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Are you a big fan of Buffy? Dazzled by Doctor Who? Wowed by The War Of the Worlds? You might well be in for a treat with The Nevers, the Joss Whedon Victorian sci-fi/action/drama that you never knew you needed.
With a unique premise and fast-paced storyline, we spoke to actors Laura Donnelly and Ann Skelly – who play main characters Amalia and Penance – about why this series needs to be your next binge.
1. You’ve never seen anything like it
“You think you know what it is then very quickly it usually gets flipped and you suddenly realise that you’re in a different kind of world than any one that you’ve known before,” muses Laura.
She’s certainly right. One minute you feel in the middle of a Doctor Who-style Victorian sci-fi, the next you’re witnessing a grisly horror before switching to a superhero-style action scene.
“I’d say that it is a kind of mash of a few different genres. It doesn’t stick to any one particular formula.
“It’s set in Victorian London but obviously with the sci-fi and fantasy elements to it this isn’t the Victorian London that we’re used to seeing and certainly not filmed with the usual characters that we’re used to seeing.”
2. It’s a perfect example of female-led TV
The show is based around a group of mainly women who find they have unexplained skills and powers.
Laura explained: “It’s based around a group known as The Touched and they are mostly women, not all women. Because of an unexplained event they have been suddenly gifted - though not all of them would see it as a gift - with these unusual abilities. Some of those abilities are close to superpowers, but some are totally useless and in fact are a total inconvenience to the person.
“Overall as a group they are trying to find their place in the society they are in and it’s telling the story of why are they there, how do they deal with being there and also of the society that doesn’t want them there.”
And this overall premise of the show is reflected in the casting, with most of the actors being women.
It feels like part of the important step-change in TV casting and production that we currently seem to be in. From Too Close – the recent ITV drama in which the leading actors and production team was made up of women – to Intergalactic, another Sky sci-fi drama with a diverse and female-led cast, we seem to be seeing less of the white male-dominated TV we’ve become accustomed to as viewers.
“I’m not usually on a set with so many other women,” admits Laura. “And especially being able to play this part with another complex female character played by Ann Skelly.”
3. The relationship between the two leads
The friendship between Amalia and Penance feels authentic, and again moves away from the usual female relationships we see on TV.
“[It’s] bliss to just have this female relationship where they are supportive of one another, not pitted against each other, but they’re also not just talking about their problems with men the whole time,” says Laura.
Ann agrees: “I think one of my favourite parts really is that the Penance and Amalia relationship was sold to me as a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid but with Victorian women.
“I just loved that, because growing up you don’t have tons of examples. You definitely don’t have as many examples as men do for that kind of relationship on screen and that kind of dynamic which is so much fun and quite reflective of the closest female relationship in my life, my best friend.”
The Nevers is available on Sky Atlantic with a NOW Entertainment Membership from Monday, May 17.
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