Review: The Nevers makes abrupt turn in disorienting midseason finale

Laura Donnelly stars as Amalia True in HBO's Victorian-era sci-fi drama, <em>The Nevers</em>.

Enlarge / Laura Donnelly stars as Amalia True in HBO’s Victorian-era sci-fi drama, The Nevers. (credit: HBO)

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the midseason finale for The Nevers, HBO’s inventive and alluring science fiction drama set in Victorian England. But I certainly didn’t foresee being so disoriented that I briefly wondered if HBO Max had started airing an entirely different series by mistake. I won’t spoil the finale for you, but let’s just say that the revelations in that sixth episode set up a radical new direction for the series. I’m curious to see if the writers can stick the landing when the second half of the season eventually airs.

(Some mild spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

As I’ve written previously, HBO won a fierce bidding war and approved a straight-to-series order in 2018, with Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, etc.) as writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner. Whedon brought Douglas Petrie and Jane Espenson—both of whom worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer—on board as additional writers/executive producers. Last November, Whedon announced he was quitting the project, citing exhaustion and the “physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic.” British screenwriter Philippa Goslett (Little Ashes, How to Talk to Girls at Parties) took over as showrunner soon after.

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