The Nevers' protagonists Amalia True and Penance Adair are an immediately appealing pair, not unlike a superhero duo you'd enthusiastically root for on the big screen. The former kicks all kinds of backside -- in proper Victorian-era attire, no less -- while the latter supports her with an arsenal of cool gadgets. Both are also "Touched," so Amalia can see glimpses of the future and Penance can visualize electrical currents for optimum gadget-making. Toss in strong performances from both actresses, and the two could easily carry their own caper-of-the-week, crime-fighting series.
But The Nevers is far more ambitious than that, for better and worse. Its main plot sees Amalia and Penance protecting others like them, who've been mysteriously gifted -- or cursed -- by strange, sometimes powerful abilities. This core conceit, however, spawns multiple subplots, plenty of engaging side characters, and more villains than you can twirl a mustache at. There's also a potent cocktail of steampunk, sci-fi, and fantasy elements, all blended into an absorbing time period and setting that could host any number of Sherlock Holmes or Jack the Ripper stories. It's undoubtedly a lot, and its frequent dark twists -- from serial killers to sex clubs -- can feel tonally off. But anchored by Amalia and Penance's rollicking adventures, as well as a number of narrative threads you can't help but tug at, The Nevers rises above its shortcomings to deliver a pulpy genre romp you'll eagerly tune into each week.