It is tough to believe, but it's been three years since Penny Dreadful ended its run on Showtime. The Victorian-era horror series ran for three seasons before coming to an unexpected end in 2016. Josh Hartnett starred opposite Eva Green and Timothy Green in the fan-favorite show as the brooding gunslinger Ethan Chandler, and it appears Hartnett wasn't too upset by the show ending.
Penny Dreadful did not leave fans hanging with a cliffhanger that left fans wondering what happened to its canvas of richly drawn character, and instead had more of a rounded conclusion. When asked if he wished there were more seasons of Penny Dreadful, Josh Hartnett told Variety:
I liked Penny Dreadful. I thought it was really well done, but I think it had run its course. Also, most of us had only worked on films before that, and I think we were all ready to go find other things to work on.
Josh Hartnett and (at least some of) the rest of the cast were ready to move on after those first three seasons, considering they weren't all used to the long schedules that prestige cable shows can have. But at least Penny Dreadful did not end before everyone thought it was time for it to end. As Hartnett points out, the cast was comprised of a lot of film stars, and a television show is a totally different medium. (Interestingly enough, Timothy Dalton has since taken on another TV series in DC Universe’s Doom Patrol as Niles Caulder/ The Chief.)
I guess Penny Dreadful fans can probably rule out an Ethan Chandler spinoff series in the near future. As someone who thought Josh Hartnett did some of his best work playing the character, I cannot help wishing he would get to reprise the role at some point. That said, Penny Dreadful did have a beginning, middle, and end that left viewers with a sense of closure.
By the time the show had ended, Ethan and the remaining cast of characters seemed poised to tell even more stories from gothic horror history; at least, it seemed to this fan that more storylines were teeming below the surface. Showtime later explained the reason behind the show’s surprising ending was that Penny Dreadful’s creator, John Logan, had always envisioned the show having a three-season run. So it all made sense, even if it left fans wanting more.
Thankfully, those who did not initially get a chance to watch Penny Dreadful currently have a chance to on Netflix. (It's a great companion binge to The Witcher as fans await that series’ return.) Those wishing for more seasons of Penny Dreadful can take heart, however, as the show’s universe will live on very soon.
There is a spinoff premiering soon entitled Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, which is set well after the original series, in 1938 to be specific, and it's set in another country. As its title suggests, City of Angels will take place in Los Angeles, California. Lady Bird's Daniel Zovatto will lead the cast, which also includes Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer and perennial scene-stealer, Nathan Lane.
Given that the spinoff is set so far into the future from the original series, I do not think there is much hope of the original cast putting in an appearance. Of course, there is always a chance of a doppelganger or long-lost relative showing up. Even though Josh Hartnett was ready to move on from Penny Dreadful a few years ago, maybe he'd be ready to make a return in the sequel series.
You can stream Penny Dreadful in its entirety on Netflix along with other newly arrived 2020 content. While you wait for Penny Dreadful’s spinoff to premiere, you can catch up on this winter’s premieres to keep you entertained, and stay tuned for CinemaBlend's coverage of Penny Dreadful: City of Angels coming out of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.