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Joss Sci-Fi Drama The Nevers Ordered at HBO.

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Priceless View Post
    I am hopeful that this description of the show and characters actually undersells it, because it doesn't fill me with excitement. The actors are all great, and I'm especially excited by Nick Frost's inclusion, but overall I'm not really sold yet.
    You're not on your own. Don't shoot me...I'm only the messenger.

    https://www.themarysue.com/joss-whed...e-nevers-cast/

    "We’re not necessarily big fans of Joss Whedon’s newest project, The Nevers. The HBO drama sounds like it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Victorian England, but with all the worst elements of the series. The full cast list has finally been announced, along with their character descriptions, and yeah … it’s not particularly great.

    Take for example the lead character, Amalia True, who will be played by Laura Donnelly. She is described by Entertainment Weekly as being “the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. A menace to stuffy Victorian society, she would die for the cause and kill for a drink.”

    We’re not necessarily big fans of Joss Whedon’s newest project, The Nevers. The HBO drama sounds like it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Victorian England, but with all the worst elements of the series. The full cast list has finally been announced, along with their character descriptions, and yeah … it’s not particularly great.

    Take for example the lead character, Amalia True, who will be played by Laura Donnelly. She is described by Entertainment Weekly as being “the most reckless, impulsive, emotionally damaged hero of her time. A menace to stuffy Victorian society, she would die for the cause and kill for a drink.” There’s so much to unpack there, but let’s start with “emotionally damaged.” Must all of Whedon’s heroines be emotionally damaged?

    Buffy went through hell and back, and so did Cordelia, Willow, Echo, Inara, River, Zoe, and every other female character Whedon has ever written. The nature of storytelling means your characters will go through some trauma, but Whedon loves emotionally traumatizing his female heroes to a degree that he doesn’t traumatize his male heroes. There is also the element of sexual violence present in his narratives that often is used to torture his heroines. All in all, hyping up the protagonist as being emotionally damaged and impulsive is not the best look.

    Then let’s look at Amy Manson’s Maladie. “Committed by her husband (and genuinely unstable), she’s been warped by a power she can’t understand, and tortured by doctors intent on finding its source,” wrote Entertainment Weekly. “She now lives underground, runs a gang and is on an infamous murder spree. She affects a theatrical parody of a bedlam waif, but mad as she is, she’s a woman with a purpose.”

    I guess she’s like an evil River from Firefly? Whedon does like his tortured women who use violence ostensibly to defend themselves from the patriarchy and toxic men but who really are acting out a male power fantasy.

    Again, this is a trope that’s popular in Whedon’s works. He loves his damaged, partially insane women who are violent. They’re present in most of his work and it’s a deeply problematic trope.

    The male characters don’t have it any easier. Take Hugo Swann (James Norton) who’s a “pansexual posh boy whose charm has about five years left on its lease. He runs a secret club and a side trade in blackmail. He’s devoted to fulfilling everyone’s worst impression of him — and fascinated by the Touched.” Just think, even after Whedon managed to bury his gays in Buffy, he’s still finding a new way to be vaguely homophobic. Making a pansexual character a blackmailer and a cad is not necessarily a great look, particularly given Whedon’s obsession with heteronormativity.

    There are more characters to break down. Like Annie, the “career criminal” who happens to be the only Black woman in the cast, or Augustus, who is described as being a “sweet, disarming nerd” which is Whedon speak for “entitled nice guy.” There is so much here that reminds me of those memes where people have bots watch a bunch of Hallmark movies and then write one. It’s like a bot literally wrote these descriptions based on Whedon’s previous titles and didn’t bother to do much except change the names,

    There have to be other writers out there who aren’t toxic or dated who could’ve written a Victorian superpower show. Maybe there’s a writer of color or a woman who could have tackled the project. Instead, we’re getting leftovers from the Angel character line-up. I would like to be pleasantly surprised by the show, but given Whedon’s recent track record, I doubt I will be."
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    • #62
      Wow Mary Sue, that was brutal 'There have to be other writers out there who aren’t toxic or dated who could’ve written a Victorian superpower show'.

      The characters do sound highly derivative of previous Whedon characters, but that's what a lot of writers do. They have one question or one story and keep going over and over it in different ways, and there's nothing wrong in that.

      To answer some of the criticisms, Amalia True may be a new Buffy, but I love Buffy with all her emotional damage, so that doesn't put me off the character at all and I am very open to liking her as much as I like Buffy. Show me a main character in a tv show that doesn't go through emotional trauma - that's what main characters are for and how dull a drama would be without any . . . err . . . drama And of course drama leaves trauma, which is only to be expected in an episodic tv show.

      They describe Amy Manson’s Maladie as an evil River from Firefly, but to me she sounds more like a Dru character, except much less vampiric. The writer complains about this trope and how badly women are treated in Whedon shows, and how awful that is. So what does he want? More happy shiny shows were women never do anything and never suffer, how horribly unreal and saccharine would that be - then MarySue really would have something to complain about.

      Hugo Swan is obviously going to be the male lead and hero type, so I don't understand why MarySue has such a problem with how he's being described.

      Overall, this article has made me like the concept more than I originally did, because they've let their dislike of Whedon as a person get in the way of appreciating his work. They seem to suggest this show is going to be terrible because it's so like his other shows. Well, I liked his other shows, or at least I love Buffy and Angel, so if they're even vaguely like them, I'll like The Nevers.

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      • #63
        "We’re not necessarily big fans of Joss Whedon..." - they could have stopped there!

        Priceless:

        Overall, this article has made me like the concept more than I originally did
        Yup...me too. Talk about reverse psychology.

        What I want to know is - WHY are these women damaged? If it's something to do with being unable to achieve their full potential as women because of social conditions, then I'm fully behind it (particularly if he draws parallels between then and now - which I think he may well do. The "Never"s has an ominous ring to it).

        Hugo Swann - he's got Marsters' ears and cheekbones.
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        • #64
          Originally posted by TriBel View Post
          "We’re not necessarily big fans of Joss Whedon..." - they could have stopped there!

          Priceless:



          Yup...me too. Talk about reverse psychology.

          What I want to know is - WHY are these women damaged? If it's something to do with being unable to achieve their full potential as women because of social conditions, then I'm fully behind it (particularly if he draws parallels between then and now - which I think he may well do. The "Never"s has an ominous ring to it).

          Hugo Swann - he's got Marsters' ears and cheekbones.
          I'll know this show is working if they can make Norton attractive to me

          The MarySue article is so obnoxious I can't bring myself to agree with any of it. I am sure The Nevers, though set in Victorian England, will be a comment on modern times. Isn't all drama about the time it was made, rather than the time it was set. It will be a caustic comment on Trumps America and it's effect on women in particular. Maybe Whedon sees a link between the Victorian era and modern American (and UK) politics?

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          • #65
            @Priceless

            I was teaching a module on Jack the Ripper once (don't ask...someone has to do it and it seemed like a good idea at the time ) and I read a suggestion for a screenplay - basically the Ripper disappears because he's been killed by the Bryant & May Match Girls. https://www.casebook.org/dissertatio...epetition.html

            The point Teal's making is that the Ripper story is always told as a male fantasy. We don't know what happened, why he disappeared, so why can't it be told as a female fantasy? Why can't women play an active role in his demise?

            "There are many ways of telling this story, but the movie productions most frequently return to the master criminal/master detective formula, ignoring the women in the story at best, or at worst, treating them like extras, sides of beef, or blockages in the narrative. Sherlock Holmes's encounter with Katherine Eddowes' corpse on the slab in Murder by Decree is spectacularly memorable in this respect. Playing Holmes, actor Christopher Plummer remarks: "I feel she'll be more help to us now than when she was alive.".

            I'm hoping for something similar from to Teal's screenplay from Whedon (if I get it, I might even stop watching Lucifer to watch The Nevers - though Swann's no Tom Ellis )

            ETA - I'd like to see this sort of reasoning (it's from Teal).

            Some might say "five women died in this historic moment" and one can't change that in the narrative. No, of course not. But dying was not the only activity women engaged in during this time. Women did not simply enter the action to die. And they weren't all prostitutes. There were over 1200 known prostitutes in the Whitechapel neighborhood at this time, but we do know that many women had to prostitute themselves to supplement their poor wages from sweated labor. They were working other jobs. True, there were no female police, nor were there any female judges at the time. However, there were women working as touts, midwives and doctors, coal haulers, dust women, sackwomen who could be identified by their yellowed, oily hands, shop assistants, ditch diggers, milk deliverers, maids, chars, and factory hands. Far from being sheltered, many women worked out in the streets all day and missed nothing. Working in men's clothes some were indistinguishable from the men beside them (Hiley). Women were everywhere at this time, even in the clattering offices of news agencies and printing presses. Even if they didn't take suspects into custody and do the questioning, they were frequently the ones speaking with the police and sometimes they were the ones brought in for brawling and defending family members. Women were also running for positions on the London School Board. Though the entertainment world has chosen to focus on a very gendered version of the action, the action could be much more inclusive . One might say it must be told from a man's point of view because men were in charge. But who actually saw the Ripper? The female victims. Who "saw" the Ripper in strangers in the street and shadows in their bedrooms? Millions of other women. If women were indeed the only people who actually saw the real Ripper and the only people who feared his attacks, couldn't the story be told from a woman's point of view? Isn't this a woman's story? Sometimes the male domination of this story gets to the point of suffocating it. These days it seems to me that this entertainment construction does the Ripper's work again, draining the vitality from the women who could be agents in the tale. The Male Vs. Male construct reappears with such regularity that it seems to be reinforcing the old idea that women had to be guided, governed and covered. Smothered. Put down. If you poison people long enough with a negative idea about themselves, they will eventually believe it. The constant reemergence of this male-male drama feels like a dangerous, carefully administered, sinister corrective, a toxin. The prevalence of this narrative strategy is a toxic repetition.
            Last edited by TriBel; 01-08-19, 10:18 AM.
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            • #66
              The Mary Sue's had problems against Whedon since at least Age of Ultron because of the Natasha monster thing. Then everything with his ex-wife came out so they just criticize anything he does every time he's brought up.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by DanSlayer View Post
                The Mary Sue's had problems against Whedon since at least Age of Ultron because of the Natasha monster thing. Then everything with his ex-wife came out so they just criticize anything he does every time he's brought up.
                I totally understand, even sympathise, with people having issues with Whedon. But this article is just so bitter and resentful, like Whedon has somehow lost the right to work because he's transgressed. If everyone who cheated wasn't allowed to work, half the world would be sat at home watching daytime tv

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                • #68
                  Some idiots online behave like Whedon has personally kicked their Cat to death or something. It's beyond anything rational sometimes.

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                  • #69
                    If everyone who cheated wasn't allowed to work, half the world would be sat at home watching daytime tv
                    True that..................hang on while I check what's on the other channel.
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                    • #70
                      I think it's less about the cheating, it's more about him confessing to his wife about using his power with young, impressionable actresses... No? I mean, he said it. And that, with being tied to endless statements about being a feminist is problematic, in the least.

                      Click for art and tomfooleries

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                      • #71
                        The Nevers podcast, which I haven't listened to yet, is wondering if the allegations made against Joss and his reactions to them, will affect how this new show is received and if it's a success, does that mean Joss is redeemed.

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                          The Nevers podcast, which I haven't listened to yet, is wondering if the allegations made against Joss and his reactions to them, will affect how this new show is received and if it's a success, does that mean Joss is redeemed.
                          These are the same questions I ask about Whedon's career. Whedon has been marked as a problematic white male. I even saw a discussion criticizing The Nevers (and Whedon) for being set in Victorian times which automatically makes the make-up of the cast less diverse.

                          Click for art and tomfooleries

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Josh View Post
                            These are the same questions I ask about Whedon's career. Whedon has been marked as a problematic white male. I even saw a discussion criticizing The Nevers (and Whedon) for being set in Victorian times which automatically makes the make-up of the cast less diverse.
                            I do think they've tried to make the cast pretty diverse, with several non white actors and at least one gay actor. I think it's partly set in Victorian times so they don't have to deal with all the modern technology or social media. I also think that era is quite interesting and Whedon must see a lot that is still relevant to us today.

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Priceless View Post
                              I do think they've tried to make the cast pretty diverse, with several non-white actors and at least one gay actor. I think it's partly set in Victorian times so they don't have to deal with all the modern technology or social media. I also think that era is quite interesting and Whedon must see a lot that is still relevant to us today.
                              I've seen the cast, it's mostly white. But we will see, won't we? I'll be watching because of Joss. I still believe in his ability to be a great storyteller.

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                              • #75
                                Sometimes even writers/creators we ♥ don't use enough minorities/LGBT. Sorkin's another example. Clearly not prejudiced (quite the opposite), but think his total count for LGBT main characters on his 4 shows: 0!

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