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Hercules Says
NEVERLAND Is Another Syfy Miniseries Best Never Seen!!

I am – Hercules!!

A miniseries examining the secret origins of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and The Lost Boys, “Neverland” comes to us from writer-director Nick Willing and two producers named Robert Halmi (Sr. & Jr.), all of whom gave us Syfy’s quite underwhelming earlier miniseries “Tin Man” (2007) and “Alice” (2009).

It stars Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel, Charles Dance, a youngster named Charlie Rowe and, weirdly, Bob Hoskins, who reprises his role from Steven Spielberg’s least accomplished directorial effort, 1991’s “Hook.”

If you’ve seen “Tin Man” and “Alice,” you know what to expect: boring characters, undercooked visual effects and curious behavior.

HitFix says:

... It is, unsurprisingly, not the least bit fun. ...

The New York Times says:

... a thudding, literal-minded bore ...

The Los Angeles Times says:

... cleverly conceived, at times visually lovely, but criminally long ...

The Chicago Tribune says:

... Instead of soaring, the prequel to the beloved story of Peter Pan lands with a thud. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

 If you yearn for the days of high-quality, big-budget, fantasy miniseries, skip Syfy's "Neverland." … Everything in "Neverland" is a quest as characters run from one large set piece to another without much character development except in minor strokes that are predictable and rudimentary. … 

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

… anything with the Halmi name attached to it pretty much becomes the show that modern special-effects technology forgot. ... Oh, well, it makes for a mildly enjoyable story and it's probably best not to overthink things. …

USA Today says:

… The overly blended result may be as much Dickens, Tolkien and J.K. Rowling as it is J.M. Barrie, but it's still an appealing one. …

Entertainment Weekly says:

… Rowe struggles to register, Ifans appears half asleep, Keira Knightley is wasted as the voice of Tinkerbell, and the special effects vary from serviceable to laughable. Instead of soaring, Neverland barely hovers. …

TV Guide says:

… adds clever new twists to the origin story of Peter Pan and Captain Hook while remaining unpretentiously faithful to the adventurous spirit of the original. …

Variety says:

... To say it is less dreadful than recent similarly themed co-productions unleashed under the Halmis' shingle is accurate, but also qualifies as damnation with faint sprinkles of fairy dust. …

9 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Syfy.

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Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 4, 2011, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Thought this might be good

    by tangcameo

    Didn't look like another Tin Man. Looked BBC-ish.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 6:47 a.m. CST

    that trailer

    by peterclay65

    makes it look quite good. are they hoping to make this a regular series?? I think I will try this out to see what I think of it. agree with "tangcameo" it does look like it was produced by the bbc...and rhys evans and bob hoskins are always good in pretty much anything

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 6:53 a.m. CST

    Remember when a Halmi production used to be a good sign?

    by mascan42

    Back in the 80s and 90s, the Halmis used to put out quite a few decent TV movies and miniseries. Then they got into made-for-cable movies and their production values went to shit.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 7:58 a.m. CST

    I was looking forward to this

    by Rommel Catuncan

    Too bad it's getting a lot of bad reviews. I'll still check it out because I like seeing variations on the Peter Pan story even if they don't work out so well. There are other versions coming out too- 'Pan' with Sean Bean and Aaron Eckhart, plus the worrying Channing Tatum origin movie.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Rhys Ifans as Hook

    by Zorak5

    That alone at least makes me want to check this out.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Well what the Hell did you expect?!!

    by Arcangel2020

    Well Hercules, I could have told you this was a complete and total waste of time....the two words...SyFy...AND...Miniseries...should have been a warning as to what was in store. Rarelyhas the Sci-Fi....er, uhhhh, I mean SyFy Channel ever gotten a Miniseries right, one that was not only enjoyable, but actually watchable....I think the last one that was worthwhile was both of the "Dune" miniseries the network aired back in 2005/2006. The SyFy Channel continues to be the "home" of just pure unadulturated shit....the people or person in charge of this Network treats it and the fans with complete and utter lack of respect! With the exception of a few gems when it comes to TV series (Battlestar Galactica and Euryka)....this so-called "Network" should be renamed "The Garbage Network". A crack & meth addicted Lab Monkey can do a better job of programming and approving quality Science Fiction shows and specials than the A-hole who is doing it now.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:31 a.m. CST

    LOL

    by gk1

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Seriously Scfy channel is a joke these days

    by Extr3m1st

    What happened? I loved Taken and The Lost Room. BSG's mini series was fantastic. Everything else has been shit.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Series wise to be fair

    by Extr3m1st

    I do really like Warehouse 13 and Haven and Eureka. I guess Sanctuary is decent but I have only watched the first 2 episodes. I also like Being Human.

  • it could still happen. That really frightens me. Will Syfy demand they put in CGI wooly mammoths that terminators ride? Does Syfy demand suckage or does suckage just find its way there? Does Syfy have a hand in the making of these fucking things? All these miniseries look the same. It's really scary.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:53 a.m. CST

    'The Lost Room' and 'The Triangle' were great.

    by SmokingRobot

    I guess they are they exception to the rule.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:57 a.m. CST

    SyFy

    by dukeroberts

    I preferred SyFy when they were Sci Fi and showed reruns of old shows like the original versions of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and Star Trek. They lost me a long time ago.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    Prequels generally suck

    by dukeroberts

    And in this case, if it ain't Barrie, it's crap.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Bob Hoskins

    by rakesh patel

    whatever happened to that guy? did super mario bros kil him? He made some great movies back in the day.. and some not so great. Isn't he due for a comback?

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 10:03 a.m. CST

    'The Lost Room' was great

    by DynamixRo

    'The Triangle'...not so much.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 11:19 a.m. CST

    What is going on with all the fairy tale shows all of a sudden?

    by smackfu

    You know every fall you can get a pretty good idea of what happened the previous spring. Where some guy shopped around a script for a show he was pitching, and a whole bunch of network execs rejected it, and then each phoned up their colleges and said 'hey, I just got a great idea for a new show' and then cranked out some soulless project based on the original idea for half the cost. I'd be really interested in seeing the original Fairy Tale idea that got pitched and passed on this year. The real shame is, it probably would have been great. But this is what TV land is right now in the post-Heroes, post-Lost landscape. Execs trying to guess what the trend is, and then mass producing a generic product that fits the trend. Next year the schedule is probably going to be full of shows about autistic kids from Alcatraz who cook meth in a post apocalyptic zombiescape.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 11:53 a.m. CST

    How is SyFy still on the air?

    by Badger23

    It must lose money hand over fist. Or maybe their production budgets are so low that they always make a profit?

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST

    How?

    by sundancekeed

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 1:21 p.m. CST

    How?

    by sundancekeed

    Wrestling. It makes more money for them than all of their other "shows" combined.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 2:04 p.m. CST

    smackfu

    by Bloo

    I'd guess it all goes back to ABC announcing it was doing Fables so everyone started jumping aboard

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 2:06 p.m. CST

    OH and I'm surpirsed

    by Bloo

    Herc didn't mention the original tomboy beanpole Keria Knightly is the voice of Tink

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 2:30 p.m. CST

    How fucking dare you

    by Dharma4

    Hook was amazing. Seriously, it was adventurous and fun.

  • Bad form, Herc!

  • That just blows my geek mind.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 2:39 p.m. CST

    badger23, SyFy does NOT fund every SyFy Channel movie

    by D.Vader

    That's how they stay in business. They pick up a lot of movies and tout them as SyFy originals. I think.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 3:41 p.m. CST

    "What is going on with all the fairy tale shows all of a sudden"?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    It's a combination of Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland making a billion dollars worldwide and the success of the Twilight series with their (dumbed-down) werewolves and vampires.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 4:45 p.m. CST

    Isn't that Pocahontas chick in this?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 4:50 p.m. CST

    And Caprica was left to die...

    by pmarq

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 8:09 p.m. CST

    five minutes in, its already awful.

    by jimmy

    Take the Peter Pan story,base it in the future. Free idea Hollywood. You're welcome

  • Yeah, I don't either. That time was before wrestling dominated the SyFy network or whatever the fuck its called now and the weekly movie with a giant snake or croc or fish wasn't a fucking staple that the network embraced but nothing but filler for late nights when no one watched. Yeah, that was the good old days when minis like Dune and Children of Dune or Taken played or Star Trek TOS was on or they showed BBC scifi series like Ultraviolet or Invasion Earth. And then we got a couple of little gems called Farscape and Battlestar Galactica. I don't know where that network went but I want it back.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:13 p.m. CST

    This was, alas, meh -- and Herc weren't far off on Hook

    by Bibliographer

    I turned off Neverland pretty quickly. As for Hook, it had its moments and its charms, but was not one of Spielberg's best. Of course, Spielberg's worst films (1941, Lost World, Always) are still worth watching -- and better than lots of others' best. But Hook is close to the bottom, IMHO. What can you say about SyFy? At least there's one more season of Eureka...

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 9:30 p.m. CST

    by Jerusalem

    So.... Herc hates it? Shit, that definitely makes me want to watch it. We all know the only things Herc loves are Joss' shows, and Joss'.... well. YOU know.

  • And it still kinda sucked, from what I can remember of it.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 10:02 p.m. CST

    If only SyFy pooled their money...

    by Linguo_IS_Dead

    ...and put out a few good movies a year rather then these purposely low grade, cheesy B-movies and series/miniseries.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 10:06 p.m. CST

    SyFy should just stick to "reality-based" programming.

    by Linguo_IS_Dead

    "Face-Off" was pretty cool, and even though shows like "Ghost Hunters" and "Fact or Faked" are silly, they are at the very least watchable programming. Their original shows and movies however, just EMBARRASSING for all involved.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 10:42 p.m. CST

    Man...

    by Jeff

    There's so many fantastic (low-budget) shows and miniseries that Syfy could be producing that would actually attract viewers. As a science fiction fan, it makes me sad to see the dumbed-down stupidity Syfy has degenerated into. What a joke the channel has become. I used to watch "Battlestar Galactica" religiously, but even the marginally entertaining "Eureka" can't bring me back to watch anymore. The channel's producers have made a decision, probably due to constraints from above, to embrace silliness and joe-six pack entertainment like wrestling. Thus I haven't watched in years. Until I see signs of something... worthy, I'll keep watching FX and AMC and Netflix. Not that Syfy's producers give a shit about a discerning opinion like mine, however. They're looking for rah-rah wrestling fans and B-movie afficionados. This is bad, incredibly short-sighted decision, in my opinion. No one who likes science fiction watches this channel anymore, thus they should once again change its name to "B Movie Fiction." Because what the hell does "Syfy" mean, anyway? Nothing good, that's for sure.

  • Dec. 4, 2011, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Rhys Ifans? Damn, I thought it was Paul McGann...

    by lynxpro

    That's what I thought when I saw the teaser trailer last month and got my hopes up. Paul McGann needs an agent in the States to get him some work on this side of the Atlantic... As for "Taken", that was the most boring long winded miniseries I've ever watched. There wasn't even a payoff at the end. That was probably the worst thing Spielberg allowed his name to appear on.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 1:38 a.m. CST

    re "Spielberg's worst films (1941,"

    by Hercules

    (Herc spits out his sherry) "Hook" better than "1941"?? slowly I turn ...

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 1:41 a.m. CST

    "Lost Room" was indeed wonderful

    by Hercules

    but it aired on SciFi, not Syfy.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 2:38 a.m. CST

    SyFy is paving the way for a resurgence of MST3K

    by JonRD463

    With all the crap they're churning out, just wait. I think the one that really drove the point home for me was this awful flick about an archeologist who finds Noah's Ark and unleashes an ancient evil. Not only is it formulaic as fuck, it's a veritable cornucopia of the shittiest acting ever put to celluloid.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 3:20 a.m. CST

    re: Hook

    by LostBoyGoonie

    You can argue about the technical aspects of Spielberg's direction all you want, but, like it or not, Herc, you cannot argue the fact that Hook has its devoted fans. The nostalgia factor is high on that one... particularly for those of us who were 80's and 90's kids. The nostalgia variable raises plenty of sub-par films to greatness over time. Hell, I even disliked it when I first saw it in theaters, but upon multiple viewings, it totally won me over and I recite lines with the best of 'em. And, yes, when I saw that Hoskins was playing Smee in this (and even physically resembled his original role)... mai hed asplode.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 4:13 a.m. CST

    It's their best trailer by far

    by FrodoFraggins

    Tin Man had some good actors but I skipped it.

  • I'm not talking about a certain channel that came and got canceled itself, that only aired canceled series. I'm talking about something that puts all its money into funding a return of a canceled tv series and becoming legend. Then resurrecting another and another. You know all the actors from all canceled series need work. Even if they went and became super famous in movies, they are likely not getting that same kind of work these days. And in a time when the golden age of serial storytelling on television has never been better.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Re: slowly I turn

    by Bibliographer

    For me, 1941 was a bigger letdown, because the director raised the stakes and squandered more potential. Hook, OTOH, was a conceptual misfire, squandering its nostalgia from the get-go, for this 40's kid. It's unfortunate that some of the greats have occasional problems with wretched excess -- giant ape on ice! cliffhanging trailer! somersaulting brontosaurus! -- when more restraint would have left the film better. But then, they so often take risks that pay off sublimely.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 10:18 a.m. CST

    SyFy! ugh. A joke. The Asylum Studios for television!

    by ZodNotGod

    I remember when I used to pay $5 extra bucks a month just so I could see reruns of The Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, BSG, Twilight Zone, Buck Rogers, Outer limits.... I remember being home sick one weekend, from late friday to Sunday...watching nothing but Sci-fi as it showed reruns I loved and movies I hadn't seen... unheard for a any cable channel to have that much to offer. Usually on the weekends, television is a deadzone, at least nowadays it is...I want THAT Sci-fi back! I've heard the network is headed by a woman who claims to hate "the space stuff."

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 10:19 a.m. CST

    ...

    by ZodNotGod

    that's why we don't see reruns of the older stuff any more, BSG, Space 1999, UFO, Outer Limits, Trek, Lost in Space...SMDM, BM...

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Peter Pan (2003) is the version you need to watch!

    by ZodNotGod

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Re: zodnotgod

    by Jeff

    The head of Syfy hates "the space stuff," eh? Wow. That's just... sad. What the fuck is she doing running the channel, then? Shouldn't she be running Oxygen or something? Because someone who hates "the space stuff" is the exact wrong person to be running such a channel. Sounds like the upstairs bean counters with zero interest or foresight won out. I'm sure it was a business decision. Honestly, one of the first things I would do if I was in charge of SciFi (fuck the name "Syfy") is start a "make your own movie, long or short" series. There are so many fantastic unknowns with great imaginations that could contribute low-budget stories... it could be SciFi's version of a reality show. People could vote, even, and the winner receives a budget to make their next movie, which would premiere on SciFi, but could eventually be shown elsewhere. But of course, some of that "space stuff" might be in there. Nix that idea, then. More wrestling. More braindead B movies.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 11:58 a.m. CST

    I liked Tin Man.

    by Breotan

    :(

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Scifi (or ScyFy or whatever)

    by kidicarus

    should just show reruns of MST3K, X-Files, Twin Peaks, other cool scifi-ish shows, at least a few hours a day. That alone would make me actually watch that godforsaken channel. And why don't they show some of their old stuff, like Farscape?

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Tin Man had some fun ideas but it was like they didn't get past

    by sweeneydave

    sketching the story outline on a cocktail napkin.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Peter Pan (2003) is amazing as the definetive version of that tale.

    by sweeneydave

    I still tear up when I watch it.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 3:25 p.m. CST

    A Brit named Dave Howe has been President of Syfy Since January 2008...

    by FilmCritic3000

  • Prior to that he spent 15 years at the BBC in creative marketing/on-air design. His predecessor, Bonnie Hammer, has failed upward and is now Chairman, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Cable Studios. The Sci-Fi Channel's downward slope into entropy as SCI FI and now Syfy can all be traced back to her. She was named Senior VP of Programming, Sci-Fi Channel, in 1998, and implemented the channel's morphology into SCI FI in March 1999. This was back when Barry Diller-owned USA Networks owned the channel. Bonnie Hammer became SCI FI President in April 2001. And those previous posters are right in their recollection - she hates the science fiction genre, and has even made mention of it in several interviews (some of which were whitewashed; I read a NY Times profile on her a few years back that was originally published with her citing her dislike of the genre only to see that section completely deleted later. Oh, and she cancelled "Mystery Science Theater 3000". But to put a finer point on it, her hiring was the beginning of the end of the channel's dedication to the science fiction genre. The corporate execs can use marketing speak and buzz words until they're blue in the face but facts are facts - they want the channel to be a quirkier version of sister channel USA Network. To share some elements of genre fare but not be defined by it. The channel used to bleed its love for sci-fi ad nauseum; it even had a sci-fi film/TV/book news show. Now it airs "WWE Smackdown!" and considers it a perfect fit, calling it "fantasy entertainment". The mind boggles... Syfy 'nee The Sci-Fi Channel will turn 20 years old on September 24th. Think we'll see anything on air to commemorate/celebrate this milestone? I'd love to think so. But most likely we'll be subjected to an umpteenth airing of "Sharktopus" or any one of their countless other Grade Z original movies. The Sci-Fi Channel's slogan was "Ever Wonder?" That incarnation of the channel did inspire wonder fueled only by the limits of imagination. It had great, legendary sci-fi authors like Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury and pioneers of the genre like Gene? Roddenberry on its advisory board. Syfy's current slogan is "Imagine Greater" and for those of us who saw what once was, what this channel once stood for, and once loved and embraced, it's supremely hard to imagine anything of greatness from a channel that now does anything it can to pervert, water down, and distance itself from its former iconic status as purveyor of all things science fiction.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 3:33 p.m. CST

    RE:filmcritic3000

    by kidicarus

    Wow, that's an interesting read. With the current direction, it makes you kind of wonder why they even bother sticking with the SciFi name at all.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 4:20 p.m. CST

    @EVERYONE

    by Cenanin

    I WOULD GLADLY SIT THROUGH EVERY PIECE OF GARBAGE SYFY SPEWS OUT IF THEY WOULD BRING BACK SG-1 SGA OR FARSCAPE, NOT REBOOTS. I WOULD NOT ONLY SIT THROUGH THEIR GARBAGE, I WOULD ENJOY IT AND TELL EVERYONE MINISERIES - X AND GIANT ALLIGATOR VS GIANT SNAKE SHOULD WIN ACADEMY AWARDS.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 5:47 p.m. CST

    Thanks filmcritic...

    by Billyeveryteen

    For defining my sorrow more eloquently than I ever could.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Thanks kidicarus and billeveryteen....

    by FilmCritic3000

    Yeah, the halcyon days of that channel have been long gone for some time now. Now it only seems to be relegated to "nothing else good is on, I'll turn on Syfy as background noise" status. I really don't see why an enterprising company can't start an actual science fiction channel. I've long admired Canada's SPACE channel. http://www.spacecast.com But ever getting an actual channel along those genre-dedicated is, unfortunately, a mere fever dream at best.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 7:23 p.m. CST

    Alice (2009) was actually pretty good

    by LordSoth

    My wife absolutely loved it.

  • Dec. 5, 2011, 8:50 p.m. CST

    So Hook isn't Darth Vader...

    by Zorak5

    now he's Snape? In love with Peter's mother and resentful of his father, and now Peter's supposed to look exactly like his father?

  • Dec. 6, 2011, 12:12 a.m. CST

    Let's be honest...

    by SaintDharma32

    At least Syfy is trying to do something. The sad part? The Science Channel is more like Sci Fi USED to be than SyFy. It's my opinion that SyFy runs on nerd tears. That is all.

  • Dec. 6, 2011, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Typical

    by B Arnold Quizzling

    Reading Filmcritic's post made me look more into Bonnie Hammer. Naturally she's smoking hot which can only explain why a self admitted science fiction genre hating exec would be in charge of a science fiction television network. Must be nice to work your way up while constantly going down.