Television Review: The Gifted, Series 1

The Gifted

Synopsis: In a world where mutated humans are treated with distrust and fear, an institute for mutants battles to achieve peaceful co-existence with humanity. Their fight is joined by a suburban couple whose ordinary lives are rocked by the discovery that their teenage children possess mutant powers.

Show: The Gifted, Series 1

Company: 20th Century Fox Television

Date: 2017



Despite not having seen the X-Men or any of their related shows, I was intrigued by The Gifted. Luckily, not having prior knowledge of this world didn’t hinder the viewing; everything you need to know is explained as you go along. As characters discover their powers, the viewer learns more about the world along with them.

One reason I was interested was for the powers themselves: I wanted to see the range of abilities they would show and how they would do it. While that was impressive, it was also, unfortunately, the only reason why I kept watching.

I couldn’t engage with this show. The characters are complex: the main characters are two teenagers thrust into this world, so new powers on top of teenage angst means they have many different sides to them. Clarissa can teleport while John can not only track, but is incredibly strong and bullet-proof. The possibilities should have been endless.

Instead, I couldn’t connect with any of them. The pacing felt slow and it was only in specific fight scenes where I felt any sort of tension, despite the threats and danger the characters were under for the entire show. The lack of tension made the dialogue feel flat, even in scenes that were supposed to be moving.

There were some twists along the way. While knowing one character wasn’t what she seemed, there was no way of telling quite what she was capable of. But considering she provides a new threat and ups the stakes, her character made me feel nothing. There was too much emphasis on the fact she is an identical triplet, with numerous camera shots focusing on them pulling the same expressions one after the other.

I did like some of the characters. Marcos/Eclipse won the spot for favourite character. You see his inner conflict, and understand the destruction the mutants could cause if they wanted to. Marcos has a dark past but will do anything to ensure the future is better for his child.

Andy and Lauren were likeable enough to start with. Andy’s sudden change in personality, while understandable considering what he had been through, makes all of his development up until that point suddenly mean nothing. Lauren claims she can’t get something out of her head, but the viewer never sees her truly react to something quite traumatising.

Lorna was strong, but argumentative, which made it harder to empathise with her. The Struker adults seemed to spend most of the time claiming whose side they were on. Clarissa seemed to go from one extreme to the other in regards to whether she wanted to join the resistance or not.

Agent Trucker should have been the bad guy. But you empathise with his character and understand his motives. When given the chance to make a difference, he steps up. But by the following episode, has reverted back as if nothing happened. A complete lack of development for a complex character.

A show with potential that, for me, fell flat.



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