Sadly, ‘Penny Dreadful’ Has Been Canceled

Penny Dreadful, the very good Showtime show that starred Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, and Timothy Dalton, has been canceled. The ultimate end was pretty much set in stone at the conclusion of the third season’s finale, which aired last night, when the words “THE END” flashed on-screen, but it was later confirmed by the show’s creator, John Logan.

The following explanation for the end of the show contains spoilers, so, fair warning: Green’s character, Vanessa Ives, died in the season finale, and the creators just didn’t see a way for the show to continue without her. Speaking to TVLine, Logan said that the decision to have her die was made a while ago. “The show, to me, has always been about Vanessa Ives and her struggle with faith,” he said, adding that, when she’s finally come to a conclusion about her faith, “she’s going to have that moment, and the only way she can truly have it is at the moment of her death.”

The show had always been kind of a dark horse, and the fact that it aired on the same night of HBO’s heavy hitters hamstrung its popularity, even though it was an undeniably good show. On the bright side, this will free up Eva Green for meatier rolls in films, and maybe Hartnett can plot his Hollywood comeback on a larger scale, too.

For what it’s worth, he’s Green’s reaction to Vanessa’s death: “It’s going to be hard to kind of leave her behind. To be able to play such a beautiful character is a gift for an actor and I’ve been so lucky.” Hartnett said this: “It’s not the way Ethan wanted it to end, of course. He wants to take care of Vanessa. He’s always wanted to take care of Vanessa. And it becomes clear that this is the only way he can actually do that.” (Ethan kills Vanessa.)