A fresh look at an old franchise, with family values in focus.
It seems like both Marvel and DC have been doing so many spin off TV shows recently. And many of them are set withing the same universe as famous characters like Batman or the X-Men and yet… don’t contain any of those well known characters. Maybe this seems like a rip off, but I find the concept to be very interesting, and refreshing after so many movies and reboots and whatnot. What about the lesser-known characters, the minor characters, or brand new characters set in these universes. What kind of lives do they lead?
That’s the sort of show that Marvel’s The Gifted is. Well it does contain a few established mutant characters, such as Polaris and Blink, it is centered around a seemingly normal suburban family with two teenage children, who —spoiler alert— just so happen to have mutant abilities. Set in a world where the X-Men have disappeared and most humans are totally hostile towards mutants, The Gifted follows the story of this family, the Struckers, as their lives are torn apart by the discovery of their children’s powers.
For the most part, the show is very well written, and features a large cast of diverse and interesting characters. While there are quite a few major characters to keep track of, I found them all to be distinct and well written, and didn’t mix any of them up or forget who they were. There weren’t any extraneous characters; everyone was there for a reason. If there is any problem I have with the characters and writing, it’s that in the first episode or so, some of the dialogue felt poorly written and some of the acting wasn’t that great. But the writers and actors quickly warmed up to their parts, and by the end of the show I didn’t have a complaint to make about the acting or dialogue.
The Gifted has a tightly knit plot, and most of the writing is very good. While the show sometimes goes off to follow various characters or character groups, we always come back to the story of the Struckers, and none of the subplots or extra storylines seemed to drag. Everything was woven very tightly together, and well contained within the season. While the ending leaves me wanting very much to know what happens next, it wrapped up this first chapter of the story nicely, which is more than I can say for many cliffhanger endings. Once again, I do have a few very minor complaints about the writing; sometimes I found the internal conflict between various characters to be kind of annoying and not well written. It was almost as if the writers were like, “Well, it’s coming up on another big moment! We need to have internal conflict between our main characters,” and then they picked a couple of characters at random and made up a conflict about whatever Big Decision or Big Event was happening. I understand having conflicts between your main characters to make things interesting, but it just became so formulaic by the end that I found it annoying. It felt like lazy writing, as quite a few of these inter-character conflicts didn’t seem to stem from the plot at all, and were just put in for drama. I’ve noticed this formula with other shows as well, and I just don’t like it.
The show is very well produced; well shot and fairly well edited, and I personally find the sound design to be very immersive. The music is good, although some tracks are reused in multiple episodes, as with most TV shows, and I don’t really think that’s an issue. An issue I do have is that some of the editing, mostly near the ends of episodes or scenes, can be a bit choppy. The visual effects aren’t as stellar as those you’d see onscreen at a big Marvel movie, but they serve their purpose and there wasn’t any glaringly bad CGI that I remember noticing.
One of the things I like best about this show is that it puts a strong emphasis on family and family values. Even though the Strucker family faces a lot of difficult situations, and often disagree between themselves about what to do, a focus is put on their relationship as a family. Family is portrayed as a good thing, a healthy thing, which is just so refreshing.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable show which, to my surprise and delight, was kept at a mostly PG level throughout. There were one or two off-color comments, and some foul language, but definitely less than in some shows I’ve seen (or Marvel movies, for that matter). I really enjoyed The Gifted, and I will definitely be looking forward to the next season.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
“Could have been a bit better, could have been worse, but honestly it was pretty awesome.”
Thank you so, so much for reading my review of Marvel’s The Gifted! Have you watched the show yourself? Did you enjoy it? What do you think about spin off shows that focus on original or lesser-known characters? Let’s chat in the comments!
See you again soon.