After a surprise cancellation two years ago, Penny Dreadful is rising from the dead like, well, one of the monsters its original cast of characters might have fought. Showtime announced today that the series is now apparently an anthology, and will return to the premium network with a new installment titled City of Angels. The new season will focus on 1930s Los Angeles, and series creator John Logan will be returning to write and executive produce.
Described as “A spiritual descendant of the Penny Dreadful story set in Victorian-era London, the next chapter opens in 1938 Los Angeles, 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, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels will explore an exciting mix of the supernatural and the combustible reality of that period, creating new occult myths and moral dilemmas within a genuine historical backdrop. This chapter is a bold new vision that will employ all new characters and storylines.”
In a press release, Gary Levine, President of Programming, Showtime Networks Inc., said of the renewal:
“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. 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 will have a social consciousness and historical awareness that we chose not to explore in the Penny Dreadful London storylines,” Logan said. “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.”
What a bizarre thing. In an attempt to draft off of existing IP and catch people’s attention, attaching the name Penny Dreadful on here (as it was beloved!) might raise more interest than just calling it a new series from the creator of Penny Dreadful, sure, but it feels like an entirely new series. The premise is certainly intriguing, but the original built a world around famous fictional horror figures … will the new series do the same? And while the anthology approach could be an interesting one if they continue to pursue it beyond this season, really, it just hurts my heart remembering that we lost Vanessa Ives. Alas!