LA Weekly Review: The Nevers


The Nevers (HBO Max)

Before one can begin to tackle the ass-kicking Victorian women who populate HBO Max’s The Nevers, it is important to address the issues involving its creator Joss Whedon.

Due to accusations by several actors who’ve worked with him, the writer/director who brought us both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Avengers is problematic, to put it lightly, and his alleged actions will be an issue for many when it comes to projects bearing his name. Whedon left the show post-production but he did create it. Like a lot of entertainment out there, The Nevers is best enjoyed if one separates the artist from the art, so that is how it shall be reviewed here.

A Victorian sci-fi drama brimming with supernatural creatures, steampunk aesthetic and badass femme fatales who can backflip in a corset, The Nevers, is an interesting take on a well-worn subject. In lieu of Slayers or Dolls (remember Whedon’s short-lived Fox drama Dollhouse?), we are introduced to “the Touched” – people with extraordinary gifts ranging from extreme height to visions of the future. Society regards such individuals with either disdain or morbid curiosity, but their problems are only just beginning as they are also being hunted by a mysterious order.

The story’s central figure is Amalia True, a prim and proper young widow on a mission to save “the Afflicted”- people with supernatural abilities. And much like Professor X this belle in a bustle has a few afflictions of her own.

In this age of superheroes, The Nevers is nothing we haven’t seen before. X-Men, Buffy, Dollhouse, Harry Potter …all deal with aspects of everyday people with supernatural powers. However, its witty script helps elevate the material beyond the sci-fi tropes. The deadpan delivery and well-written words serve up laughs and a narrative that clicks.

A sci-fi fantasy with lofty expectations can fail to deliver the goods for a number of reasons and shabby world building, over-complicated plot, or bad writing have taken down many a lavish production. Thanks to a whip-smart script, well-developed characters and a talented cast bringing its material to life, The Nevers almost never feels played out, even if its creator might be.

Original article at LA Weekly.

This article has been reproduced for archive purposes.

Author: Cider

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