Review: 'The Nevers: Season 1 Part 1' a Must For Any Fan Of Supernatural Science Fiction

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 5, 2021

Cult followings follow cult icons like Joss Whedon, because his series contain so much of what we love to see on screen--ass-kicking women, super sexy and slightly scandalous studs, and human beings with supernatural abilities. In other words, intricately drawn, realistic characters that remind us of ourselves.

His news series, "The Nevers," a supernatural science fiction series developed for HBO, is born of the parody we see in his shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," but it also draws heavily on the superhero ethos he developed working with Marvel Television. The first season will consist of 12 episodes, split into two six-episode parts, and the first of these has just been release on Blu-ray, with the second half debuting in 2022. Since it's one of those shows that is so intricate, so multilayered, that it not only withstands but demands multiple viewing, this much-better-quality-than-streaming medium is the perfect way to watch the show. And over two hours of bonus material only sweetens the incentive.

It's turn of the century Victorian London and a great pandemic has hit society. Actually, it's only a pandemic to those who react to it as such. A number of people have become afflicted with magical abilities or "turns," so this is empowering to some and terrifying to others--empowering to those who embrace their fate and a terror to those who could lose their power. Oddly enough, it's society's downtrodden, women and sensitive men, who have been changed by this odd cosmic anomaly. These people are called "the Touched."

Chief among the "Touched" is Amalia True (Laura Donnelly). With her fist-welding, take charge attitude, Amalia addresses this superhuman problem. She starts an Orphanage for all of those abandoned by their untouched families. But it's not aboutl maternal nurturing for Amalia, this mysterious soldier of justice. She fights a war against the mental slavery, the things that make people fear the unusual, and that's a pretty big adversary. Fortunately, Amalia has the ability to see glimpses of the future; unfortunately, she can't always control them or even understand them.

To her advantage, Amaila has a good friend, Penance Adair (Ann Skelly). Penance has the power to see electrical energy and a skill for inventing. Together they amass the Touched and protect them from persecution, because the enemies of the extraordinary are vast. Not only do Touched haters lurk in the London underground they sit in positions of power, in the government and on the police force.

One of the reasons the Touched cause so much fear within the ignorant masses is that some of them are truly dangerous. One touched woman called Maladie (Amy Manson) is a serial killer that threatens to outshine Jack the Ripper. Not hard, because she has a personal vendetta and the ability to organize.

Between the epic costumes, startling special effects, unidentified flying objects, science fiction, fantasy and magic, Hugo Swann (James Norton) and Augie Bidlow (Tom Riley) smolder into this world. They are polar opposites--one an aristocratic, pansexual private club owner, the other a sensitive birdwatcher who is secretly touched--but they are drawn to each other nonetheless. And these are just two in a large ensemble of interesting characters who draw us into the humanity of this story.

Even though the first season is only halfway underway, even though we're just beginning our venture into the arc of this series, Season 1 Part 1 feels complete. It doesn't leave you hanging. All along the way new doorways are opened to new reveals, things that keep you guessing, questioning what you think you know and asking you to look at the larger picture.

Own "The Nevers" on October 5.