HBO Max’s original Victorian steampunk fantasy revolves around a group of people in London in the 19th century who wrestle with the powers they discover they have. It’s like the X-men meets Victorian England, from the ever-creative mind of Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), where women with powers rise up to confront the injustice and evil that they face, largely at the hands of misogynistic men.
It’s hard not to like where Whedon goes when using superhero themes to highlight the issues that occur in the real world. He’s clearly looking through a lens where class and social issues determine a person’s worth, adding in an added dimension of whether a character has “powers” or not. Instead of seeing the powers as a higher development, those with powers are treated as outcasts, like they should remain silent in the periphery. It’s a sense of a caste system, but the people on the bottom have the most power.
In Matthew 20:16, Jesus says that the first will be last and the last will be first — and that’s the overarching realization one has when watching the show. The people put down, HELD down, and forgotten about? They’re the ones who are going to survive. And in terms of the Nevers, they’re the people who could use their powers for good or they could use their powers for evil, for themselves, for a counter cultural revolution. Why does it always come back to “with great power comes great responsibility?”
This current release is only the first part of the first season (six episodes) but it’s littered with special features, including portraits of a half-dozen key characters, the creation of several scenes, a deeper look at the villains of the show, and special looks at director Zetna Fuentes, special effects supervisor Johnny Han, and editor Lisa Lassek.
Fans of science fiction/fantasy can get a jump on the show by watching these six episodes now, with the second set of six episodes debuting in 2022.