2021 was a weird time to be a fan of a show with Joss Whedon’s name on it. The Neversa supernatural thriller series set in an alternate fantasy version of Victorian England, premiered in April 2021 under a cloud as allegations of on-set abuse dating back to the days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was built against Whedon, the show’s creator and producer. The Nevers struggled to find an audience amid all the negative press, and the show went on hiatus after six episodes, reportedly due to production delays. Two years later, the promising second half of the inaugural season — the other six episodes of the 12-episode run — is now streaming sporadically for free online, at least for those willing to wade through the substantial viewing margins. Few viewers are going to bother. And that’s a shame, because The Nevers it was always better than its reputation or the man so strongly associated with it.
The release of the series was doomed from the start. For almost a year before the premiere, Justice League Actor Ray Fisher had strangely complained about Whedon’s handling of the film as director after Whedon took over from director Zack Snyder. In the wake of Fisher’s statements, other actors and creatives who had worked with Whedon came forward with their own stories of abuse and humiliation. In November 2020, Whedon stepped down The Nevers, leaving producer Philippa Goslett in charge. But the damage was done. Fisher finally went into detail about his experience with Whedon in April 2021, as the series premiered, and the series launch was quiet and subdued in the wake of the news.
Early reaction to the show was mostly dubious to disgusted. The pilot episode is definitely a problem, introducing so many characters and concepts that it doesn’t feel like a teaser for a coherent story. It’s too full of the kind of self-aware, mockery-centered whimsy that fans despise — and blame Whedon for every time they see it in any medium. In the wake of Whedon’s longtime focus on waifish but tough, troubled but duty-driven female heroes, the show’s focus on this very brand of superpowered women didn’t feel empowering, so much like Whedon plagiarizing. Season 1 villain Maladie (Amy Manson), another in a line of wacky, adventurous, emotionally damaged characters in Whedon’s works, looks like a slightly revamped version of Drusilla from Buffyand feels awkwardly out of date in an era where creators are trying to move beyond presenting the mentally ill as dangerous villains.
But The Nevers earned low-key fans, because despite all that, the first half of his one and only season really shines once you get past that unpromising start. It’s quickly turning into an amazing, exciting sci-fi series full of huge, unexpected twists and ambitious storytelling. It seems that Whedon was relying on his reputation and fan base to get viewers over the hump of a somewhat conventional fantasy series opening. But many of them never did — and they missed out on a lot of surprises, especially when they moved past the Whedon-written-and-directed pilot and into the series’ deeper action.
And most of all, they missed out on a killer performance from Laura Donnelly as series star Amalia True, a character defined equally by action sequences and rich, complex character work. Donnelly and Ann Skelly as Amalia’s best friend Penance Adair both feel like clichés in the first episode, and then quickly develop into winning and admirable characters whose strong determination and relationship growth over the course of of the first half of the season was a major part of the series’ appeal. All this means to the fans The Nevers actually managed to come together, the revelation that the second half of the show actually exists is exciting news.
Now they just have to figure out how to track it.
Considering everything that’s happened around Whedon in 2020 and 2021 — and his insistence on going deep with a devastating interview once he’s answered the accusations — the show’s hiatus after episode 6 made it seem unlikely that the other episodes, let alone that would ever air. When HBO Max went down The Nevers from its platform, reportedly as a cost-cutting measure that also saw more expensive shows (such as Westworld and Raised by Wolves) get the boot, it seemed like the end of the story.
Tubi then announced that it had acquired the license not only for the episodes that aired, but also for the second half of the season, and will stream it online for free via a WB Watchlist channel — one of several live streams that hosted on Tubi and accessible to all the same apps and services that access Tubi. However, “live streaming” means that episodes are broadcast at specific times and in multi-hour consecutive blocks. So if you want to watch them, you have to create a free Tubi account, tune in at a specific time, and watch them non-stop, with no access to pauses or rewinds — which really isn’t how most people watch television today. “Date TV” is definitely a thing, but it usually means people sitting down to start a new episode of their favorite show the moment they can watch it for the first time, without logging three-hour stretches locked in front of the TV starting at a specific time .
This limitation in finally seeing his back half The Nevers has led to fans of the show scrambling to find workarounds or begging someone to record and download the episodes for them. It also means that even the biggest fans are likely to watch the episodes out of sync over time, at least until they can reliably pirate them. It’s just the latest depressing blow to a series that deserved better and never had a chance to thrive.
Tubi is available on TubiTV.com, through apps on Android and iOS mobile devices, on Roku, on smart TV apps and devices such as Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, and on current generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles. The Nevers and other shows can be found under the Live TV tab, which takes you to the service’s streaming channels. The next window for episodes of The Nevers will be from March 1-3. Tubi says to expect the show “on regular rotation.”