Pennyworth (TV series)

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Pennyworth
Pennyworth (TV series logo).png
Genre
Based on
Starring
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes14 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production companies
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original networkEpix
Original releaseJuly 28, 2019 (2019-07-28) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Pennyworth is an American crime drama television series, based on characters published by DC Comics and created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, that premiered on July 28, 2019, on Epix. The series is executive produced by Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon and stars Jack Bannon as Alfred Pennyworth, alongside Ben Aldridge, Emma Paetz, Ryan Fletcher, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Paloma Faith, Polly Walker, and Jason Flemyng.

The second season was confirmed on October 27, 2019, to begin filming in January 2020. However, filming was paused in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] The second season premiered on December 13, 2020.[2]

Premise[edit]

Pennyworth explores the early life of the titular Wayne family butler, Alfred Pennyworth, a former British SAS soldier who is forming his own security company in an alternate London which combines aspects of the 1950s and 1960s with invented events and practices such as televised public executions. Alfred becomes a target of the Raven Society, a group conspiring to take over the British government, and begins working against them alongside American agents of the No Name League, Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane, the future parents of Bruce Wayne.[3]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Jack Bannon as Alfred Pennyworth: A former British SAS soldier who worked as a bouncer at an exclusive London club while starting up his own security firm. In season 2 he now runs a club.
  • Ben Aldridge as Thomas Wayne: A wealthy young American forensic accountant and doctor from Gotham City who is impressed with Alfred's skills and hopes to hire him. Wayne is secretly an agent of the CIA, working undercover in the No Name League.
  • Hainsley Lloyd Bennett as Deon "Bazza" Bashford: A playboy and longtime friend of Alfred's who served with him in the army.
  • Ryan Fletcher as Wallace "Dave Boy" McDougal: Another longtime army friend of Alfred's who has a drinking problem.
  • Dorothy Atkinson as Mary Pennyworth: Alfred's mother.
  • Ian Puleston-Davies as Arthur Pennyworth: Alfred's father who works as a butler. He's attempts to set off a bomb at the end of Season 1, and is stopped and killed by Alfred
  • Paloma Faith as Bet Sykes: A sadistic sociopath who initially works as an enforcer for the Raven Society. She becomes attached to Alfred's girlfriend Esme while holding her hostage. In Season 2 she becomes a captain at an interrogation center for the Raven Union
  • Jason Flemyng as Lord James Harwood: The former leader of the Raven Society, who is conspiring to take control of the British government. In season 2 he is now the leader of the Raven Union.
  • Polly Walker as Peggy Sykes: Bet's sister
  • Emma Paetz as Martha Kane: An American agent for the No Name League who hires Alfred to assist her on dangerous missions. She develops a crush on Alfred during their missions and a budding friendship with Thomas.
  • Ramon Tikaram as Detective Inspector Aziz (recurring season 1; main season 2): A detective in the London police force.
  • Edward Hogg as Colonel John Salt (season 2): a high-ranking colonel in the Raven Union.
  • Harriet Slater as Sandra Onslow (recurring season 1; main season 2): Daughter of Sid Onslow who is interested in Alfred.
  • Jessye Romeo as Katie Browning (season 2): An art student whose life is changed due to the Raven Union.
  • James Purefoy as Captain Gulliver Troy (season 2): Alfred's former SAS captain. Purefoy is billed as "special guest star".

Recurring[edit]

  • Emma Corrin as Esme Winikus (Season 1): A nightclub dancer and aspiring actress who falls in love with Alfred.
  • Jessica Ellerby as The Queen.[4]
  • Danny Webb as John Ripper: A local crime lord who develops a friendship with Alfred.
  • Richard Clothier as the Prime Minister.
  • Ben Wiggins as Spanish (Season 1): An SAS officer and friend of Alfred who died.
  • Saikat Ahamed as Mr. Chadley.
  • Simon Day as Sid Onslow: Father of Sandra Onslow and the landlord of the Severed Arms, a local pub frequented by Alfred Pennyworth, Dave Boy and Bazza.
  • Jennie Goossens as Mrs. Spicer.
  • Steve Edwin as Mr. Spicer.
  • Anna Chancellor as Frances Gaunt: A doctor and the new leader of the Raven Society.
  • Sarah Alexander as Undine Thwaite (Season 1): The new leader of the No Name League.
  • Charlie Woodward as Captain John Curzon (Season 1): A retired military Captain from Alfred Pennyworth's time in the SAS.
  • Jessica De Gouw as Melanie Troy (season 2): Captain Gulliver Troy's wife.
  • Simon Manyonda as Lucius Fox (season 2): a young scientist.

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
110July 28, 2019 (2019-07-28)September 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)
210[5]December 13, 2020 (2020-12-13)April 11, 2021 (2021-04-11)[5]

Season 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"Pilot"Danny CannonBruno HellerJuly 28, 2019 (2019-07-28)[a]
Former British SAS soldier Alfred Pennyworth becomes caught up in the conflict between American agent Thomas Wayne and the shadowy Raven Society.
22"The Landlord's Daughter"Danny CannonBruno HellerAugust 4, 2019 (2019-08-04)[a]
Alfred's side job as a security consultant brings him to the attention of local crime lord John Ripper.
33"Martha Kane"Bill EaglesBruno HellerAugust 11, 2019 (2019-08-11)[a]
American No Name League agent Martha Kane hires Alfred to assist her on a dangerous mission.
44"Lady Penelope"China Moo-YoungBruno HellerAugust 11, 2019 (2019-08-11)
Martha enlists Alfred to help get the name of the new leader of the Raven Society.[b]
55"Shirley Bassey"Rob BaileyBruno HellerAugust 18, 2019 (2019-08-18)
In the wake of Esme's murder, Alfred is slowly pulled out of his depression by Ripper, who insists that an enemy of Alfred's killed her.[c]
66"Cilla Black"Bill EaglesBruno HellerAugust 25, 2019 (2019-08-25)
Ripper sends Alfred to a witch who gives him clues to find Esme's killer. Lord Harwood's memory returns.[d]
77"Julie Christie"Clare KilnerBruno HellerSeptember 8, 2019 (2019-09-08)
While Thomas and Martha visit Crowley's mansion seeking Patricia, Alfred closes in on Esme's killer, Captain Curzon. Arthur Pennyworth actively participates at a Raven Society meeting.[e]
88"Sandie Shaw"Jon EastDanny CannonSeptember 15, 2019 (2019-09-15)
As Alfred hunts down Curzon with help from Bet, Lord Harwood plots his return to power.[f]
99"Alma Cogan"Rob BaileyBruno HellerSeptember 22, 2019 (2019-09-22)
Alfred is offered a way out of prison as the Prime Minister plots against both the Raven Society and the No Name League.[g]
1010"Marianne Faithfull"Danny CannonBruno HellerSeptember 29, 2019 (2019-09-29)
While Lord Harwood stages a coup, Alfred, Bazza, and Dave Boy help Thomas and Martha rescue the Queen from the Sykes sisters. Lord Harwood, Francis Gaunt, and the Sykes are arrested. Alfred is pardoned, but finds himself trying to stop his father from assassinating the Queen and Prime Minister.[h]

Season 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title [7][5]Directed byWritten by [7]Original air date [5]
111"The Heavy Crown"Danny CannonBruno HellerDecember 13, 2020 (2020-12-13)
Several months passed since the last season. Lord Harwood escaped and his Raven Union has the British Army's backing, having taken over most of the UK. The Queen and what remain of the League are besieged in London. Alfred runs a bar and does side jobs for both sides, being paid by Aziz - now a League council member - to kidnap Salt, a supposedly minor Raven Union functionary. He is collecting money to leave the country for the USA. Meanwhile, Martha Kane has risen to lieutenant position in the League, and meets with a returning Thomas Wayne, now named CIA section leader, who tells her that the USA will remain neutral in the conflict, and that he is engaged to be married. Bet Sykes now works as a captain in an interrogation center of the Raven Union, and unhappy with her job, kills her superior and escapes with an art student prisoner. Salt is sprung from Aziz's team by Gully, Alfred's old SAS captain, and is revealed to have been working with him. It is also shown that Salt is working on project Stormcloud, a poison gas weapon.
122"The Burning Bridge"Danny CannonBruno HellerDecember 20, 2020 (2020-12-20)
The CIA tasks Thomas Wayne to find dirt on Archbishop Potter, as he is an open opponent of nuclear warfare. He meets with Alistair Crowley who agrees to ruin the Archbishop's reputation for a kiss. Alfred and his friends get ready to leave the country with the money they accumulated, Alfie feeling conflicted with leaving Sandra behind, and getting into arguments with his mum, who wants to stay. Mrs Gaunt learns about Stormcloud and seemingly talks Harwood out of using the poison gas. Amateur criminals kidnap Alfred's mother on the behest of a masked "Mr X" in return for the money, but it is revealed it was Lt. Aziz who set up the whole thing and shows up as Alfred frees his mum, resulting in the kidnappers getting away with the money. Meanwhile, Bet and Katie stay in hiding as Bet realizes she cannot contact Lord Harwood.
133"The Belt and Welt"Rob BaileyJimmy DowdallDecember 27, 2020 (2020-12-27)
After a strange dream involving his father, Alfred gets the idea that it was Captain Gully who stole their money. He gets his whereabouts from his wife, and confronts him, but Gully swears on his honor it wasn't him, and invites Alfred to do a robbery with his crew, which he denies. Meanwhile, Crowley seduces the Archbishop to the ways of the flesh and releases incriminating photos of him involved in an orgy, which causes Potter to resign and commit suicide. Martha, realizing from a comment by Alfred that it was Thomas who hired Crowley, confronts him and is deeply disappointed. Bet and Katie take refuge at the home of teacher of the latter, and Bet finally gets in contact with Lord Harwood. Despite both Mrs Gaunt and Salt trying to talk him out of saving her, Harwood orders Salt to bring back Bet alive, but Salt's policemen open fire at the house. Daveboy realizes he once drunkenly bragged to someone about the money, which prompts Alfred to notice a 500ł ring on the finger of one of his waitresses, Sheri. She reveals it was given to her by Vic Dobson, a small time crook. They track Vic to his home at the carneval caravan, and he and Alfred fights in the hall of mirrors, where Alfred mortally wounds him in self defense. Sheri grabs the money and tries to escape in a car, but drives into fuel barrels, with the explosion killing her and destroying the money. Bazza is mortally wounded by the explosion and makes Alfred and Daveboy swear to not give up and make it to America as he dies.
144"The Hunted Fox"Rob BaileySeth SinclairDecember 27, 2020 (2020-12-27)
At Bazza's funeral, Gully Troy shows up and Alfred agrees to do a robbery with him. Thomas visits Martha, asking for her help as his sister Patricia is in love with a seductive fashion designer, who engages her at the party. Meanwhile, Bet Sykes and Katie smuggle themselves into London and find Bet's sister who runs an S&M sex toy shop. The Queen listens to the candidates' speech, with Ripper proposing to free criminals and use them in their army, while Aziz tries to appeal to the democratic and moral values of people, and he gets elected as prime minister. Alfred and Troy successfully rob the Lord Mayor's coach, stealing the hidden gold he carries. During the celebration, Alfred gets angry at seeing Troy abuse his wife, and they nearly come to blows, but then agrees to do one last job with him. Alfred secretly kisses Mrs Troy though. Thomas and Martha work together as Martha proves to Patricia the fashion designer's infidelity by tying him up as he was trying to seduce her while being naked, and Patricia terminates the engagement. Thomas and Martha reconcile and have sex. Lord Harwood starts showing signs of mental imbalance, starting to consider using the poison gas, and is shown to be medicated by Salt. Salt subtly suggests to Mrs Gaunt to reach out to Aziz and try to begin peace talks. The Raven leadership attends a demonstration of Stormcloud, shown how it is capable of quickly and efficiently killing prisoners, unknowingly they are being filmed by an undercover Lucius Fox.
155"The Bleeding Heart"TBAHannah BoschiMarch 7, 2021 (2021-03-07)
166"The Rose and Thorn"TBABruno HellerMarch 14, 2021 (2021-03-14)

Production[edit]

Jack Bannon as a young Alfred Pennyworth

Development[edit]

On May 16, 2018, it was announced that Epix had given the production a series order for a first season consisting of ten episodes. The pilot episode was expected to be written by Bruno Heller and directed by Danny Cannon, both of whom were also set to executive produce the series. Production companies that were slated to be involved with the series include Warner Horizon Television.[3][8][9][10] On February 6, 2019, it was announced during the Television Critics Association's annual winter press tour that the series would premiere in June 2019.[11] On April 24, 2019, the premiere date was revised to July 28, 2019, on Epix.[12]

Season two was confirmed on October 27, 2019, to begin filming in January 2020.[1] The second season premiered on December 13, 2020.[2]

Casting[edit]

In October 2018, it was announced that Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Ryan Fletcher, Hainsley Lloyd Bennett, Paloma Faith, and Jason Flemyng had been cast in series regular roles.[13][14][15][16][17] On December 4, 2018, it was reported that Polly Walker had joined the cast in a recurring capacity.[18]

On March 20, 2019, Emma Paetz and Jessica Ellerby were cast in the series as Martha Kane and The Queen, respectively.[4]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography for the series commenced on October 22, 2018 at Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, England.[13] Additionally, a number of shots were taken in London, including selecting the landmark building Florin Court as the home and neighbourhood of one of the series lead characters.[19] Various scenes were filmed at the Dockyard Chatham in Kent, where the streets stood in for East London in the 1960s.[20] Principal photography for the series wrapped on May 24, 2019.

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds an approval rating of 73% based on 30 reviews, with an average rating of 7.33/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "While intriguing characters and impressive set-pieces make for an engaging spy-thriller, Pennyworth doesn't add much to the greater Batman mythos."[21] On Metacritic the series has a weighted average score of 60% based on reviews from 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[22]

Writing for The A.V. Club, Sam Barsanti gives the program a C, noting:

[Pennyworth] would almost be more entertaining if you changed some of the names and jettisoned the comic book connection entirely—at least then there'd be no distracting questions about why Thomas Wayne has a sister and why he's secretly working for the government instead of becoming a rich doctor back home. As it stands, though, the show is as entertaining as it is frustrating, feeling sort of like an adaptation of a comic based on Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movies (with all of the Britishness that implies).[23]

Broadcast[edit]

In the United States, the series premiered on July 28, 2019, on Epix. In Canada, the series premiered on Showcase on September 4, 2019, six weeks behind the Epix schedule.[24] Pennyworth season one received its UK premiere on StarzPlay on Friday, October 25, 2019.[25]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c The first episode was made available on July 21, 2019 to subscribers of Epix Now, and the second and third episodes on July 28, 2019.[6]
  2. ^ The episode title refers to British mid-1960s Thunderbirds television series character Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward.
  3. ^ The episode title refers to 1960s British singer Shirley Bassey.
  4. ^ The episode title refers to 1960s British singer Cilla Black.
  5. ^ The episode title refers to 1960s British actress Julie Christie.
  6. ^ The episode title refers to 1960s British singer Sandie Shaw.
  7. ^ The episode title refers to 1960s British singer Alma Cogan.
  8. ^ The episode title refers to 1960s British singer Marianne Faithfull.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Pennyworth Panel - Jack Bannon, Ben Aldridge, Paloma Faith - MCM London". Geektown. October 25, 2019. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2019 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ a b "EPIX Announces Season Two of "Pennyworth" Will Premiere December 13, 2020". The Futon Critic. October 12, 2020. Archived from the original on November 13, 2020. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Petski, Denise (May 16, 2018). "Batman Prequel Pennyworth From Gotham Duo Gets Series Order at Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Petski, Denise (March 20, 2019). "'Pennyworth': Emma Paetz & Jessica Ellerby Cast In Epix's Batman Prequel Series". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Pennyworth – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Frederiksen, Eric (July 20, 2019). "Check out Pennyworth early with an EPIX 30-day trial". Batman News.
  7. ^ a b "Pennyworth". Writers Guild of America West. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  8. ^ Holloway, Daniel (May 16, 2018). "'Batman' Prequel 'Pennyworth' Lands Series Order at Epix". Variety. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  9. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 16, 2018). "'Gotham' Boss Sets New Batman Prequel Series at Epix (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  10. ^ Maas, Jennifer (May 16, 2018). "New Batman Prequel Series Arrives at Epix Ahead of Fox's Final 'Gotham' Season". TheWrap. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
  11. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (February 6, 2019). "'Gotham' EP Danny Cannon Teases Batman Prequel Series 'Pennyworth' – TCA". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
  12. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (April 24, 2019). "Pennyworth Batman Pre-Prequel Gets Epix Premiere Date, New Teaser". TVLine. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  13. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (October 15, 2018). "Pennyworth: Jack Bannon To Star In Title Alfred Role On Epix's Batman Prequel". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 15, 2018). "'Pennyworth': Ben Aldridge To Play Thomas Wayne In Batman Prequel On Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on June 3, 2019. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (October 16, 2018). "'Pennyworth': Ryan Fletcher & Hainsley Lloyd Bennett Set As Regulars In Batman Prequel On Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  16. ^ Boucher, Geoff (October 19, 2018). "UK Pop Star Paloma Faith Cast As 'Pennyworth' Villainess In Epix's Batman Prequel". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  17. ^ Boucher, Geoff (October 30, 2018). "Epix Batman Prequel 'Pennyworth' Adds Jason Flemyng As Villain". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  18. ^ Petski, Denise (December 4, 2018). "'Pennyworth': Polly Walker To Recur In Batman Prequel On Epix". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  19. ^ Steves, Ashley (January 30, 2019). "London What's Filming: Batman Prequel Series Pennyworth". Backstage. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  20. ^ "Pennyworth Series 1 (2019)". Kent Film Office. October 28, 2019. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  21. ^ "Pennyworth: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 27, 2020.<
  22. ^ "Pennyworth". Metacritic. Retrieved January 16, 2020.<
  23. ^ Barsanti, Sam (July 25, 2019). "Batman prequel Pennyworth feels like a comic book, just not the one it's actually based on". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  24. ^ "Pennyworth: Schedule and Videos". Showcase. August 5, 2019. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  25. ^ "StarzPlay Sets UK Premiere Date For 'Pennyworth'; Releases Trailer & Key Art". September 11, 2019. Archived from the original on November 15, 2020. Retrieved June 10, 2020.

External links[edit]