The Gifted Plot Summary:
Set in the X-Men Universe, The Steckers (Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker) discover their children Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind), and Andy (Percy Hynes White) are mutants. The four must go on the run to escape the Sentinel Services whose mission is arrest, and most likely eliminate mutants. They must seek the help of the mutant underground system to reach freedom.
I had little hope for, or little interest in The Gifted before last night.
The trailers made the series look like every other sci-fi/action series FOX has produced for the last decade plus — the warm film stock, chase scenes through a sprawling empty building, questionable effects sequences, and the good guys always have a base that’s a gorgeous, historic structure.
After watching the series premiere last night, I can assuredly say two things — the trailers did this series a major injustice, and The Gifted is probably one of the best series this network, or any broadcast network has done since Hannibal went off the air in 2015.
What makes this series work so well is that the viewer becomes emotionally invested in the characters from the jump.
The Steckers are relatively normal family who are thrown into an extraordinary situation — their seemingly normal kids are actually mutants, and they’re being hunted by the government. The script has them react like any other real parent — frightened, distraught, and most importantly — fiercely protective. How can you not relate to that?
The pace of the episode doesn’t allow for maudlin bemoaning, and the script doesn’t turn the parents into sinless heroes, or driveling fools. They’re bewildered, and desperate, and they will not allow anything to happen to their kids. The performances by Moyer and Acker really drive this home — they humanize these easily two dimensional characters. They imbue such genuine affection, and emotion that you can’t not feel for them.
The writing of their children absolutely must be commended. By making them both mutants, they’ve already woven a dynamic we haven’t seen before. Think back to X2 and how Iceman’s brother turned him in, or how we never got to see Cyclops and Havok have a real moment in X-Men: Apocalypse. It was fairly obvious that Andy was going to be revealed as a mutant, but it was a real twist when Lauren was also outed. And the fact she’s dealt with this secret, and can mentor her brother is just an intriguing concept. It’s new, it’s fresh, and the young actors do a marveling job rising above the whining, combative sibling trope, and making their relationship a wonder to watch.
Let’s forget there are other mutants here — Eclipse (Sean Teale – SyFy’s Incorporated), Blink (Jamie Chung – Man with the Iron Fists, Suckerpunch), Polaris (Emma Dumont – Aquarius, Bunheads), and Thunderbird (David Blair Redford – Switched at Birth). All four of these mutants get to showcase their abilities, but only Teale really gets room to show his personality, and that’s perfectly fine for a premiere.
What I love about this series is that the X-Men Universe is so wide, and that this story can be told without having to have the actual X-Men in it. Yes, there was a nice wink and nod with that requisite cameo, and someone’s ringtone being the animated series’ theme. However, we all know mutants in the X-Men universe as numerous, so this show does not need to have Wolverine, or Magneto, or Professor X in it to make it work…nor does it need anyone from Legion either. Gotham has to have the usual suspect to work, this doesn’t, and it’s really better off for it, especially in the beginning.
In closing, The Gifted is off to an awesome start, and I cannot recommend anyone who hasn’t seen the premiere to check it out immediately. It’s terrifically acted, written, and produced. It’s better than anything you’re seeing on the networks right now, so put this on the must-see list now.
Rating: 9 out of 10