Showtime has dated the return of two series, renewed another and commissioned a third.
The third season of the network’s excellent horror drama Penny Dreadful will debut on May 1 at 10pm. A fantastic take on classic horror fiction, the series takes numerous horror figures such as Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman and Dorian Gray and unites them all in Victorian London. Wonderfully dark and eerie, the series was created by three time Academy Award nominee John Logan (Skyfall, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) and stars Reeve Carney (The Tempest, Spread), Timothy Dalton (Hot Fuzz, The Living Daylights), Golden Globe Award nominee Eva Green (Casino Royale, Rise of an Empire), Rory Kinnear (Spectre, The Imitation Game), Billie Piper (Doctor Who, Secret Diary of a Call Girl), Harry Treadaway (City of Ember, The Lone Ranger), Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night, Black Hawk Down) and Simon Russell Beale (Into the Woods, The Deep Blue Sea) with this new season adding Primetime Emmy Award nominee Patti LuPone (American Horror Story, Parker) and Wes Studi (Avatar, Heat) to the cast.
Meanwhile, the fifth season of House of Lies will debut on April 10 at 9pm. Critically panned, the show has somehow managed to survive for five years now, locking away a talented cast from better projects. That’s different this season though: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars, Frozen) has worked out a deal which allows her to appear on House of Lives and a new NBC comedy at the same time. Created by Matthew Carnahan (Dirt, Fastlane) and based on Martin Kihn’s book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time, the series stars (in addition to Bell) Academy Award nominee Don Cheadle (Avengers: Age of Ultron, Hotel Rwanda), Primetime Emmy Award winner Ben Schwartz (Parks and Recreation, This Is Where I Leave You), Josh Lawson (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, The Campaign), Donis Leonard Jr. (The Fresh Beat Band, Game Shakers) and Primetime Emmy Award winner Glynn Turman (Super 8, Gremlins).
Interstingly, House of Lies has the fascinating distinction of being the first American show to film in Cuba since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties in 2015. The series is currently shooting an episode there for later in the season. According to a blurb from Showtime, in this season “Marty (series star and executive producer Don Cheadle) is now a man with a singular focus – ascending from millionaire mogul to global dominator. He’s upping the stakes in a highly calculated winner-take-all power play with the Pod – Jeannie (Kristen Bell), Clyde (Ben Schwartz) and Doug (Josh Lawson). Business is booming but, on the home front, he’s juggling a new baby daughter, teenage son Roscoe (Donis Leonard Jr.) and Jeremiah (Glynn Turman), who has a new girlfriend, Rita (guest star Emmy(R) winner Wanda Sykes).”
Showtime has also ordered a twelve episode seventh season of Shameless, it’s hit dramedy based on the UK programme of the same name. “Shameless has clearly resonated with audiences as evidenced by their steady growth on Sunday nights over the past 6 years,” said Gary Levine, the president of programing at Showtime. “We are extremely pleased with the creative work being done by John Wells, Nancy Pimental and the entire cast, producers and writers – and we so appreciate Shameless’ clear and distinctive voice.”
Developed by six time Primetime Emmy Award winner John Wells (ER, Third Watch), the series follows the woefully dysfunctional Gallagher family and stars Academy Award nominee William H. Macy (Fargo, Jurassic Park III), Golden Globe nominee Emmy Rossum (The Day After Tomorrow, Mystic River), Ethan Cutkosky (The Unborn, Fred Claus), Shanola Hampton (You Again, The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green), Steve Howey (Bride Wars, Something Borrowed), Emma Kenney (Epic, Bittersweet), Cameron Monaghan (The Giver, Gotham) and Jeremy Allen White (Movie 43, The Time Being).
The series is currently airing it’s sixth season, which (according to Showtime) “picks up shortly after last year’s finale, leaving the Gallaghers to prepare for yet another long Chicago winter. This season will see more than just the arctic Lake Michigan winds whipping through the South Side. Change is hard and the Gallaghers are as surprised as anyone at how life is turning out for them. But the question remains, as they come into their own and find out who they are, is it really possible that the Gallaghers could grow apart for good?”
Finally, the network has also picked up a brand new series titled I’m Dying Up Here. A one hour comedy, the series is based on the non fiction book I’m Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-Up Comedy’s Golden Era by William Knoedelseder and according to Showtime it’s “set in L.A.’s celebrated, infamous stand-up comedy scene of the 1970s, during which the careers of many of the comedy superstars began, the series delves into the inspired and damaged psyches that are required to stand alone in front of an audience and make them laugh.”
Created by Primetime Emmy Award nominee Dave Flebotte (Masters of Sex, Boardwalk Empire) and executive produced by two time Golden Globe Award winner Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Truman Show), the series will star Academy Award winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Olympus Has Fallen), Ari Graynor (Mystic River, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Clark Duke (The Office, Hot Tub Time Machine 2), Michael Angarano (Red State, Almost Famous), Andrew Santino (Mixology, Henry Poole is Here), RJ Cyler (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Second Chances), Erik Griffin (Workaholics, Blunt Talk) and Stephen Guarino (Happy Endings, Sofia the First) and “follows up and coming comedians in LA in the 1970s, who are mentored by “Goldie” (Leo), a brassy comedy club owner who rules over her business with an iron fist and nurtures her comedians with tough love.” No release window was announced for it’s first season.