Not even 24 hours have passed since The Bastard Executioner finale, but already FX has announced the show will not be returning for a second season. Well, actually the series creator, Kurt Sutter, announced the series was cancelled after he beat the network to the punch and pulled the plug. Today, ads written and bought by Sutter appeared on Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter eulogizing the end of The Bastard Executioner.
Sutter opens by thanking “The Bastard Executioner family for a once in a lifetime creative and personal experience. I have been awed by the talent and commitment of this TBX cast and crew.” The creator goes on to individually thank those who worked with him on the show, but it isn’t until the end of his advertisement that he actually announces the show is over. He ends with, “The audience has spoken, and unfortunately, the work is, ‘meh.’ So with due respect, we bring our mythology to an epic and fiery close.”
The Bastard Executioner was a dark period drama that explored how the tyranny of the feudal system was excused by religion. The series followed the story of Wilkin Brattle (Lee Jones) who must abandon his life as a warrior-turner-farmer and steal a dead executioner’s identity in order to survive. Who would have thought they had identity theft back in the middle ages? While posing as a journeyman executioner, Wilkin struggles to balance protecting his identity and following his destiny.
When the series premiered on Sept. 15, 4 million viewers tuned in. But by the time the series finale aired on Tuesday, fewer than 2 million were watching. In a statement accompanying the ads, Sutter explained he believes the dense mythology and the recent slew of period shows may be to blame for the low viewership.
Sutter’s dramatic way of announcing the end of The Bastard Executioner marks the definite end of the show. The axe has been swung and the show is officially dead. Sutter said he will not look for another network to potentially revive The Bastard Executioner because the show was difficult to produce, and he felt since the show had already failed to appeal to an audience once, it would not find better viewership elsewhere.
With The Bastard Executioner barely in the grave, Sutter is already working on his next project. He’s currently working on adapting a film script for television, finding writers for a Son’s of Anarchy spinoff, and drafting his next TV idea.