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What we know about The Nevers, coming to HBO
Looking to fill the Sunday night HBO void left by Game of Thrones, Watchmen, and His Dark Materials? The Nevers is making a bid to be your next weekly viewing appointment over at the prestige cable network.
Mixing superhero action and period drama intrigue, The Nevers premiers this month, and here’s what we know about it so far, as well as how to watch it on HBO and HBO Max.
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What is The Nevers about?
The Nevers takes place in London, during the final days of Queen Victoria’s reign in England. History appears to be unfolding more or less as we know it, but with a definite steampunk edge. Then, a group of people, mostly women, develop strange abilities. They are the “Touched,” and their new powers include seeing the future, throwing fire, and creating force fields.
Among the Touched are the mysterious widow Amalia True (Laura Donnelly) and the brilliant young inventor Penance Adair (Ann Skelly). The two join forces as champions of this new underclass, seeking out other Touched individuals to fight off the forces that would control and oppress them.
And there are many such forces.
The rich and powerful treat the Touched like a social oddity that they can exploit. Meanwhile, trailers make reference to “the Church” and “the purists” as forces with something against the Touched.
The Nevers is a mix of witch trials, period drama, and The X-Men.
Overall, the series seems to blend elements of real, historical witch trials with familiar themes found in X-Men comics, series and films.
When and where can I watch The Nevers?
The Nevers will air exclusively on premium cable channel HBO. It will also stream on WarnerMedia’s all-in-one streaming service HBO Max.
The series premieres April 11 at 9pm ET/PT. The first half of season one will bow weekly, Sundays at 9pm until May 16. Part two of season one will air at a later date. HBO has yet to reveal the air dates for part two.
Episodes will be available to stream immediately on HBO Max for subscribers in the US. International viewers who don’t subscribe to HBO through their cable providers will have to find out where to stream episodes through affiliate streaming services, like Crave in Canada
Did COVID-19 affect The Nevers?
If you feel like you first heard about this show ages ago, well, you’re not wrong. It’s taken the series a while to reach your screen.
HBO first announced The Nevers in 2018. After a bidding war with other companies including mega streamer Netflix, the premium cable network won out. It was a big title, created by Joss Whedon in what would be his first foray back to TV in years, after directing the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
So, why did it take so long for the Nevers to come out? On the one hand, HBO has had a pretty packed slate since 2018. That included the final season of Game of Thrones, Lovecraft Country, The Undoing, Succession, and Camping, not to mention returning seasons of Big Little Lies, True Detective, Veep, Westworld, Barry, Ballers, Crashing, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Deuce, Insecure, and Silicon Valley.
But another big reason for the delay was COVID-19. While about half of the first season was shot starting in October 2019, production had to pause as the pandemic intensified. It didn’t pick back up until almost a year later in 2020. Having said that, the choice to split the first season in two means we’ll get to see The Nevers much sooner than we might have if HBO waited for the whole thing to be ready.
Is Joss Whedon still involved?
While The Nevers was initially marketed as a Joss Whedon vehicle, the filmmaker behind cult classic series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Marvel’s original The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron has quickly fallen out of favor.
In November of last year, Whedon stepped away from the project. “This year of unprecedented challenges has impacted my life and perspective in ways I could never have imagined, and while developing and producing The Nevers has been a joyful experience, I realize that the level of commitment required moving forward, combined with the physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic, is more than I can handle without the work beginning to suffer,” he said, in a statement.
The story is a bit more complicated than that though, especially as HBO has removed Whedon’s name from most marketing materials for The Nevers. After a scathing open letter by estranged ex-wife Kai Cole, alleging years of gaslighting and infidelity with young actresses, Whedon was accused of unprofessional and abusive behavior on the set of Justice League.
When director Zack Snyder left Justice League, Whedon came on to get the project back on track. In doing so, he alienated members of the cast and crew, most notably actor Ray Fisher. Fisher has accused Whedon and Warner Bros. of racist and inappropriate behavior. Since then, numerous others have come forward with various allegations of abuse and misconduct dating back to Whedon’s days on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
So, it’s perhaps unsurprising that HBO and WarnerMedia are creating some distance. However, The Nevers is very much a Joss Whedon show. Whedon created it, and he directed three of the six episodes launching in the first half of the season, including the pilot, which he also wrote.
Who are the key players in The Nevers?
In addition writing and directing episodes of The Nevers, Joss Whedon is also an executive producer on the show.
Joining him as an executive producer and writer is frequent collaborator Jane Espenson. Espenson worked on Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse. She also wrote for other hit shows like Gilmore Girls, Battlestar Galactica, and Once Upon a Time.
Other writers include Kevin Lau, Madhuri Shekar, and Melissa Iqbal, with directors David Semel and Zetna Fuentes.
Rounding out the production team are EPs Bernadette Caulfield, Ilene S. Landress, Doug Petrie, and Philippa Goslett, with Daniel S. Kaminsky co-executive producing.
The main cast — besides Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly — includes Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Pip Torrens, Ben Chaplin, Denis O’Hare, Amy Manson, Rochelle Neil, Zackary Momoh, Eleanor Tomlinson, Elizabeth Berrington, Anna Devlin, Kiran Sonia Sawar, Viola Prettejohn, Ella Smith, Vinnie Heaven, and Nick Frost.
Never say Nevers
That’s what we know about The Nevers so far. We’ll have to wait and see when and how HBO plans to roll out part two of this first season. The future of the show is very much uncertain. If it’s a hit, HBO will have to decide how to deal with Whedon’s involvement on top of the logistics of getting more seasons off the ground.
Are you planning to catch The Nevers on HBO or HBO Max? Be sure to sign up with your cable provider or via the link below ahead of the April 11 premiere if you hope to tune in.