Joss Whedon is returning to television with a new show. HBO will be broadcasting The Nevers. A production date has not been announced yet, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The show will be set in the 19th century and is rumored to have a steampunk tone.
The Nevers is described as an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world. Whedon will serve as writer, director, exec producer and showrunner on The Nevers.
HBO has such confidence in Joss Whedon that The Nevers will be starting as a series without Whedon producing a pilot for their approval first. With Whedon’s track record, their confidence is not misplaced. Joss Whedon is a writer, a director, a producer, an actor, and a composer. He has been responsible for such television and cinematic hits as Buffy the Vampire, Toy Story, Alien: Resurrection, Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, Dollhouse, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s written science fiction, horror, comedy, fantasy, and action-adventure.
Whedon has a complicated history with female characters. Some praise him as a major feminist, creating such characters as Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Kaylee Frye, Inara Serra, Laura Barton, and Cordelia Chase. His characters can stand up for themselves, be broken, and heal stronger. They can make mistakes and learn from them. However, other fans say Whedon, despite his words of equality, is not a feminist, neither in his writing nor in real life.
Christina E. Janke said on the website Legion of Leia that “Whedon has been criticized for years over the treatment of his female characters, for whom he claims to have deep affection. They’re dragged through the mud, they’re written into needless sexual assault/rape plots, and they are forced (sometimes unknowingly) into sexist situations by men close to them. In other words, the women tend to be treated much more harshly than the men.”
Given this dichotomy of views in how Whedon treats female characters, it will be interesting to see what Whedon comes up with for The Nevers. Who will these women be, and what will they do?
Whom will he cast? Like the late Glen A. Larson, Whedon likes to recast favorite actors. Jeremy Renner guest starred in an episode of Angel before becoming Hawkeye. Summer Glau was in Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. Nathan Fillion was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and Much Ado About Nothing. All the major actors in Much Ado About Nothing were veterans of Whedon’s other movies and TV shows. Does that mean that The Nevers might feature Sarah Michelle Gellar, Riki Lindholme, Kristine Sutherland, Gina Torres, Claudia Kim, or Linda Cardinelli?
Kate Gardner of The Mary Sue complained that Joss Whedon was the wrong scriptwriter/director for HBO’s new project. Rather than picking up Whedon’s The Nevers. Ms. Gardner suggested that HBO should have considered scripts by female and/or POC writers, or at least writers who could do a better job by 21st century standards for LGBT and racial representation.
Whedon himself is openly excited and pleased about this new project.
“I honestly couldn’t be more excited. The Nevers is maybe the most ambitious narrative I’ve created, and I can’t imagine a better home for it than HBO. Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It’s been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world, and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just ‘prestige,’ but a passionate collaboration.”
What do you think of The Nevers? Will you be looking forward to it or skipping it? Let us know in the comments section below.