Thanks to a wide array of television shows we have traveled to many places in the DC Universe that we might have seen in films, but definitely had seen in comics. For example, thanks to the CW and Fox we have seen Star City, Central City, Gotham City, Metropolis, National City and and Freedom to name a few places. SyFy’s Krypton has even transported us into home world of Superman decades before it’s collapse. So the question now is where else can we be transported to see more of the massive DC Universe?
We can find the answer to that question in the new series from EPIX, Pennyworth. This series follows Alfred Pennyworth, long before he was ever Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler in 1960’s London, where we find him an trying to form a security company and his first client? Thomas Wayne.
During a round table interview at San Diego Comic-Con in which LRMOnline participated, Executive Producer and Director for Pennyworth Danny Cannon talked about setting up a DC style 1960’s London and how that would work to their advantage in pulling characters from that era. “For the first time ever we could create DC style 1960’s England (…) I was worried in the beginning that we wouldn’t know who the villains would be. But when you mine British history and you say we are going to alter British history because this is an alternative DC reality, it’s very close it’s only thirteen degrees off. What happened to Jack the Ripper’s family, what happened to Jekyll and Hyde?” Said Cannon.
One of the great things about this prequel series is knowing that you are not going to be able to use characters that maybe you were able to slip into a show like Gotham that you would expect. They would be able to pull from London’s rich history and set up a proper 1960’s DC London. But what type of long term story could they lead up to in a series like this that would be appropriate to the timeline? The answer was quite simple, V for Vendetta.
“The arcing story this season is about a civil war that is brewing, and that came from a conversation from myself and Bruno where we were considering doing V for Vendetta, we were like “that is much a very 80’s 90’s kind of show, what would it be in the 60’s?’ What kind of world would be have to create, like in Gotham there would eventually be Batman in this there would eventually be V for Vendetta. So we took that brewing civil war as a stepping stone.” Continued Cannon
As you might already know, V for Vendetta is a story by Alan Moore and David Lloyd that was published by DC Comics via their Vertigo imprint back in 1988. It takes place in an alternate future where a Nordic supremacist and Neo-facist totalitarian regime has control of the UK. It’s a scary thought to think that this is where the story is headed, but it is part of DC history so I appreciate them sticking to not only telling the story of Alfred but the story of DC London and how it all comes together.
As far as the visual tone of the series, during the premiere of the pilot episode we saw at Comic-Con as well as their VIP Lounge activation. It was clear that they were not going to follow the typical dark gloomy greys that we have come to associate with DC and especially shows related to Gotham, but warm amber tones wrapped in smoke giving London a mysterious glow. Cannon continued to talk about the tone of the scenery.
“When I went back and looked at the old films and old photographs, ironically England wants to be cold blue and grey, but you had to fight that (…) I wanted to do a lot of fire places so the warm glow of England and that tobacco colored stained walls and the cigar smoking, that world I was very interested in.”
Lead actor for the series Jack Bannon who plays Aflred also commented about the world that Cannon and executive producer Bruno Heller set up for his character saying that, “the great thing about the first season is that your creating a whole world. It’s 1960’s London yes, but it’s DC 60’s London which is 13 degrees weirder, darker, macabre and strange. But we are also creating the look, the clothes, the physicality, the sounds the acting, (…) it’s been a blast”.
I really hope this show does well, my only concern is that not too many are going to be inclined to add yet another streaming service to their devices as it is exclusively available on EPIX. But if you do you will be treated to another part of the DC Universe that we have not explored yet, with characters that can stand on their own, even without the Batman connection.
Are you watching Pennyworth? Let us know in the comment section below!
EPIX’s Pennyworth is available on their streaming service with new episodes every Sunday.