The Nevers [open spoilers after first post]

So, Joss Whedon has a new show on HBO involving magic, mayhem, and late 1800s London. It has a lot of prominent actors, most or all of whom will be familiar if you watch BBC TV shows, and it has one hell of a special effects budget.

Episode 1 just ran, and I have thoughts… Spoilers after the break.

So let’s start with the positives. I love the look of the show, and there are two main characters so far, both of whom are great. The show does start with a bang, or actually several bangs, as our heroes work to rescue a young girl who is in the midst of being kidnapped. I liked those scenes a lot, even if they had to dive a little into steampunk with the motor car. Nick Frost has a good turn, and the bad guys are intriguing.

Well, that was about it for me for positives. For neutrals, let’s just admit that we’re going to have to ignore all the shit that came out about Joss Whedon, otherwise the female empowerment narrative that underpins the story is just going to feel like a joke. But he left the show, so I can live with that.

And then, the negatives. A lot of it is actually classic Whedon – too many characters introduced too quickly, too much abandonment of narrative for one-liners and good scenes, and a sprawling plot that needs to come together in the next couple of episodes. After that first good set piece, it’s a long time before things start to move again, there’s so much character intro & luxuriating in lovely London.

Also, and this is a little weirder, demographically this feels like it could be a YA show, but it does have plenty of sex and nudity (as HBO likes), so I’m not that sure who it’s aimed at. Young 20s as a main demographic I guess, but it seems like a strange choice.

I’ll give this at least two more episodes, but I would score of the first one about a 6 out of 10.

Funny you should mention “two more episodes” as that is the entirety of Whedon’s tenure on the show. Hope we find out what those hourglasses at the Big Bads’ table are all about.

Although he is evidently credited as director for only three episodes (the first plus two more as you note), everything I’ve read says he departed as showrunner, which means executive producer and head writer, after the first half of the twelve-episode season.

The fact that the benefactor for the refuge for super powered people is in a wheelchair is all the clue you need to predict all the tropes we’re going to see in this story. But, the acting, scenery, and FX are enough to keep me watching.

To be fair, it was the pilot and pilots are generally overstuffed.

The ending of the pilot reveal that the magical powers were randomly granted by a flying alien (?) ship was interesting. A good way for it to be an alternative history but most things being the same (as the fork was relatively soon before the beginning of the show).

The effects were great, but also made me wish that HBO dramas would finally embrace 4k or HDR… at least on its HBOMax app.

Yes, apparently this is Wild Cards: 1889. *

Interesting that everyone except Maladie seemed to immediately forget the alien ship and the floating spores/points of light as soon as they had passed. Apparently they’re going with the “mental illness gives you unique insight into the supernatural truths that no one else is aware of’” trope. There also seemed to me to be some implication that Mrs. True retained more awareness of what had actually happened then everyone else - maybe because she was dying when she was Touched? I suppose that’s going to be the mystery box element of the show.

* Wild Cards was a shared world anthology book series in the 1980s about an alternate history where aliens bombarded New York City with mutagenic material in the 1940s, resulting in a grim and gritty version of a classic comic book superhero world.

Edited by George R.R. Martin no less. It is still continuing as well.

I wonder if Maladie was the ONLY person who didn’t forget the alien ship. The word Touched seems to imply touched by God, but I wonder if they know they were literally touched by the material from this ship (while those who weren’t forget about it right afterwards).

It can also mean demented, which, so far, seems to be Maladie’s only “superpower”. Although, wasn’t she already like that before the “event”?

I’m pretty sure the protagonists don’t see it that way :wink: .

Well, her eyes also turn orange during a fight, and that seems to give her strength. At least that’s my read on something pretty vague.

I did wonder if she was originally the wife of a peer (“M’Lady”) shoved into an asylum by a wicked peer who conspired with the psychoanalysts to keep her imprisoned. Maybe Lord Massen? I know we saw his daughter, I’m not sure about his wife.

Maladie also seemed to recognise Miss True when she spoke the words “just let me have the girl”. They have a past, I think.

I know I’m not adding much to the discussion, but I really WANT to like this show. My wife was fading fast and starting reading the reviews of the first 5-6 episodes which were not at all positive.

Having said that I’ll give this a go and hope for the best. I love Laura Donnelly, who we both liked in Outlander.

Just watched the first episode. Parts were okay. Parts really dragged. I’d call it “Zzzzzzz-Men” except that the terrigen mist scene means that I need to come up with an Inhumans joke instead.

I wanted to like this show because I thought the reviews were good, but I gave up after 20 mins. This just seemed like a YA teen focused series. Wisecracking attractive women beating up men twice their size, yawn, seen that way too many times.

Well, maybe don’t watch the new CW Kung Fu series either. You might dislocate your jaw.

Going by the responses on my thread about the show, nobody watched it.

Well that was interesting. Looks like True was also spending some quality time in a mental asylum, where she met Maladie. Also appears that true to her name (no pun intended), she can get people to reveal things about themselves. Helping out the inspector should help the orphanage.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised as well that the mad scientist is working for the orphanage benefactor. She always had the feel of playing both sides.

I thought that was Desirée Blodgett‘s turn. That’s why True took her to see the inspector.

Oh that’s fair… oh well, I was hoping True had a punny name.