some obvious, if only partial resolution of the main plot line or theme) as far as most are concerned. It’s part of the academics of storywriting, and not just in the West. You might mistake the often sudden end of shows on the BBC as if it were a plan… the end abruptly because they have short seasons, late renewals, and they’re pretty fickle.

      • McMorris says:

        It was genuinely a bad ending.

    • Temperance says:

      Yes, other than Ives, everything else was left incomplete or completely hanging. I would have done something *completely* different with the end, leaving a possible quite different Vanessa to continue for another season or two to wrap up the loose ends. And leaving those blatant “next season we meet the Mummy” teasers was just cruel.

  2. Joey says:

    John Logan is a very gifted writer, as evidenced from PD’s first 25 episodes. This can’t be the ending that he envisioned writing.

  3. Ken says:

    Showtime still peddling that lie that the story was always 3 seasons and done. I still call BS. I wish reporters would ask probing questions like “if that is true, then why introduce new characters and hint at future storylines?” Its obvious they came to John Logan in the middle of production on season 3 and told him that it would be the final season and he threw together that finale and since he is still working with Showtime, he is peddling their lie as well.

    • Ken says:

      ANd i will add there is plenty of story with the remaining characters and the mythology of the story started. Eva Green was great, but she wasn’t the entire show…there were other actors and characters just as great.

      • Nick says:

        Right! I mean we didn’t even get a Lily/Ethan reunion…the implications of which could have spun at least a seasons worth of storylines involving multiple main characters

    • Simon Jester says:

      Well, I can tell you why Catriona was introduced: Because Simon Russell Beale was doing a play and unavailable for series 3 filming, so they needed a new character for all of the mythological exposition.

      • Ken says:

        That may be true, but i was specifically referring to Dr Jekyl/Mr Hyde being introduced and not doing anything with the character. There was no reason to include him if JL did not intend to continue that storyline either. And sending SRB’s character to Egypt set up the Mummy and Eva’s characters connection to the Egypt goddess. And the set up plots of the Devil and Dracula being brothers, and their quest for Eva’s character (why can’t i remember her name at this point?), the hound of Hell being involved but ultimately not, the aforementioned Lily/Ethan reunion, Ethan finding out that Dr Frankenstein killing Lily, Lily’s abandoned plan, and on and on…

  4. Jc says:

    There is no way that finale was John Logan’s original “plan”. The entire series was so beautifully done. Yet the finale completely negated the first two seasons(specifically season two). The finale was an utter let down and disappointment .

  5. Brock says:

    I specifically remember reading at the end of season 1 or near season 2 John Logan saying it was a 5 season show. I dont for a minute buy this three season crap.

  6. laniakeaplus says:

    lol three seasons, don’t insult fans. If you really did plan this than his writing and imagine must have faltered right after brainstorming post-2 arch.

  7. A. D. says:

    Roadies is great…hope it gets renewed!

    • drhenning says:

      I agree.. it has grown on me as the season has gone along.. enjoy the realism of moving between cities.. music is good as well.

  8. Mary says:

    So Logan “didn’t want to cast a pall’ on the show’s final run” – plenty of shows announce the final season ahead of time, with no pall cast. In fact, it has recently led to greater celebration and appreciation of the final season as it runs. See: Mad Men, Downton Abbey, among others

    “…nor tip his hand that Eva Green’s Vanessa Ives would die.” Announcing that it’s the final season doesn’t tip that hand. There are gothic tragic endings that don’t involve the main character’s death.

    Roadies is “going according to vision”? The vision was mediocre reviews and critical reception, and bad ratings?

    It’s all spin. And insulting spin. When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

  9. PatriciaLee says:

    I do not understand such shortsightedness. They are losing out on a lot of money by not winding things up properly. Some people do not have time to watch TV, and pick up series later via DVDs. Someone should start a company WindUp and redo the lousy last episodes (whose the boss comes to mind) or do a series ending movie, if you get my drift.

  10. Amanda says:

    I still think “Penny Dreadful” was too rushed for it to be their final season. Had so much left to tell. As for “Roadies” it felt a bit uneven till episode 4 but then it got so much better and so much more like Cameron’s movies. I’m glad I stuck with it and really like the show, even though I feel it’s too low rated to get renewed.

  11. Maria says:

    Why can’t they just bring her back she was a witch so why not just let her come back i still think the show need more air time on the new promote the show

  12. N!loofar says:

    😒👎 PR spin

  13. Larry says:

    I wish Showtime had found a workaround and kept Penny Dreadful on for a couple more seasons. I felt there was a lot of life left in the concept with the other characters. I don’t know if Showtime even realized that Penny Dreadful has been a show that some folks have waited decades for. To cut it short and end it as abruptly as they did was a massive disservice the fans who were loyal to it. Well, at least I don’t need to have Showtime now. I only got it for Penny Dreadful. I’ll just catch Shameless on Blu-ray.

  14. Leah says:

    I am loving Roadies. Great music. Please, please, please renew!!!!

  15. rachmiel says:

    I loved Penny Dreadful, watched it with great pleasure all the way through …

    Until the very last episode.

    I felt it was a slap in the face of show fans. Frankly, I don’t care that Logan felt he needed to end it like he did. After 3 years, it was no longer HIS show … it was ours, the fans. And by ending it this way, he basically disrespected us, treated us poorly.

    We would, I think it’s safe to say, have greatly preferred an ending in which Vanessa found peace … LIVING peace. And, if she had to die, it would have been far more satisfying to us if the death had been well prepared, which it definitely wasn’t. There was no space for us to deal with the sorrow, ground the emotions, mourn. It was just:

    BOOM! The End.

    Shame on you John Logan and Showtime!

    • jc says:

      Perfectly stated!!! I really hope that John Logan and Showtime realize how they destroyed this beautiful show and how utterly disappointed the fans are. Even if it had to end, John Logan has the ability to write an epic finale. Instead, he wrote a finale that was a complete insult to the show, the characters, the fans and even to himself.

      • rachmiel says:

        I honestly wonder whether Logan hadn’t just gotten kind of sick of the show (he said something about losing interest somewhere, don’t remember now) and decided to tear it to the ground in the finale, a bit like a tantrum: Hah! Done with that I am! Too bad for the fans who don’t like it, it’s not my concern anymore!

        Ironically I really liked the last season until then … the show with John Clare and Vanessa in the asylum was FANTASTIC, one of my favorites. And I loved Vanessa’s pull towards the dark side … though I felt it took her way too long to realize her new beau was her lifelong nemesis, she was much too intuitive.

        And Showtime’s decision to NOT hint at this being the final season until the very last moment of the last episode … that’s just tacky.

        Again: Shame on Showtime and Logan! We fans deserved WAY better.

  16. Tracey Jones says:

    I loved the show Penny Dreadful I was very disappointed when it ended the way it did I thought there was much to learn about Chandler’s back story!come on all of the roles had so much more information to there characters that were left just hanging in the balance !!😞 I really enjoyed this show and wished for it to continue oh well that’s how it normally goes when you like an look forward to next week’s showing I’m kinda bummed with Showtime it makes me not want to even start watching the next show or series they’ll have coming out all for a big let down!!!

  17. Matt Toomb says:

    Still calling BS on this. Literally one of the worst endings I have ever seen for a show.. So forced, so lame…

  18. paula says:

    Bring Penny Dreadful back!!!! So many places they could go with Frankenstein, Sir Malcolm, Ethan, Dorian….Jeckle …. they really screwed their fans!!!!!!!

  19. rockerrick says:

    Please renew Roadies (you should not have killed off Phil – your best character)!

  20. Karen Gillan says:

    I hope Roadies gets a 2nd season. I really enjoyed it and it was a nice change from the usual TV line ups. Loved the music as well.

  21. Maria says:

    I truly believe that there could be a fourth season she’s a witch so she can always come back that is my opinion

  22. Shelley says:

    I’m so sad to read Roadies was canceled! I loved that show! Couldn’t wait for the next episode. It made me smile, laugh and cry.
    To bad heart felt series always lose out.