Origin stories or prequels can be hit or miss; the biggest deciding factor is usually how compelling a character that's being explored in said origin story. And if you grew up reading Batman comics or watching The Animated Series on the WB, there's probably a good chance you wondered just how Alfred Pennyworth became so darn cool.
What era is 'Pennyworth' set in?
While some cultural elements of the 1950s were certainly introduced into the show (eras do tend to blend after all), the show is set during the 1960s, directly following the days of Alfred Pennyworth after he's done serving in the SAS, the U.K.'s Special Air Service.
But don't expect the show to be entirely steeped in reality ... it's more like a realistic work of fiction with events and phenomenon conjured up for the series.
This just doesn't extend to fictional characters and situations/dialogue, but large-scale practices as well — like the fact that public executions were televised. While capital punishment was still in practice in the U.K. up until 1964, there isn't any historical documentation to support the idea that the executions were broadcast on TV, especially ones as brutal in the show, like disemboweling.
The best way to describe the world of Pennyworth has to be "alternative London." Yes, it's London, but there are slight changes to the way things are run, kind of like how Gotham City is basically just a less dangerous version of Chicago.
In this "London B," Alfred is working to establish his own security group and in doing so, he draws the attention of the Raven Society.
With a name like that, they're obviously bad guys; they've got plans to take over the British government, and it's up to Alfred now to try and stop them. He befriends some American operatives, Thomas Wayne and Martha Kane (Bruce's parents).
No, Julia Pennyworth doesn't make an appearance on the show.
Alfred's still a youngin and doesn't have a daughter in the show — but Julia is a character in The CW's Batwoman, and she's played by Christina Wolfe. Like her dad, she's a pretty competent agent and knows how to carry out a covert operation or two. She even helped Kate Kane carry out a few missions here and there.
Will 'Pennyworth' have a Season 3?
The show's currently in its second season, and while it definitely has a fan base, some have criticized the show for its lack of "focus." CBR also points out that the show doesn't really do much to tie it into the rest of the DC extended universe, and save for a few allusions and characters who share names with notable DC figures, it feels like its own period piece spy series.
Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just that folks who were hoping to find some clever Easter eggs, or grand orchestration that sets the stage for what Gotham is going to become, or gives hints to the origins of specific criminal organizations may be disappointed.
What do you think? Have you watched Pennyworth? What's your opinion of the series?