Created by John Logan, ‘Penny Dreadful’- a Victorian horror television series, is primarily a treat for goths all around the world. In a nutshell, the Showtime series pays tribute to Penny dreadfuls which were serialized tales of horror and adventure printed in 19th-century England.
With its classic monsters and more slow-burn horror stories, the series lasted for only a total of three seasons before it ended nearly four years ago in 2016. In its short run, ‘Penny Dreadful‘ achieved critical success and was a fan favourite with high ratings for all three seasons. Season 2 of the show even managed to get a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans still recall the series finale as controversial and one that left them more disappointed than surprised.
- ‘Penny Dreadful’s’ ending explained
- Why did the show end after three seasons?
- Why was it so controversial?
‘Penny Dreadful’s’ ending explained! Why was it controversial?
The Showtime series’ third season’s two-hour-long finale, titled “The End”, left many frustrated after the horror mash-up breathed its last on June 19, 2016. The creator of the series brought together some of literature’s most terrifying characters from 19th-century Victorian gothic fiction to weave a story for ‘Penny Dreadful’. The series features the character of Dorian Gray from Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”; Mina Harker, Abraham Van Helsing, John Seward, Renfield, and Count Dracula from Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”; Victor Frankenstein and his monster from Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”.
While Henry Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” also makes an appearance. For the uninitiated, Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) remained the central focus of the controversial finale. In the last season, Vanessa, after being bitten by Dracula, sees Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), her love interest, and a werewolf known as “lupus dei”, which translates to “wolf of God”. She requests him to kill her as an act of mercy, which, after much thought, he agrees to do. Ethan shoots Vanessa and kills her, allowing her to connect with God.
The creative decision to kill Vanessa in the final episode angered several fans of the show who followed it from the beginning. Fans argued that the show’s ending left too many characters’ fates up in the air while ending their favourite Vanessa’s existence entirely. Her death at Ethan’s hands was not only unsettling and out of character but a heartbreaking ending to the entire story.
Why did Penny Dreadful cancelled after three seasons?
Showtime president David Nevins opened up about his decision to axe the horror series in an interview with “Variety“. He said:
“My short answer is because John convinced me that this was the right end, and the right time to end. It gives closure to Vanessa Ives, and without Vanessa Ives, the show shouldn’t go on.”
In the same interaction, show creator John Logan explained Nevins statement in detail. He said:
“This is a show about Vanessa Ives and her struggle with faith — how one woman grapples with God and the devil.”
“Midway through the second season, when we were filming it — so about two years ago — I realized where we were heading”
Calling it an “apotheosis”, Logan concluded that it was obvious for him that Ives would find peace finally with God in the season finale and that would be the perfect end to his story.
While the showrunners seem content with their decision, the loyal fans of the show feel otherwise. Tell us what you think of the show’s conclusion in the comments.