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The Gifted: Season One (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Action packed with interesting characters who have a variety of X-Men abilities that have only been tapped a bit for the plot of the pilot. Looking forward to following this one as long as it runs.
 

Sean Bryan

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I thought it was pretty good, and I'm looking forward to more.
 

Walter Kittel

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I missed the premiere and will have to wait for it on demand or maybe a repeat on FX.

I wonder how it compares to this summer's series Legion? Any thoughts by anyone who has viewed both shows? Thanks.

- Walter.
 

Hanson

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There is nothing in the pilot of The Gifted that I haven't seen before. In fact, its reliance on tropes is so strong that every single element makes zero sense. Police randomly firing into a warehouse/office as glass shatters everywhere? Check. Carrie-esque destruction in a high school after being bullied? Check. Escape scene where someone gets left behind? Check. The escapes are underwhelming -- quick get run to the garage and get in the car! Go out the back door! Go out the side door! Whatevs. The portal escape was cool, but man, did they belabor the escape. Kid, jump through the portal already.

This feels like a bunch of other shows put in a blender. It's nice to see former Bunheads popping up, and Emma Dumont looks great as Polaris. And Amy Acker is always a welcome presence. Probably the only reasons I'll watch a couple more to see if they get better. It's just the pilot after all.

I watched season one of Legion even though I mostly didn't like it, but The Gifted is as conventional as Legion was unconventional.
 

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I missed the premiere and will have to wait for it on demand or maybe a repeat on FX.

I wonder how it compares to this summer's series Legion? Any thoughts by anyone who has viewed both shows? Thanks.

- Walter.

Well, in my opinion Legion was the best show of 2017 (beating even The Leftovers, Twin Peaks, and The Handmaid's Tale--though it's maybe too close to call with The Leftovers...).

The Gifted was a good by-the-numbers drama mixed with a slightly better than by-the-numbers super hero show. There were no surprises, and Brian Singer/Brad Nix took exactly zero risks, but at the same time there were no missteps or problems. It was good; not prestige level, but good.
 

spshultz

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I think Josh summed up my feelings best. Legion was the best show of 2017 and the one I am most looking forward too but The Gifted was certainly good as well and one that I'll stay with for the long haul. I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it and was ready for it to be a huge misfire.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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I wonder how it compares to this summer's series Legion? Any thoughts by anyone who has viewed both shows? Thanks.
I'll join the chorus; "Legion" very unconventional, "The Gifted" very conventional. But that's okay, because they're aspiring to two different things: "Legion" is a prestige cable drama centered around a mental illness allegory, while "The Gifted" is a broadcast action-adventure show centered around an allegory about undocumented people. They both do what they set out to do well.

The thing you get with Bryan Singer directing the pilot is that it feels like it could be the same world as the X-Men movies, albeit a decade or so later, in a different timeline than "Logan". In particular, it felt a bit like the original X-Men from 2000, particularly the parts before Logan made it to the X Mansion. The look and feel is the real world, but slightly darker, slightly more dystopian. The world constantly looks as if it had just rained a couple hours ago.

I'm not generally a fan of Stephen Moyer's work when he has to use an American accent; in the past, it flattened out his performances a bit and make his characters feel a bit cardboard-y. But I thought he was really good here. The scene where he's trying to negotiate a plea deal with Polaris was good. It showed that he is a decent and honorable man who treats mutants as people, even if the criminal justice system he's working within is expressly designed to oppress mutants. It makes the shift to fugitive less jarring, and explains why Polaris would be willing to work with him once they spring her from the detention facility.

Speaking of Polaris, Emma Dumont is really great in that role. As far as I know, this is the first live action version of Lorna Dane we've gotten. The green shimmer when she uses her powers is a nice nod to her comics background. I wonder if this version of the character can fly. Hopefully they'll also deal with her mental health issues.

One thing I really appreciated is that Lauren and Andy don't have an antagonistic relationship. She's a good big sister, and puts him first at a couple key junctures.

I also thought it was great that Lauren's had her powers for years and kept it under wraps. Not every mutant is going to have a traumatic "coming out", and given her father's occupation she was justified in keeping things under wraps. Percy Hynes White kind of gives off that "future school shooter" vibe, but it works for the character. He's very powerful, and very unstable, and that makes him dangerous. He's basically a walking talking time bomb. Seeing whether he'll be able to straighten out his issues will almost certainly be one of the key tensions of this story.

Blair Redford has the hair for Thunderbird. One thing that I wish the pilot had made more clear is that his superhuman tracking abilities come from the cumulative sensory input from his superhuman senses. The show made it seem like he had some sort of superhuman flashback ability, more like Caliban.

Always nice to see Jamie Chung pop up in something. How far she's come from "The Real World". I'm surprised they kept the green eyes, since it presumably means wearing irritating contacts for the length of the series. Making her essentially a living breathing portal gun instead of a straight-up teleporter was a smart choice; it creates more opportunities for things to go wrong.

Amy Acker didn't have much to do besides just being a befuddled mother and supportive wife. Presumably they having big plans for her character, though, or she wouldn't have signed up.
 

DaveF

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I missed the premiere and will have to wait for it on demand or maybe a repeat on FX.

I wonder how it compares to this summer's series Legion? Any thoughts by anyone who has viewed both shows? Thanks.

- Walter.
The Gifted premiere is fun and exciting.

Legion premiere is arguably the single best premiere I’ve ever seen on TV.
 

DaveF

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Blair Redford has the hair for Thunderbird. One thing that I wish the pilot had made more clear is that his superhuman tracking abilities come from the cumulative sensory input from his superhuman senses. The show made it seem like he had some sort of superhuman flashback ability, more like Caliban.
I don’t know anything about this comic, the characters, or backstory. And I thought the explain-by-context of his powers was leading me to understanding it as you describe. :)

Best little moment: cellphone ringtone is ‘90s cartoon X-Men theme.
 
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DaveF

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There is nothing in the pilot of The Gifted that I haven't seen before. In fact, its reliance on tropes is so strong that every single element makes zero sense. Police randomly firing into a warehouse/office as glass shatters everywhere? Check. Carrie-esque destruction in a high school after being bullied? Check. Escape scene where someone gets left behind? Check. The escapes are underwhelming -- quick get run to the garage and get in the car! Go out the back door! Go out the side door! Whatevs. The portal escape was cool, but man, did they belabor the escape. Kid, jump through the portal already.

This feels like a bunch of other shows put in a blender. It's nice to see former Bunheads popping up, and Emma Dumont looks great as Polaris. And Amy Acker is always a welcome presence. Probably the only reasons I'll watch a couple more to see if they get better. It's just the pilot after all.

I watched season one of Legion even though I mostly didn't like it, but The Gifted is as conventional as Legion was unconventional.
Last year I read the sci-fi trilogy "Red Rising". It was simultaneously completely derivative of all the most popular young-adult books from the past 10+ years while being completely fresh and taking the themes in new directions. I loved it.

I don't know that The Gifted will be as novel as Red Rising, but I'm enjoying its mixture of tropes and new characters and stories. As Adam said, it seems to pick up and go in the alternate direction that gives us Logan, where the Mutants are hunted, where the Sentinels shown in X-Men Back to the Future are made an operational agency.

And as for the "Carrie" scene. Yes, but. It works. And rather than being the climax, it's the narrative hook. It's a direct emotional beat that sets the entire series in motion. It was for me emotionally satisfying and shows that things work the way I expect them to work.

But yeah I can see why this might not work for you.
 

Matt Hough

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Enjoyed the episode, but I found it odd that more mutants weren't trying to use their powers whenever the breaches would open up to protect the group. It would have given them a nice opportunity to show off some cool special effects.

Felt bad for Polaris. I will look forward to those bullies eventually being dealt with.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The second episode was another smart episode, and a little less conventional than the pilot. Since this one was directed by feature director Len Wiseman, I still don't know that we've seen yet what a "normal" episode of "The Gifted" looks like.

I loved the cold open, flashing back to a year prior to the events of the pilot. The whole Strucker family is at the bowling alley, enjoying one of those small moments of family happiness. Andy gets a strike and gloats a little about it. When Lauren rolls her ball, all of the pins go down except for one pin. But she's had her powers for a while now, and just when her brother is about to give her shit for it, she subtly uses her molecule shifting ability to give that holdout pin a little nudge that turns her roll into a strike. A few lanes down, a girl probably a couple years younger than Lauren, is struggling with powers that have suddenly started to go on the fritz. All around the bowling alley, the normal humans are making fun of this child. Her father, furious and indignant, start shouting back at all of them. But even though the girl's powers likely only emerged recently, she understands the power dynamics at play here and tries to quiet her father down. She already knows how this is going to end, and putting up and shutting up is the least bad option. Reed stands up to diffuse the situation, and the camera catches Lauren's smile as her father seems poised to do the right thing. Well, he defuses the situation, but he doesn't do the right thing -- and the camera catches Lauren's small moment of disappointment. She knows how lucky she is to have such good control, and see get another glimpse of why she's kept her secret even from her family for so long.

The cold open is contrasted with the scene near the end of the episode where Caitlin has successfully used the medicine that she and Eclipse stole from the hospital to stabilize Blink and stop her portal attacks. She remembers what Eclipse had told her in the car about his own parents, and she shows Lauren that they're going to do the right thing this time. No more running for Mexico, no more looking the other way. In this episode we begin to see why Acker was cast.

Great scene in the jail where Polaris is washing her hair and the normal color dye comes out leaving mostly her natural green. Also cool to see that she still has quite a bit of her powers before the collar kicks in.

Interesting world building, too. In this iteration of the X-Men universe, mutants have been common knowledge go back at least to the early sixties. Is the July 15th incident the same incident as the Westchester Incident from Logan?

It's nice that they did an episode early on to show that mutant powers ARE dangerous, even when surrounded by friends. It makes things murkier in a good way. They're persecuted because they're dangerous. They don't deserve to be systematically persecuted, but they ARE dangerous.
 

Matt Hough

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Good action and good revelations about what the mutants are facing from the authorities. Yes, I can't blame them for reacting angrily to be hunted like animals when they've done nothing wrong. The son is obviously going to become one of the more militant members of the group, and it's completely understandable.
 

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It is interesting. What I also find interesting is how many members of "Burn Notice" or people who appeared on that show are now apearing in this one. Just a strange coincidence, I'm sure, but it is interesting.

That said, I'm enjoying it. It is pretty paint by the numbers, but it is enjoyable enough.
 

Matt Hough

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Matt Nix was the creator and executive producer of Burn Notice and also created/produces this show, so it's no coincidence.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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The most important development in last night's episode is that Reed made the decision to side with the mutants himself, even at a potentially devastating cost to his own family. I figured they were moving toward a storyline where he rejoins his family as a spy for the Sentinel Services, only for the truth to come out at an inopportune moment, or for his hand to be forced into siding with the mutants. Having him already on their side prior to the rescue attempt is far more refreshing. I'm psyched to hear what he and Polaris have to say to each other when they're transported together in the next episode.

Speaking of Polaris, Emma Dumont is really great in that role. As far as I know, this is the first live action version of Lorna Dane we've gotten. The green shimmer when she uses her powers is a nice nod to her comics background. I wonder if this version of the character can fly.
And last night's episode answered my question: Yes!

Good action and good revelations about what the mutants are facing from the authorities. Yes, I can't blame them for reacting angrily to be hunted like animals when they've done nothing wrong. The son is obviously going to become one of the more militant members of the group, and it's completely understandable.
Yes, if most of the rest of them are proto-X-Men, he's definitely proto-Brotherhood.

The dynamic in this version of the X-Men universe seems similar to the antebellum South: The planter class was on top, but they were always terrified that the far more numerous slave class would rise up in revolt and overthrow them. So the plantation owners used excessively cruel and harsh tactics to keep their human property in line.

In this world, the humans without the X-gene are on top, but they're always terrified that the far more powerful mutants will rise up in revolt and overthrow them. So the human criminal justice system utilizes excessively cruel and harsh tactics to keep the mutants in line.

In both cases, the strategy is not tenable over the long term; oppression inevitably sows the seeds of its own destruction.

Matt Nix was the creator and executive producer of Burn Notice and also created/produces this show, so it's no coincidence.
I always enjoyed "Burn Notice", but dropped the show after I got frustrated with how it continually reset back to the status quo. So far, I've been pleasantly surprised with how serialized this is; right out of the gate, it's telling one larger story that continues week to week, without really too heavily on self-contained episodic plots to pad out the runtime.

After the pilot and second episode were directed by feature filmmakers (Bryan Singer and Len Wiseman, respectively) the third episode was helmed by television director Scott Peters. He directed eight episodes of "The 4400", which is the closest show I can think of to this one -- although the science fiction on that show was a bit more ambitious, and the production values here are far more ambitious.
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Good action; good adventure. I was thoroughly invested in the story and characters tonight. I'm liking this show more and more.
I feel the same way. I'm actually enjoying it more than the DC shows at the moment. I particularly loved the scenes between Reed Strucker and Polaris, and seeing the way her opinion of him started to shift over the course of the episode -- especially when he suggested ripping the screw out of his knee to allow them to escape.

It was also neat seeing the Strucker siblings use their powers in concert, with Lauren being the magnifying glass to focus Andy's ray of sunshine.

I'm probably the only crossover fan between this and "Vampire Diaries", but it was interesting to see Matt Donovan break bad as the mutant freedom fighter turned Sentinel Services stooge. I'm sure that tattoo had something to do with it.
 

Matt Hough

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More exciting action and good backstory for Coby Bell's character to help us understand his mania against mutants. That made the ending of the episode especially poignant.
 

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