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ASK MATTHEW

On matters of misogyny, can you trust a male TV critic’s opinion?

The list of series I’ve loved that involve these themes is long. But ‘The Nevers’ is not one of them.

Laura Donnelly (left) and Anne Skelly in HBO's "The Nevers."
Laura Donnelly (left) and Anne Skelly in HBO's "The Nevers."Keith Bernstein/HBO

Q. Re: “The Nevers.” I’m planning to watch it. When I realized a man provided this review, I was subsequently assured that I would find this series enjoyable.

ADVICE NOT TAKEN

A. One of the buried questions in your email is whether a man should review a show that takes on issues regarding women and misogyny. “The Nevers” is a new HBO series about a faction of people in 1890s London who, due to a mysterious supernatural event one day, find themselves with various superpowers and physical alterations. Known as the “Touched,” they are primarily, but not exclusively, women, and the folks trying to eliminate them (and doing horrifying experiments on them) are primarily white men.

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My Globe review of the show was mixed-to-negative, for many reasons. I feel that creator Joss Whedon — a man, by the way, who was accused of abusive and sexist behavior on previous sets, and who left the series after the first six episodes — relies too heavily on action sequences and hammy acting. I also feel that the show “succumbs quickly to the obviousness of its central metaphor,” which may be the idea that has stuck with you.

But please note that I wasn’t saying the central metaphor — the Touched representing women whose power is threatening to men — is a bad one. “The Handmaid’s Tale” also includes similar themes, and I admire that series, even as it stretches beyond its freshness date. “Mad Men,” too, was a show that took on sexism forcefully throughout its run. The list of series I’ve loved that involve these themes is long.

But that’s not the point. Readers sometimes confuse the topic of a show with the way it has been made. The idea of “The Nevers” is promising; it’s the enactment of the idea that turns me off. It’s flat and tinny. But, you know, critics are inevitably subjective, I often recommend that readers look at a number of reviews when it comes to shows that matter to them. That seems applicable here.

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MATTHEW GILBERT


Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.