Title: The Gifted: “eXposed” Review
Air Date: October 2nd, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Thriller, Adventure
The newest addition to the X-Men universe, The Gifted, aired its pilot tonight on FOX. As I watched the first episode of the series, I was excited to see mutants like Polaris, Blink, and Eclipse show up. These characters are lesser known compared to those of Wolverine, Cyclops, or Storm, so it was interesting to see the beginnings of their development in the story that Matt Nix and Bryan Singer have created.
Bryan Singer is the frontman for the X-Men in the film industry, having directed the original X-Men back in 2000, X-Men 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocolypse, and now, the pilot of The Gifted, “eXposed”. Matt Nix was the creator of the popular television series, Burn Notice. With such big names attached to directing and writing The Gifted, I was excited to see the outcome when the first episode aired. My excitement was met with a rather jumbled piece of television that tries too hard to push its plot and characters forward, without taking time to examine the intricacies of exposition and development.
Let me start with a brief overview of the first episode. After almost collapsing a building on a bunch of high school students in the midst of a dance, Andy Strucker discovers he has mutant abilities. Viewers see that his sister, Lauren, also possesses a power. As word gets out that it was Andy, a mutant, who was responsible for the building, the parents–Reed and Kate Strucker–are forced to take their gifted children and go on the run from an anti-mutant government agency known as the Sentinal Services. This sets off a chain reaction of events, which results in the Strucker family–minus one–remaining under the care of an organization that protects mutants known as the Mutant Underground.
With so much happening in the first episode, it’s hard for the viewer to find themselves connecting with any of the characters. That and the fact that there are a lot of different players coming onto the board in the first ten minutes. I liked that we were introduced to the mutants right away, and how the rest of the world viewed them. I couldn’t help but to feel rushed, though, as I continued watching the episode.
I understand the need to spark the viewers’ interest right away, as that’s the aim of any pilot. But I felt “eXposed” took that responsibility a little too seriously. There was little room left for development in the plot and in the characters, as the story propelled forward without slowing down. Although rushed, the characters and story are now in a place where the real development can begin. I just thought that the initial conflict of getting them there could have been done a little more delicately–especially with the progression of Andy Strucker’s powers.
The young mutant, Andy, had just discovered that he had powers. He had little to no control over them, destroying a vending machine in an instant. By the end of the episode, he somehow channels his power to destroy the little Sentinal bots before they closed in on the mutants. This aspect is what I mean when I say the show is rushing into things. Being a mutant who has just discovered his powers, I feel like Andy wouldn’t be able to control them so easily after only a few days of knowing.
The acting was spotty at times, but, being the series premiere, I’ll give it a break. That has a lot to do with the writing, anyways, and I think that is an aspect that definitely needs improving as the series progresses. For example, there were parts when Lauren and Andy would get into arguments, suggesting that they fight a lot, but I felt these little conflicts out of place. The special effects were nice enough, and the sound editing pleasant to the ears. So those departments all check out and can be looked at later on in the season only if a real issue pops up. Also, the cameo by Stan Lee was unexpectedly smooth.
I did enjoy how the Sentinal Services were incorporated into the story. The government agency pays homage to the Sentinals developed by Dr. Boliver Trask in X-Men: Days of Future Past, created to deter the growth of the mutant population in the world. They’re clearly the antagonists (at this point in the story) so I’m trying to figure out how they came to be, considering mutants still live peacefully in accordance with the recent films (like Deadpool). My best guess is that The Gifted is set in its own universe.
It’s still open to debate as to which timeline The Gifted resides in. There is no evidence to suggest that it takes place in the new timeline set up by DoFP or the old one before the latter film. This is why I think the series may be in its own little X-Men universe, much like Legion. I don’t mind that, as it allows the show to grow properly without being constrained by how events should take place according to the universe in which the films take place. The showrunners just need to slow that growth down a little bit.
Verdict: With a lot going on in the series premiere of The Gifted, the episode ended up feeling rushed for the sake of progressing the story and characters to a place where the real story could begin. Although understandable for a pilot, I thought the process could’ve been done more delicately. That being the case, the introduction to the various mutants like Polaris and villain organization known as The Sentinal Services provided an essential backdrop on how people in that particular universe view the unique individuals. The pilot is definitely worth checking out, as it has the potential to become much better in the future.
A suburban couple's lives are rocked by the discovery that their children possess mutant powers, forcing the family to go on the run from a hostile government and seek help from an underground network of mutants.
- Possibly based in a new X-Men universe, which has potential
- The usage of lesser-known mutants
- Too rushed in regards to character and plot development
- Andy's control over his powers comes too quickly
- Writing felt out of place at times
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