Joss Whedon’s new Victorian sci-fi drama, The Nevers was met with high expectations. However, critics are not impressed.
The Nevers, HBO’s sci-fi drama has a lot of appeals. However, the Joss Whedon series fails to impress critics due to its poor reviews. Whedon was the showrunner and director of the series debut episode. He also directed a few other episodes. However, high expectations were set for the series that was originally advertised as a Victorian-inspired superhero series. The Nevers failed to live up to the hype after its April 11 debut on HBO and HBO Max.
After winning the bidding battle with Whedon’s original series, HBO was awarded the rights to The Nevers. The series centers around a group of Victorian women who discover that they possess strange abilities. The “Touched” are a group of women who discover they have strange abilities. They find themselves involved in a special mission that could change the world. The Touched must deal with threats from all walks of life, from criminals to stronger enemies.
The Nevers has a cast that includes Ann Skelly and Laura Donnelly as well as Olivia Williams, Denis O’Hare, and Pip Torrens. However, there has been controversy over Whedon’s involvement in the HBO series. Whedon’s reputation has been damaged by ongoing workplace harassment scandals. Whedon resigned for personal reasons. In marketing materials leading up to April’s debut, the original creator’s name was not used. Although it is unclear how much the scandals affected perceptions of The Nevers, it could not have been a significant factor. Rotten Tomatoes currently has a 52% rating from critics. The audience score is 57%. Metacritic and IMDb are worse, with the majority describing the plot’s lack of focus and confusion as to the ratings. Although The Nevers’ ensemble cast is a great asset, critics complain that the show has too many subplots. These are some of the negative reviews:
“Had the series slowly fleshed out its core premise and introduced its characters with better purpose, perhaps “The Nevers” could have avoided its own “turn” into nonsensical hooey. For every beat that strikes the right tone, there’s at least one that’s laughably over-the-top or utterly indecipherable. Too many early action scenes fail to articulate the stakes (or even who’s fighting). Too many performances chew the scenery so ferociously you can see hear it in their slobbering British accents. Too many plot holes expand beyond control, and too many “turns” undercut their characters.”
“Even at this relatively early point, though, The Nevers is a show in desperate need of focus, and as episodes progress, more and more characters are added and the connection to the richest thematic throughline becomes increasingly tenuous. In familiar Whedon fashion, deaths are leveraged for hollow emotion and every time there’s an opportunity to find new layers in the characters we know, the show gets distracted by something shiny, new, and usually less interesting.”
“But even if Whedon still had the pristine cult-icon image from the turn of the century, The Nevers would still be a disappointment. It has many of the elements you would expect from a Whedon show, and on a greater scale than any of the older ones, but some pieces only occasionally come into focus. Others leave you wondering why they’re around at all.”
“There might have been a way to salvage such an unwieldy plot, so that a show whose dialogue, production values, and acting (especially Donnelly’s lead performance) are above average for Dickenscore could at least hold viewers’ attention, the way the even-sillier Irregulars does. But the incomprehensibility of storytelling that barely allows time for us to register a character’s existence before moving on to a new set of faces ensures that The Nevers is rarely fun.”
Although it’s difficult to be drawn to certain characters in the film, critics and viewers praise the performances of the cast given the opportunity. Although the story’s direction is criticized, there seems to have been an appreciation for the costumes and visuals that depict the 19th-century London setting. There’s still plenty of time for HBO to get a good reception and many people are interested in the twists and chaos. Here are some positive reviews:
Los Angeles Times:
“The Nevers is for anyone who loved Penny Dreadful or Harlots, WandaVision, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This period drama about the persecution — and power — of the marginalized goes wide on genre appeal while homing in on painfully contemporary themes. And it’s full of riddles designed to keep us hooked.”
“It’s a world rich with compelling characters, narrative possibilities, and actors up to the task of making their parts sing. [Laura] Donnelly and [Ann] Skelly are especially good as the show’s central odd couple, their friendship anchoring “Nevers” as its mysteries unfurl and the stakes get impossibly high.”
Whedon arguably nailed the setting and fantasy immensity when it came to the development of The Nevers. It remains to be seen whether the story will continue on its current course after Philippa Goslett takes over. It’s a series that has a lot of genre appeal. Now it’s up to Philippa Goslett to create a coherent plot and use characters viewers feel connected with. The Nevers season one will air six episodes through May. The remaining four episodes will be available in the future. If the reception is negative viewers may not be interested in the second batch.