04th Oct2017

‘The Gifted 1×01: eXposed’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Stephen Moyer, Amy Acker, Sean Teale, Jamie Chung, Coby Bell, Emma Dumont, Blair Redford, Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White | Executive Producer Matt Nix

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It should come as no surprise that Fox are fully utilising the X-Men world to dip into television. Marvel have been using other characters in their universe well, it makes sense for Fox to use the ones they have access to. After creating something as good as Legion though, can The Gifted make its own mark in the mutant world?

When Reed Strucker (Stephen Moyer) finds that his two children are mutants, he makes a quick escape. A lawyer used to work in a system that looks to incarcerate mutants, he knows he must protect them and Kate (Amy Acker), his wife. Looking for help from the Mutant Liberation Front, it is not long before the Sentinel Services are hunting them.

The first thing to say about The Gifted is that it is a different beast from Legion. Where Legion was a more personal story, this feels like it has a larger scope. Andy (Percy Hynes White) and Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) are two strong mutants, and it will be interesting to see if three is a reason for this. This is especially the case for Andy, which will of course make them public enemy number one if he is something special.

One thing that I did find a little weak about The Gifted is that it didn’t really flesh out the characters before rushing into action. It isn’t a surprise really, because in the first episode it has to grab the audience and keep them hooked. It is obvious that The Gifted is more about showing off mutant powers, than really getting to the more human side. Though this may change as the show progresses.

Right now, while the mutants themselves are interesting, Reed and Kate feel a little one-dimensional. I hope that both Amy Acker and Stephen Moyer get a chance to flesh these characters out as their performances are good in this first episode. They do well with what they have, it just feels like we need to know them a little more. Right now we know that they are the lawyer conflicted by his job and family roles, and the caring mother doing everything she can to protect their children from the dangers they find themselves in.

While eXposed may be a little rushed, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of promise in the show, far from it. We’ve got a nice collection of mutants with new powers, it has been teased that the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants aren’t there to help. We also know that the “big bad” comes in the form of the Sentinel Services, and any X-Men fan knows their reference there. Fittingly they have some interesting tech to battle those with powers. It anything, this first episode introduces us to a lot, and did well to fit it all in and not lose the audience in all the detail

Where Legion was more about a metaphysical world which is very stylised, The Gifted has more of a real-world setting. With hints of the mutants being treated like terrorists which gives the government the ability to not be restricted by law in catching them it also hints at the lack of humanity shown to them. This is an ongoing theme in the world of the X-Men, so fans will feel at home with The Gifted, which is a good thing.

This first episode is a very good start to The Gifted. It has dragged the audience into a world of mutants that do feel like they are part of the X-Men world, which is of course important. Now hopefully it will flesh out some of the secondary characters so we can get to know them better. Showing off the shiny new mutant powers is good, but now we have to be able to build up empathy for the people the show follows.

While The Gifted may not be as good as Legion, it is paving a different path for X-Men fans. Feeling like a more mainstream show, it is an easier introduction into the world of the mutants on television.

****½  4.5/5

The Gifted is shown in the UK on Fox TV on Sundays at 9pm.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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