got Your SiX
threat Of EXtinction
3 X 1
With superheroes dominating TV and film right now, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for any one show to stand out. Throughout its 13 episodes The Gifted has glimmers of promise; bursts of action and nicely implemented twists keep the series exciting but it’s ultimately the over-saturated field The Gifted plays in that prevents it from really standing out. There’s a few oddly sliced plot ideas nestled in the series too that unnaturally change the direction The Gifted travels in. This gives the show a directionless feel to it at times which is a shame given how strongly the show starts out. Regardless of its issues, this is a series that well and truly captures the spirit of the X-Men universe.
The story begins with the Strucker family finding their world turned upside down when Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Kate (Amy Acker) discover their children Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) have special abilities. Anti-mutant group Sentinel Services catches wind of an incident involving the children at school and what ensues is a cat and mouse game between the authorities and the Strucker family as they try to evade capture in the excellent pilot episode. These first 45 minutes are really well crafted and exciting with just enough nods toward the X-Men to really make it feel like The Gifted exists in that universe. The hostile, uneasy feel in the air between mutants (or “muteys” as they’re referred to here) and humans is realistically depicted, resulting in bursts of hate and fear, as you’d expect in this tense world. As the series progresses, Kate is used as the human point of reference as the family take refuge at a hideout for mutants, called Mutant HQ. Its here they learn about the atrocities that have befallen different mutants at the hands of humans.
The rest of the episodes fall into a more routine cable TV schedule. Each episode brings a new problem for the group to solve whilst the threat of Sentinel Services hangs over them all. Toward the latter half of the series this storyline changes to include a more sinister group that experiment on mutants in a storyline ripped straight from X-Men 2. A few episodes later we see this merge with a more prophetic storyline involving a few characters that hold the key to ultimate power. It all feels a little messy and disjointed at times, especially when you compare the first few episodes to the last few. Whilst it’s good that a show progresses and moves the story forward, The Gifted almost feels like a completely different show to the one it begun as which is a real shame. The Gifted isn’t helped by the mid-season break either which kills any momentum it built up until that point. The flame that ignites so brightly at the start of the season slowly fizzles out before the final climactic finale that sets everything up nicely for a second season and hopefully a return to form for the show.
The dialogue and acting are a bit of a mixed bag too. There are some good performances here although they’re juxtaposed by some equally wooden ones too. The Strucker family are certainly a likeable bunch of characters but Reed’s constant furrowed brows and Kate’s naivety to the entire mutant situation never really change as the season progresses. There’s also the question mark around the season’s length and the inner turmoil of the children being ripped from their stable, high school life isn’t really explored in any great detail. The show almost feels overlong at 13 episodes and with a bit of ruthless editing and a more focused narrative, The Gifted could easily be one of the best superhero shows out there.
The clichéd apocalyptic story line The Gifted embraces midway through the show’s episodes mixed with the questionable acting make The Gifted a tough one to really get behind. There are certainly moments of brilliance here; Sentinel Service’s lead investigator Jace (Coby Bell) is one of the best characters in the show and his development is arguably the best out of everyone. A few well-timed plot twists help too and the pilot episode is arguably one of the best from any superhero show in recent memory. Still, The Gifted is an enjoyable superhero show with a lot of action and superhero showdowns that rival that of their DC brethren. At its heart, The Gifted truly feels like it belongs in the X universe and despite the obvious flaws with the show, it does make for some good entertainment.