Season two of the hit Showtime series Penny Dreadful kicks off tonight at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. Although there is much anticipation towards the premiere of this extremely popular show, the question remains as to whether the second season will live up to the overwhelming success of the first.
Penny Dreadful premiered on May 11, 2014, and was the recipient to exceedingly favorable reviews, with a following quickly growing on the tails of the first few episodes. Indeed, the series ended up debuting to some 872,000 viewers, and this is not even including those who turned in via the Showtime app or through Showtime on Demand. The show has won several awards, four in 2014 and three in 2015. It has also been nominated for almost a dozen others. The categories it has received wins in are: Most Exciting New Series, Best Television Series – Genre, Best Production Design, Best Make Up and Hair Design, and Best Original Television Music. The award shows at which these were received were the 4th Critics’ Choice Television Awards, the 19th Satellite Awards, the IGN Awards 2014, the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards 2015, and the BAFTA Television Craft Awards 2015.
Critics were also favorable towards the series, giving Penny Dreadful an average 70/100 in terms of a metascore. They praised it for bringing the macabre feel back to modern television, but at the same time not overdoing it. Fans also gave mention to the fact that this is a show unlike most others, at a time when much of the modern television series tend to blend in and always be about the same kind of people in the same type of circumstance.
Although things look good at the moment in terms of Penny Dreadful having a successful second season, it is worth mentioning that many shows which dominate in their premiere season end up falling flat in the one that comes after. Indeed, the highly popular intelligence agency drama Spooks (titled MI-5 in some countries) faced a rather disappointed second season compared to its first, in terms of results. This was party due to the wait time in between seasons (fans had to wait almost a year) but mostly a result of poor storyline development and the introduction of new and unwanted characters.
The producers of Penny Dreadful also need to be careful that, should the show receive just as much success in its second season as it did its first, they do not take this for granted and end up slacking off in terms of keeping viewers enticed and invested in the storyline. It is not just dramas which have fallen by the wayside in terms of audience captivity; The Office, one of the most popular mockumentaries of all time, was criticized for what many thought was pushing the realm of production time far too long. Indeed, it has been suggested that the comedy should have gone the way of its British counterpart in that it only lasted two seasons, and did not continue on with various cast replacements and lack of original storyline by the end of it. There are a number of shows that did not do well during their second season, and ended up being put on the ‘cancel this series, already” blacklist that no producer ever wishes to find themselves on after putting in months of hard work and dedication in the hopes of making their series a solid success.
Penny Dreadful‘s second season premieres tonight, May 3, at 10/7pm. Although the matter looks positive in terms of it living up to the success of it’s predecessor, producers and writers will need to pull out all the stops in order to maintain that this hit Showtime series does not go the same way as many other formerly successful shows in terms of losing their audience.
Opinion By Rebecca Grace