A Letter to John Logan, Creator of PENNY DREADFUL, From His Fans:
I daresay I speak for the multitudes. If not all, then certainly many, if not most. Those of us who are more loquacious, and, perhaps more importantly, have a platform, have a responsibility to the rest to speak up, to make our collective voice heard. It is the age-old burden of the poet. Yes, I will speak for the many, the spurned fans of John Logan’s PENNY DREADFUL.
I ask for your assistance, my fellow Dreadfuls. You must help me get this letter into Mr. Logan’s hands, or onto his computer screen. I, we, need for him to hear this message. Spread it around. As the hashtag says, spread his shame.
Dear Mr. Logan:
How could you? Do you not have more respect for your audience than that? An audience that has been loyal to you every step of the way? And what of the actors and the crew members who worked so hard for those 3+ years to bring your vision to life? Do you not have any respect for them? Do you not have any respect for your own work?
I’m not a better writer than you, John. I know this. Yet I can think of a good half-dozen scenarios in which PENNY DREADFUL could have continued, or ended, and none of them would leave any of the dangling plotlines that your peremptory season finale left us with. Please don’t bother trying to convince us again that it was always your intention for PENNY DREADFUL to run for only three seasons. You are insulting our collective intelligence. A brief web search will uncover several documented instances of you making contradictory statements concerning how long you initially intended the series to run and at what point you made the decision to end it at three. Even without this corroborating evidence, however, it is obvious your decision to end the series the way you did, at the time you did, was, if not a last minute decision, at least a recent one. Or, if the plan had been in your mind for any duration of time, the sloppy, slipshod manner in which you managed the third season suggests that you were already preoccupied with other projects, that you were simply “phoning it in.”
Why introduce such a complex and fascinating character as Catriona, only to do nothing with her? Such a last-minute addition makes no sense. Why introduce Henry Jekyll if you never planned to show us Edward Hyde? What about those story points back in season one, the connection of the vampires to ancient Egypt? Why bring in Dracula, such a larger-than-life, scene-stealing, eclipsing character, then do nothing with him? Are we really supposed to believe that he would just shrug and walk away after Vanessa’s death? That he would not at the very least have taken his revenge, vented his rage, upon Ethan and the others? And what will he do next? There were so, so many loose ends, John. You are far too talented a writer to leave a project so unfinished, and yet that is what you did. Because it was always a part of your grand design? Hogwash. We know you too well, John. You proved to us, over and over again, that you are better than that. A second-rate hack might view such a flawed, contrived ending as sufficient, but not a writer of your caliber.
(As an aside, yes, we will accept that your intention was always to have Vanessa’s story end in such a way, and that particular sequence was haunting and beautiful. It would have been hard, would be hard, for you to top it. No complaints there, John. That particular ending you got perfectly right. But you jumped ahead to it, didn’t you? Yes, you did. You cut right to the grand finale at the expense of a hefty chunk of what should have been the third act. PENNY DREADFUL wasn’t JUST Vanessa’s story, John. You seem to have forgotten that.)
So stop lying to us, John. Your decision to end PENNY DREADFUL in such a way was NOT always your intent. Why did you do it, then?
We’re smart enough to put the pieces together, John. You have a new project in the works with Showtime. Bully for you. So you got bored with PENNY DREADFUL and wanted to move on, and you felt proprietary enough over the series to want to put the period in place yourself. If you cared that much, though, why not take a little more time and end it properly? Another season, or even a few additional episodes, would have sufficed. But you were in a hurry, weren’t you, John? It’s obvious to us, John, that this was the case. Why? Were you under pressure from the network to get busy on your new show? Was there a financial incentive for you to do so? Or are you just a pampered, spoiled genius who can afford to make such decisions based solely on whim, because you know you’ve reached a status of success where no one will call you on it? Does it even matter WHY you did it? Not to us, it doesn’t.
You betrayed us, John. You betrayed our trust in you. Please, tell me why we should ever trust you again. Why should we ever become emotionally invested in any show you oversee, any project you create, knowing that you are subject to, at any moment, get bored and pull the plug, or get offered a juicy new gig and decide to put a premature end to your current show, and this without even bothering to tell us you are doing so until after the fact? By waiting to let us find out that PENNY DREADFUL would end only when we saw the two words THE END emblazoned on the screen, you not only cheated us, you gave us no advance notice, no chance to prepare ourselves. This is hardly surprising. When one is doing wrong by another, he seldom informs his victim ahead of time.
Make no mistake, John. You screwed us over. We know it and you know it. By trying to claim otherwise you are adding insult to injury. You screwed your fans. We won’t forget that, John. We won’t forgive it. Do you care? I doubt it; not yet, anyway. In the future? Time will tell. But you may rest assured, you are going forward from this point without us. You’ve lost us. Your audience. Your faithful. Your Dreadfuls have turned on you, John. You have turned your most ardent supporters and fans into, not enemies, exactly, but people who will never believe in you again. You should be ashamed, John. You’ve let us all down and you’ve let yourself down. Shame, I say.
And once more, because it bears repeating, SHAME ON YOU.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS (www.evilcheezproductions.blogspot.com, www.facebook.com/evilcheezproductions), specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced and directed (and occasionally acted in) over a dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and Crime genres. His first novel, THE CONFESSIONS OF SAINT CHRISTOPHER: WEREWOLF, is available for purchase here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/734763
MORTUI VELOCES SUNT!