REVIEW: The Gifted The Complete First Season
You have to give Fox credit for attempting to bring the spectacle of the X-Men to the small screen and finding a way to maintain the themes without duplicating the film series. The Gifted arrived in an abbreviated season last year and in its own quiet way, makes its mark. It lack the glossy of DC’s CW shows and special effects budget of a feature film, but maintained a bleak atmosphere with just enough connections to the film universe to be satisfying.
Thanks to the multiple alternative futures created by X-Men Days of Future Past, the producers neatly fit this into one such reality, one where the X-Men have left Earth, but not before an event equivalent to 9/11 leaving mutants remain hated and hunted.
Enter the Struckers, oddly related to Baron Von Strucker, who is more closely associated with Hydra than mutants. Reed (Stephen Moyer) and Caitlin (Amy Acker) are loving parents of Lauren (Natalie Alyn) and Andy (Percy Hynes), teens who have begun manifesting mutant abilities. Rather than surrender their children to Sentinel Services, a government agency formed in the wake of the “event”, the family goes on the run. Their journey brings them into contact with the mutant underground, filled with interesting and familiar mutants.The focus on the core family then expanding this to the mutant family is a clever conceit and keeps the show fresh. The parents are dealing with the children and the others in need while the teens are struggling to master their abilities and figure out where their loyalties lie.
Meantime, the mutant underground has their own issues with Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont); daughter of Magneto (never quite spelled out) arriving to stir things up and here the melodrama feels like a convoluted Chris Claremont story arc. Late in the run, the Stepford Cuckoos (Skyler Samuels) are revealed, complicating things nicely.
We are given glimpses of all sides of the struggle, from the Sentinel Services people who lost loved ones during the struggle to mutants being turned against mutants and fractious splits among pockets of the underground. There may be a little too much running instead of talking or even thinking, but the pacing is even and the stories build slowly.
The second season began this week and the thirteen episodes from season one are now available on a three-disc DVD from 20th Century Home Entertainment. The show transfers just fine, but it’s interesting they don’t get Blu-ray treatment and there’s a curious lack of extras, even deleted scenes.