10:53am PT by Daniel Fienberg
Take Me to the Pilots '17: Fox's 'The Gifted'
[I'll remind you at the top of every single one of these: These entries are not reviews. They're gut reactions to not-for-air pilots that could change in big and small ways between now and September or October or midseason. Full reviews will come then. They'll be longer. And more carefully considered. The opinions may even change. Who knows?]
Show: The Gifted (FOX)
The Pitch: "Kinda like The X-Men, only with only one or two characters who anybody will recognize, but with lots of people with powers!" "So more like Heroes?" "Kinda! But we're Marvel!"
Quick Response: For best results, watch immediately after watching the pilot for ABC's Inhumans, because one is inept and the other is, well, entirely "ept." Context is king, and The Gifted is a solid and effective pilot that may look better than it is when compared to Inhumans or just to the great mass of fall broadcast pilots. Director Bryan Singer orchestrates a couple reasonably tense set pieces and there are some solid superpower effects on display. It's not overly effects-heavy, but this definitely feels like a pilot subsequent directors would have trouble reproducing, though it's interesting that Len Wiseman is directing the second episode. The core family is the more compelling side of the pilot once you accept that Amy Acker is, as usual, slightly underused and Stephen Moyer is, once again, trying an American accent that probably should have written out with a line of dialogue as complicated as, "I left the United Kingdom for THIS?" or "Bob's your uncle, as my British mom used to say." As the wee mutants learning their powers, Natalie Alyn Lind and Percy Hynes White have believable sibling chemistry and there's some cleverness to how the show hints at and explains their powers. I probably could have done without Matt Nix's script going full "It gets better" on the mutant metaphor, but I get it. Steer into the metaphor, baby! (Don't get me wrong. Be a metaphor. PLEASE. But literally saying "It gets better" is on-the-nose.) The more established mutants who are part of the Mutant Underground are less exciting. Emma Dumont, who I generally think of as my third or fourth favorite Bunhead, is really good as Polaris, but there's a lot of woodenness around her. The Gifted does feel a lot like Heroes, but it's better than any version of Heroes after the first season (but not as good as the Heroes pilot).
Desire to Watch Again: Reasonably strong. The Gifted doesn't give any sense of what the show's weekly episodic structure might look like, but it ends with a reasonably good and reasonably organic — I'm judging you, NBC's The Brave — cliffhanger that already has me looking forward to seeing a second episode.
Take Me to the Pilots '17: ABC's 'Ten Days in the Valley'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: CBS' 'S.W.A.T.'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: Fox's 'LA to Vegas'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: CBS' 'SEAL Team'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: The CW's 'Dynasty'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: ABC's 'The Good Doctor'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: CBS' 'Wisdom of the Crowd'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: The CW's 'Valor'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: ABC's 'The Mayor'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: Fox's 'Ghosted'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: NBC's 'The Brave'
Take Me to the Pilots '17: CBS' 'Young Sheldon'
All of My 2016 Take Me to the Pilots Entries