The Bastard Executioner season finale on FX Tuesday night was also its series finale, as the medieval drama has been officially canceled.
Showrunner Kurt Sutter, of Sons of Anarchy fame, made the decision to “axe” the show he created in conjunction with FX executives as a result of poor ratings.
“I don’t want to write something that nobody’s f—ing watching,” Sutter told The Hollywood Reporter about the “heartbreaking” decision to end the show after its first 10-episode run. “I think the mythology was a little too dense for some people. There’s a glut of period pieces on right now, and I’m sure timing has something to do it,” he explained
Sutter announced the show’s cancellation with full-page ads in entertainment trade publications such as the THR and Variety.
Suttter knew the handwriting was on the wall for some weeks, and he separately informed the cast via email after the show wrapped. Of the primarily British cast, he heaped praise on their professionalism and camaraderie and as “journeymen” actors for not being caught up in the Hollywood hype machine.
In the ad, Sutter also thanked the cast and crew for their hard work and noted that “the audience has spoken and unfortunately the word is, ‘meh.’ So with due respect, we bring our mythology to an epic and fiery close.”
As the Inquisitr previously explained, The Bastard Executioner is a very different show from Sons of Anarchy, and that has been clear since the show was in development. That said, many SOA fans were anxious to give TBX a try. While the show — which was filmed in Wales — definitely won some TV viewers over, others have had a hard time fully sinking their teeth into the series, which culminated in its lackluster viewership.
Described as a “edgy period drama” by Deadline Hollywood, The Bastard Executioner “for all of its ambitions and exploration of horrible behavior excused by religious devotion that seems relevant today, the show just wasn’t showing the audience growth needed to continue.”
As someone who was raised Catholic, Sutter apparently tried to use the show as platform to communicate what he considered the sad irony of millions being killed in the name of religion, according to an interview he gave to Yahoo! TV.
“Ultimately, while [Sutter] says he loved the mythology of the show, it came down to the numbers. The ratings never reached the highs of his previous show, Sons of Anarchy, which set records for FX. Instead, The Bastard Executioner fared much worse, losing more than half of its viewership in six weeks, starting with 4 million combined viewers for its premiere and dropping to just 1.9 million for episode six,” Vulture.com reported.
Sutter commented that had The Bastard Executioner continued, among other things the relationship between Lady Love and Wilkin would have moved forward, along with a possible pregnancy in the mix.
Kurt Sutter, who also was a producer on The Shield which ran for seven seasons on FX, has several projects going, including a Sons of Anarchy spinoff about the Mayan biker gang, for which he is in the process of hiring a Latino writer rather than running the show himself.
Summing up The Bastard Executioner experience, Kurt Sutter remarked that he has no regrets.
“I’m really proud of the work we did and I wish it could continue, but I think this is the most graceful way to bow out. There’s no animosity. I don’t feel like the network didn’t give us a chance or blah blah. I think everybody did everything they could to support it and make it work and, ultimately, there are just variables that are out of our control.”
If you watched The Bastard Executioner before it was canceled, did you have a “meh” reaction or did you find it compelling entertainment? Do you think that it may have unsuccessfully tried to ride the coattails of Game of Thrones? Is it possible that viewers were turned off (or turned it off) by the name of the show, its depiction of religion, or some other content-related reason?
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]