Showtime has given a series commitment to a new drama from Skyfall duo John Logan and Sam Mendes.
Penny Dreadful, which starts shooting in London later this year, is a period piece the network is describing as a "psychosexual horror." Logan, the creator and writer, is joined by Neal Street's Mendes and Pippa Harris as EPs.
The series draws from famous works of literature, posing that some of the most terrifying protagonists -- Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray, Dracula's Van Helsing and more -- come together in Victorian London.
"John Logan and Sam Mendes are two of the great storytellers of our time," said Showtime entertainment president David Nevins. "The visual spectacle combined with the psychological insight in their reimagining of these iconic literary characters seems totally mesmerizing to me. This promises to be a wholly original television show."
It marks the first television collaboration for the in-demand writer and director.
For its part, NBC -- under former Showtime boss Robert Greenblatt -- already has a Dracula series in the works. Their entry, starring The Tudors' Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is described as a new version of the classic Bram Stoker tale and see Dracula living a double life in the 1890s as an American businessman who wants to exact revenge on those who burdened him centuries ago. His plan, however, is derailed when he falls in love with a woman who looks just like his late wife.
The drama, which like Penny Dreadful, was picked up straight to series and will likely bow in the fall.
Showtime Boss Defends Homeland's Second Season, Announces Early Return For Dexter
Dexter is set to make a killing this summer.
Showtime boss David Nevins announced Sunday at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour that the the hit drama will debut three months earlier than usual on Sunday, June 30 at 9/8c, where it will lead into the new drama Ray Donovan.
Homeland, meanwhile, will stay put in the fall. Its third season will bow Sunday, Sept. 29, before the premiere of Masters of Sex.
Speaking of Homeland, Nevins defended the show from a handful of very vocal TV critics who complained the Emmy winning drama veered off course in Season 2. “I really liked Season 2,” he said. “I think it started really strong and it ended really strong… Some of the criticism seems fair. [But] suspension of disbelief is the scaffolding all storytelling is based on. I have enormous confidence in the people that write and perform that show [and believe] that it will maintain its quality.”
Regarding the uncertain future of Damian Lewis, whose character Brody ended the season on the run, Nevins said if producers decided it was creatively necessary to write him off the show he “would have to” go along with it, adding, “Everything on that show is vigorously debated. If at the end of that debate, it made sense storywise, I could conceivably say yes.”
Other highlights from the exec session (including some additional premiere dates):
* Nevins stopped short of declaring Dexter‘s upcoming eighth season its last. “I’m not making any announcements today about when Dexter will end,” he said. “I think I will clarify [things] before Dexter goes on the air [in June]. There’s a clear endgame in place, [but] I can’t talk about it just yet.”
* Matt Damon will guest star in Season 2 of House of Lies (which premieres Sunday). “He stars as himself,” Nevins revealed. “He comes to those guys trying to figure out how he can get a charitable organization so he can compete better with [George] Clooney.”
* The Real L Word will likely be repackaged as a documentary. “I want to keep the franchise going,” said Nevins. “I’ve been talking [to producers] about exploring lesbian culture in places [other then] New York and L.A. Places wheres the subculture is not so defined and it’s maybe not so easy.”
* Episodes’ third season will premiere in early 2014 and will be “farily split between London and Los Angeles.”
* The Big C: Hereafter – a four-episode conclusion to the Laura Linney drama – premieres April 29.
* Nurse Jackie and The Borgias return Sunday, April 14.
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Excited about the 'Penny Dreadful.' Crossing my fingers that it is good!