Review of Fox Television’s The Gifted
2017 was quite an interesting year for science fiction shows and movies. There were some good, some bad and some really interesting concepts. One that was really underrated and kind of flew under the radar was Fox Television’s limited, thirteen-episode series The Gifted. The show is set in the post X-men Universe. While it was not made abundantly clear, it does appear that the movie takes place in the time after last year’s X-men Wolverine movie. Logan, which opened to some strong reviews and did very well at the box office with a domestic total of $226 million tells the tale of an aging Wolverine and an elderly Professor X. From some dialogue in the movie we learn that Charles Xavier himself may have been responsible for the demise of the team we all know as the X-men. In the Gifted, although we are not one hundred percent sure what happened, the disappearance of the team is touched on several times. The show is centered around the Strucker family. The patriarch of the family is Reed Strucker. He is an attorney general who prosecutes “outlaw” mutants until he learns a secret about his own family. He and his wife Caitlin, a nurse, are horrified to discover that their very own children have mutant abilities. The children, Lauren and Andy are at a school dance one night and Andy, the younger brother, is attacked by bullies. He gets angry and scared and his abilities previously unbeknownst to him manifest in the destruction of the school as it is literally torn apart by his abilities. His sister projects a force field to protect him. Neither parent knew until that night that their children had mutant abilities. This causes them to go on the run as they are pursued by the anti-mutant government agency Sentinel Services. They feel, as do a plurality of the general public, that mutants are dangerous and different and not good for society. This is where the series is so successful. It is not just a boiler plate action/adventure show but also an allegorical look at some of the issues facing our society today. Immigration, xenophobia, safety, security and societal integration are all touched on in The Gifted. They do not hit you over the head with social messaging, yet the writers and producers of the show are adept at making the viewer draw parallels with real life. Where those that are different than us are not to be trusted because they could be dangerous. Beyond the subtle social critique, it is simply a fun show to watch with the different mutants that have a wide range of powers from Thunderbird with his superhuman strength and ability to track humans and mutants to Dreamer who can psionically alter and manipulate the memory of someone that breathes in her “Dream Smoke”. There is also the character Polaris who can manipulate metals and magnetism who helps the other mutant leaders to lead their brethren to the “underground” and eventually what they hope will be a safe haven for mutant kind. There is no shortage of action, so with a strong and smart scrip, enigmatic cast and loads of action, the Gifted has given sci-fi/action fans another strong show to consider viewing if they can’t get their fill of the genre.