Joss Whedon is about to make a spectacular return to TV.

The Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator, and The Avengers director, has an “epic” new sci-fi series that was just greenlit by HBO.

Titled The Nevers, the series is described as “an epic science fiction drama about a gang of Victorian women who find themselves with unusual abilities, relentless enemies, and a mission that might change the world.”

Says Whedon, who will serve as showrunner: “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. Not only are they the masters of cinematic long-form, 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.”

HBO won the series in a bidding war with rival Netflix, sources say. It gave the project a direct-to-series order, a relative rarity for the network

HBO programming president Casey Bloys adds: “We have long been fans of the incredibly talented and prolific Joss Whedon and we can’t think of a better project than The Nevers with which to welcome him to the HBO family. We look forward to meeting the strange, multifaceted characters of The Nevers, to learn their stories, see them in action and share them with our viewers. We’re honored that Joss chose HBO as the place to build his ambitious new world and we are excited to get started.”