Nearly a decade after his last series, Dollhouse, ended after two seasons, Joss Whedon is heading back to television.
The Nevers, a new sci-fi drama from Whedon, has just landed a straight-to-series order at HBO, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The premium cable institution, home to genre hits like the recently ended The Leftovers, the two-seasons-and-counting Westworld, and the nearly finished Game of Thrones, won the series after a bidding war that also included Netflix.
Whedon will return to the kind of creative control that he enjoyed on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly for the series, serving as writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner on The Nevers. The series is described as an "epic" sci-fi drama that follows a group of Victorian women with "unusual abilities, relentless enemies and a mission that might change the world."
"I honestly couldn't be more excited. The Nevers is maybe the most ambitious narrative I’ve created, and I can’t imagine a better home for it than HBO," Whedon said. "Not only are they the masters of cinematic longform, but their instant understanding of my odd, intimate epic was as emotional as it was incisive. It's been too long since I created an entirely new fictional world, and the HBO team offer not just scope and experience, not just 'prestige,' but a passionate collaboration. I could go on, but — I’m impatiently grateful to say — I have work to do."
Whedon built his reputation as a genre powerhouse and his massive fanbase with television, beginning with the launch of the Buffy series in 1997. That led to the Buffy spinoff Angel, the short-lived but beloved sci-fi series Firefly, and Dollhouse. After that, Whedon moved into feature film work with Serenity, The Cabin in the Woods, and of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At Marvel, Whedon wrote and directed the first two Avengers films, establishing the team as a blockbuster ensemble, then helped shepherd the universe forward, which included a transition to the small screen with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
After that came a brief stint in the DC Extended Universe, which included fill-in writing and directing duties on last year's Justice League, and a Batgirl film that he signed on for and ultimately left after realizing he "didn't really have a story."
Now, Whedon's headed back to the small screen in a big way, and for the first time in his career he's creating a series beyond the bounds of network television, where he can work with both longform storytelling and fewer content restrictions. It'll be interesting to see what a creator like Whedon does with the blank canvas that is an HBO genre show.
The Nevers does not yet have a premiere date or an episode count, but Whedon will be at San Diego Comic-Con next week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. You can bet The Nevers will come up.