Exclusive: The Nevers' Ann Skelly and James Norton on Buffy comparisons

·3-min read
Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

The Nevers is a new HBO series that has just wrapped up its first batch of episodes. Focusing on a group of people in Victorian times gifted with unusual powers, they must learn to navigate both these changes and a society that devalues them.

Of course, this has invited plenty of comparisons to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon's breakthrough show that broke ground in many ways. Although he's no longer part of the show, The Nevers was created and temporarily ran by Whedon.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

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Digital Spy got to exclusively chat to stars Ann Skelly and James Norton, who play super-powered inventor Penance Adair and pansexual aristocrat Hugo Swann, respectively, and asked them what they think about the comparisons.

"I, of course, wouldn't mind that comparison," Skelly said. "But I'm very happy, because I do think the show itself distinguishes itself a lot from that world, because they do feel like very different worlds.

"The similarities can be in the immersive quality of the writing, and the love of the characters as well. With The Nevers, there are so many characters played by incredible actors. I think it's a really exciting thing to have so many people to love...

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

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"And we, of course, have our own unwilling protagonist who doesn't want to be the hero, but – too fucking bad, they are. Laura, herself, I do actually think has that quality. She's that natural leader, even though she doesn't declare herself to be, which is always the best person to lead the cause, and lead this unknown, massive mission, and the story of The Nevers itself."

McMafia star Norton focused on one specific aspect of Buffy: its boundary-pushing relationship between Tara Maclay and Willow Rosenberg.

"[Buffy] did an enormous amount of positive good for starting conversations and encouraging gay women and men, I'm sure, to talk and be open," Norton said. "You know, in those days, it meant a lot more to portray those types of love story on film.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

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"I think we love Buffy for lots of reasons. Not just because it was a great piece of entertainment. Because it was brave, and it was important at the time. So if we're compared in that way, then great. I think the same: it's a really fast, furious piece of entertainment.

"It's escapist, but, at the same time, it has a big message, and it doesn't shy away from those big questions – questions of inclusivity and discrimination and how the establishment needs to change and move in order for a society to grow.

"Joss obviously being involved with both, we're very lucky to have had him to set us off on our journey. I think it's a complimentary comparison."

The Nevers airs on HBO in the US, and is available to stream on HBO Now and HBO Max. UK viewers can watch the show on Sky Atlantic and NOW from May 17.

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