For me, out of all the new TV endeavors Marvel has annouced as of late, The Gifted always intrigued me the most. In large part to me being a mega X-Men fan and in large part due to the immense potential the source material could have as a serialized affair. I mean the ’90s animated X-Men series still stands as some of my favorite and best moments in my entire TV viewing history. Now, The Gifted isn’t a direct X-Men show (although they do get mentioned fairly often), instead focusing on an offshoot (X-Men-light if you will) called The Mutant Underground that still sports some fairly well known names like Sunspot, Thunderbird, Blink, and Polaris to name a few. Some of them even making cinematic appearances. Much like the X-Men they find themselves squaring off against the US government and the xenophobic Sentinel program, albeit with far less resources and more of a purely survival and refugee situation than training and learning. And like any good X-Men story the real conflict is between the two opposing ideologies within the mutant camp itself.
Season 1 starts out excruciatingly slow and dull (thanks to it’s focus on the largely less interesting Strucker family) but things pick up significantly about halfway through as a vital new character(s) is introduced along with an old rival group of the X-Men. Driving the inner conflict within the Underground to the breaking point and giving them a true frenemy to go up against as the sentinel side of things doesn’t really go anywhere interesting. The action is fairly well shot with great effects on all the mutants powers although they under-utilize a lot of cool opportunities. The story is secondary to the character dynamics and at times the show struggles with this. Some of the dialogue can be cringey and character actions and decisions overblown to the point that they become caricatures. They do hit all the X-Men tropes and and themes present in the comics but at times things were overly serious and dire and could use some levity to break things up.
If they can build off of these great moments, add more levity, and ease off the caricatures then it can really grow into something special, a la Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season 1 of The Gifted was a seriously flawed first season that still showed a lot of flashes of promise, especially in the back third when a true conflict I could care about got introduced and major character decisions took things to a whole new level. If they can build off of these great moments, add more levity, and ease off the caricatures then it can truly grow into something special, a la Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
One of the best things about the show is the deep, obscure references it makes into the deep X-Men lore. I had to look up the Von Strucker twins to familiarize myself with their abilities and while powerful they still don’t make the kids any more interesting. Let’s be honest, them having to hold hands is a bit ‘corny.’
Campbell was set up as the show’s big bad but he was more of a poor man’s William Stryker.
What ever happened to the mini-Sentinels? After witnessing them early on and setting them up as serious threats we never really see or hear them mentioned again.
Jace Turner (the main Sentinel Services agent) could be a real dark horse in Season 2. He’s had the raw end of the deal this season and it finally looks like he’s reached his breaking point, with both the government and the mutants.
Introducing the Stepford Cuckoos was the best thing to happen in Season 1 as it finally gave the show the jolt and escalation it desperately needed. Not to mention introducing the Hellfire Club, who will be major threats to both the government and Underground’s missions.
Polaris and Andy’s change of allegiance was telegraphed a mile away but should lead to some compelling character dynamics (will they confirm that Magneto is her father?).
In the comic books Sage was a spy place into the Hellfire Club by Charles Xavier. Could she be playing that role here on the show as well? And will they really show how badass she can be?
They also touched on the Purifiers, I wonder if they’ll take a more prominent role in seasons to come.
Do we think Campbell is really dead? It felt like a cheap exit and you know what they say about not actually seeing a character death on screen. I’m betting no.
R.I.P Dreamer. They did a terrible job of utilizing your powers anyways.
As expected there were countless easter eggs throughout the season, which ones did you find and which ones were your favorites?
Have you seen Season 1 of The Gifted? What’d you think about it? Did it deliver everything you wanted out of an X-Men associated TV show? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
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