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Series / Pennyworth

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Pennyworth is a television series created by Bruno Heller and Danny Cannon (of Gotham fame), based on the DC Comics character Alfred Pennyworth, the loyal butler of Bruce Wayne / Batman's family.

An origin story taking place in and around an alternate 1960s London, the series is centered on its titular character (portrayed by Jack Bannon) as a young man following his time as a soldier in the Special Air Service, as he forms a security company and is hired by Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge) and the secret organization the latter belongs to, the No Name League, to fight against another organization, the ruthless, power-hungry and fascistoid Raven Society.

The show also stars Jason Flemyng as Lord Harwood, Paloma Faith as Bet Sykes and Emma Paetz as Martha Kane. It started airing on Epix in late July 2019.


Previews: Teaser, Trailer.

Pennyworth contains examples of:

  • Alternate History: The show appears to take place in a different 60s London than Real Life, with zeppelins flying in the sky and medieval stocks still in use to punish thieves and indecent exposers.
    • An extreme example in "The Landlord's Daughter" shows that this world's version of 60s London has grisly medieval style executions broadcasted live on television.
    • In the second episode, Alfred mentions the Newgate prison as if it were still in service. It closed in 1902. Ditto with the Tower of London. There are no more people detained in it since 1952 in real life.
    • A brief news story in "Lady Penelope" mentions how "the German Reich" is allowing self-governing autonomy for the Netherlands, implying that Nazi Germany is still there and still occupies parts of Europe in this universe. Which might explain the influence the Raven Society has.
    • Aleister Crowley is still alive (and still has hair), despite having died in the 40s.
  • Apologetic Attacker: After kicking some ass in a bar in, Alfred makes his "apologies".
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  • Assassination Attempt: In "Shirley Bassey", the Thwaites arrange for a sit-down with Dr. Gaunt, allegedly for peace talks but actually so that she can be killed by their hired hitman (Dave Boy). Instead, between Gaunt being armed herself and Ripper having hired Alfred for his own hit, Julian Thwaite is the one who ends up dead.
  • Badass Family: The Pennyworths. Aside from Alfred's regular action hero moments, his parents beat the crap out of Bet and her henchman after being taken hostage.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Alfred dispatches some switchblade-wielding attackers in spectacular fashion while wearing a nice tuxedo as part of his bouncer job.
  • Best Served Cold: Alfred discovers that he is the target of a decade old vendetta.
  • Black and Gray Morality: On one hand you got the fascist Raven Society who want to purge the undesirables, but on the other you have the British government that's fine with torturing and mutilating suspects and public televised executions and who see a socialist utopia just as bad as a fascist one. The No Name League first appear as the good guys their leadership is revealed to be just as as corrupt as the people they oppose. The CIA is manipulating the situation for its own goals and does not care that people are dying as a result. Alfred and his war buddies are a Wild Card that could emerge as heroes or descend into Psycho for Hire.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Alfred is horrified to discover that Esme was killed because of something he did a decade ago and that was so insignificant to him that he needs a witch's help to remember.
  • Dirty Communist: The No Name League is a communist organization which supposedly wants to overthrow the British government.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Esme's murder is revealed to be this, as the person responsible wanted revenge on Alfred because he indeliberately made him look like a fool once over ten years ago.
  • Electric Torture: Lord Harwood is brought to the Tower of London and gets tortured with electrodes.
  • Funny Background Event: Foreground, but in an external daytime shot of Aleister Crowley's mansion in "Julie Christie", a couple going by on the pavement in front of the mansion is pushing a baby pram with a pig in it.
  • Genre Throwback: To 1960s spy thrillers like The Ipcress File — it's no coincidence that Jack Bannon's acting emulates Michael Caine. Whether the Ipcress influence or Caine's role as Alfred in The Dark Knight Trilogy came first in that stylistic choice for the series is up in the air.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Crime boss John Ripper serves himself some wine before getting busy in his morgue.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The No Name League is painted by the British government as communists seeking to subvert the government, but what we've seen of them so far presents them fairly positively. Until "Shirley Bassey" makes it clear they're no better than the Raven Society.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Aleister Crowley.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Lord Harwood, initial leader of the Raven Society, gets captured at the end of the Pilot and gets tortured to hell and back throughout Episode 2 and 3. By Episode 4, he is a noseless, bearded beggar, living miserably on the street after being thrown out. He starts getting better in Episode 5, as Bet finds him and takes him in.
  • Mind Screw: Martha's plot in "Cilla Black" is this, as the party she attends at Aleister Crowley's mansion quickly turns bizarre. No matter how she tries to leave, she finds herself back in the main room, and after a few times finds all the other guests there watching her quietly, while she's guided to a tall figure that appears to be Satan. Then the next time we see her at the end of the episode, she's waking up naked in the middle of a field.
  • The Mole: Thomas Wayne is part of the No Name League, but is actually a mole for the CIA. Though this is a less subversive example than most, since the CIA currently prefers the No Name League over the Raven Society.
  • My Card: Thomas Wayne gives Alfred his card, with his phone number on it.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Raven Society, a fascist organization that wants to take over Britain and eliminate everything they see wrong with society.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: The No Name League, the group that Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane work for, is independent of any government, and well-funded and organized enough that Alfred initially thinks they're the CIA.
  • No Historical Figures Were Harmed: Ian Thurso, the computer genius who Alfred helps Martha Kane rescue, is an Expy of Alan Turing, who was persecuted for his homosexuality despite making major contributions to the war effort.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Bet Sykes, who develops an obsession with Esme after abducting her.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Poor Esme gets strangled to death by an unknown assailant at the end of Episode 4, much to Alfred's horror.
  • Tag Line: "At your service."
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: One of the Raven Society punches Alfred in the face after capturing him for killing Mrs Darkness in self-defense.


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