Released this Monday on OCS, The Nevers is the new creation of Joss Whedon, Buffy’s daddy, for HBO. Here he is back, again with strong heroines.
What is it about ?
In the last years of the Victorian era, the city of London was beset by the “Touched”: people (mainly women) who suddenly found themselves endowed with extraordinary abilities. Some are charming, others very disturbing … Amalia True, a mysterious widow with a little too easy punch, and Penance Adair, a young and brilliant inventor, are both at the head of this elite. They then create a home for the “Touched”, while fighting the forces of Evil, to make room for those whom History, as we know it, would like to forget …
A false air of X-Men
People with extraordinary abilities, hunted down or rejected by the rest of society. All this little world gathered in a home, a large and beautiful house … It seems like falling on the pitch of X-Men. The Nevers is however the last creation of Joss Whedon which returns to television after many years of absence spent dealing with superheroes in the cinema.
As usual, Whedon bases his story on female heroines, strong women who carry on their shoulders (almost) all the weight in the world. Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly) form the two pillars of this home which houses “Touched”. They combine together all the character traits that Whedon has already attributed to his previous heroines: panache, spleen, humor, wit …
In front of them, the series brings together a rather eclectic and attractive cast; but above all delivers a very beautiful visual production. We discover Victorian England with the most successful steampunk imagery. The sets are simply superb and we marvel at certain staging finds.
Despite these qualities, The Nevers struggles to convince. The narrative remains too muddled and the characters deserve more than just sketches. We feel that Whedon is building on his achievements by delivering a feminist discourse, but the point lacks depth. Fight scenes – even successful ones – of badass heroines in corsets are unfortunately not enough to dismantle the patriarchy.
After investing a lot as a creator, Joss Whedon ended up leaving The Nevers during the first season. A departure that follows the release of several harassment scandals, especially on the set of the film Justice League. The arrival of Philippa Goslett as showrunner will perhaps allow the series to emancipate itself from its creator in season 2 and find a new lease of life to match its ambitions.
The Nevers, Monday in US + 24 at 8:40 p.m. on OCS City