KAISER: Baltimore and I decided to join up to bring you The Gifted Season 1 review. While I wanted to jump in and do the review to heap praises on the show, Baltimore is our resident X-Men superfan so alas, you’ve got this super team up bringing you the skinny on the story of the Strucker’s. Join us as we talk about the family on the run from the law after they discover their kids are mutants.
BALTIMORE: It is true. I am a huge X-Men fan, and I was really excited that we were getting a live action series from Fox. However, I was skeptical about how successful it would be. After all, for every good X-Men film, there was another one that tanked. But I had high hopes that television would be a really great medium for the X-Men.
KAISER: While nowhere near the X-Men fan that you are, I do enjoy them. I agree though, given the weekly, ongoing nature of a TV show, that it is a great medium for the X-Men who tend to have story arcs that span multiple issues (well, like a lot comic books).
BALTIMORE: Exactly. Budget concerns notwithstanding, television allows for a more serialized storytelling that is a big strength of the X-Men. And this is where I think The Gifted succeeds the most. They are allowed to tell a story with all the elements you need for a good X-Men story. Feared and Hated? Check. Interesting and varied characters? Check. Story that pits mutants against humans? Check. All in all I was really happy with The Gifted.
KAISER: Agreed again. I had a great time with the show and felt it checked off a lot of what it needed to for it to be a hit. One of the biggest check boxes it ticked, for me, was finding clever and new ways to use the groups collective powers to get out of situations. Nothing pulls me out of a ‘powers’ based show/movie/comic/etc faster than thinking “Why didn’t they just…?” *insert use of their power*.
BALTIMORE: I know exactly what you mean! But they told a really good story and gave us some classic X-Men elements that we might never have seen in the cinematic universe.
Now, one of the things I love about the comics is the lesser known characters, and because the main X-Men are tied up in the movies, The Gifted has brought us underrated, but fan-favorite characters in an exciting way. We are gifted (ahem) with Polaris daughter of Magneto, Thunderbird – first X-Man to die (in the comics), Sage – cyberpath who was long affiliated with the Hellfire Club, the Stepford Cuckoos – telepathic hive mind, teleporting Blink, and a new twist on Fenris with the two lead siblings.
KAISER: See, this is exactly why I wanted to write this review with you! They touch on a little bit of this in the show, but you really know the low-down on all these characters that are completely new to me.
BALTIMORE: For the most part, casting was spot on. The only ones who I feel are not doing justice are Percy Hynes White, who plays Andy Strucker and Jamie Chung who is Blink. The other actors are interesting and bringing their characters to life in exciting ways.
KAISER: The only character that I found myself having any issue with, and it was really no fault of his own or with his performance, was Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker. Sometimes when someone is known for a very specific character it is difficult not seeing that other character in everything they do. In this case, I kept half-expecting him to randomly throw in a “Sookie” as he so often said in that southern draw on True Blood.
BALTIMORE: Yeah, you’re right about Bill the Vampire 😉 One of the things I love, is geeking out as I figure out who each of the other mutant characters are in each episode, and the producers sure do pull some obscure ones out like Dreamer, Shatter, Fade and Trader. Two more characters pulled from the panels are Evangeline the lawyer who can transform into a dragon, and Pulse who can switch off powers. His inclusion is important as he is part of the Hound Program that forces mutants to hunt other mutants.
The first season is a good start and I think the producers did a good job by crafting the show as a sort of “X-Men on the run” because it allows a type of storytelling that is most successful for the X-Men. I thought the emotional twisting that the characters go through very compelling and it makes me want season two to hurry up and get here.
KAISER: I’m X-cited to see where they take the show in the next season. With so many characters and potential locations the show could really evolve into something special. A good start to what could be an amazing series. I do fear that they stick too close to the rhythms of the first season and just keep retreading it for the second. But it is not a great fear given the terrific season finale that shakes up the core of the group and forces them to a new direction. Also, I really hope they keep up the “X” puns for the episode titles up come next season expected to air in fall 2018!