by Julian Spivey
I’ve never been a big superhero fan. I can count the number of superhero movies and television shows I’ve ever seen on one hand. A few years ago, I decided to give Fox’s “Gotham” a shot after seeing good reviews of it and I started to enjoy it because it worked on two levels: superhero and cop show. The cop how aspect of it worked for me, along with its talented cast. The superhero moments at times have made me roll my eyes. I’m sure I’m in a large minority here. I decided this fall to give another Fox superhero series “The Gifted” a chance. My decision was mostly because of how much I enjoyed Amy Acker’s performance on the highly underrated CBS series “Person of Interest.” I also enjoyed Stephen Moyer this past spring in Fox’s limited series “Shots Fired.”
I feel about “The Gifted” much the same way I do about “Gotham.” It works on two levels and the superhero one at times bothers me. I prefer realism in much of the fiction I watch and a mutant gene giving those that have it an individual quality that makes them different is somewhat laughable to me. I didn’t realize until I started watching the premiere of this series that it was in the ‘X-Men’ universe and while that won’t keep me from watching (I entered “Gotham” obviously knowing it was in the Batman universe) it does bother me somewhat. I was kind of hoping that “The Gifted” would be an original in its own universe, but that simply doesn’t seem to be something that happens in the superhero genre. They’re all based on previous comic book universes.
Throughout the first three episodes I can say that the main reason why I began watching this show – Amy Acker – has been somewhat disappointing because 1) she’s being underused as the worried mother of two children with the mutant gene who are being hunted like animals (that will hopefully change) 2) she’s too good for this show.
Back to the second level of “The Gifted” that works for me and will keep me going for at least the time being. It’s “us vs. them” storyline of the mutants being sought after and persecuted by the non-mutants is very relevant in our current world. I’m not sure I would’ve cared as much had the show premiered a few years ago, but in Donald Trump’s America it really does hit home. The mutants obviously work as a stand-in for any group of people being persecuted in this world. But, don’t worry too much if you don’t want politics in your TV shows because you can also easily take this simply as “mutants vs. non-mutants.” You shouldn’t. But, you can.
The show also works well on a family trying to stay together against all odds level. The mutant gene is something that can rip families apart and when Moyer and Acker’s parents find that their teenage children Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White) have this gene it makes them realize that life can change in an instant and family is the most important thing.
I feel like most people who like superhero type shows and especially the ‘X-Men’ universe will find “The Gifted” to meet their expectations and needs. But, if you’re like me and you don’t really care about that kind of stuff there is still something worth viewing in this series and Fox and the showrunners of “The Gifted” have done a fine job in crafting a series that works on multiple levels.
“The Gifted” airs on Fox on Mondays at 8 p.m. The first three episodes can be seen on Fox OnDemand and Hulu.