Runaways, The Gifted and everything else

Lots of mutant things have been going on, lately, and though you might think I was otherwise engaged I have been following and I really need to take my mind off things, so why don’t we talk about it? ‘Cause seriously it has been both amazing and awful. So, let’s start with the awful. 1. […]

Lots of mutant things have been going on, lately, and though you might think I was otherwise engaged I have been following and I really need to take my mind off things, so why don’t we talk about it? ‘Cause seriously it has been both amazing and awful. So, let’s start with the awful.

1. Inhumans

If you profess to love me you should know how much I’m fond of the lunar branch of mutants. I’ve led a little rebellion, here in Italy, when they decided Silent War wasn’t “relevant to the continuum” and decided not to publish it. I’ve always considered them to be one of the gemstones of the Marvel Universe, maybe because they were secluded and apartheidists and they offered lots of angles to be played and because Black Bolt is damn sexy. You have to appreciate a leader who knows when to shut up, especially in our times, am I right? Right.
All things considered, you can imagine how thrilled I was when I learned they were shooting a tv series on the Inhumans. A tv series. Oh boy. I wasn’t expecting that. It’s not like they are so popular. So ok, the series was going to be written by Scott “Iron Fist” Buck, and Medusa was going to be Serinda Swan (the pointless Aphrodite of pointless Percy Jackson 2) and yes, Black Bolt seemed sexy like a bedside table but a gal can’t be too peckish, right? Well, turns out she should. Because this series is one of the worst things I have seen in a while and trust me, I have seen bad things recently. It’s immature and low quality, dull, with a rape metaphor thrown in just for good measure and a whole “it’s my fault” / “we have to forgive him” charade which would weigh like a ton if it wasn’t for the silliness of everything else around it. It’s bad. Epic bad. The ladies are like struggling to see who’s the worst actress, between the royal duo Medusa-Crystal, Ellen Woglom who is like a shallow version of Arrowverse’s Felicity, and Sonya Balmores whose character is so cliche you can’t believe she’s serious about it. The guys aren’t any better: Anson Mount, sexy as a bedside table as I mentioned before, can’t possibly pull off the all-time-silent king but we can try to forgive him because honestly it’s damn difficult to play a character that can’t speak. But what’s Iwan Rheon‘s excuse? His Maximus speaks a lot, like all the time, and his lines, though being poorly written, are even worstly delivered. And I would rather not talk about Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) or Karkak (Ken Leung) because writers laid such a waste on those characters I haven’t seen anything like it since Grant Morrison tried to handle Ororo Munroe. Please. I want to go to sleep and wake up to find out that this has only been a nightmare.

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2. The Gifted

After something so bad, I owed you something good but I was afraid that your system wouldn’t sustain the blow, so I’m going through something mediocre. Because The Gifted isn’t bad. It’s kind of a nice new thing, though it’s something we’ve seen over and over again: in a future where mutants are starting to appear, a sentinel protocol is enhanced to contain them and a district attorney faithful to that program finds out that his own kids are mutants.
It’s nice to see on the small screen some of the characters I loved most from the eXiles days: Blair Redford plays John “Thunderbird” Proudstar; Jamie Chung is a nice Clarice “Blink” Ferguson; Haley Lovitt is an atypical Sage and Emma Dumont leads as a rather convincing young Lorna “Polaris” Dane.
Now, the plot isn’t Shakespeare, but characters are decently developed and it tries not to slip too much into teen drama, which was pretty much all I was asking for at this point. No character is written off as stupid with the excuse of being young. And this also seems to be an achievement, these days.

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3. Runaways

When the comics came out, I didn’t read them. I had already too much on my hands and was already full of stories but my friends, who were looking for something new away from the classic X-men, found these kids to be a breath of fresh air. Now that I find myself in a similar situation, with all the Marvel Universe gone to shit, I have to say that I can relate.
So, what does Runaway has that’s good? Well, it has an unprecedented, almost funny, variety of characters. And don’t get me wrong: this fun is both good and bad. The plot revolves around a group of kids and their families: kids are friends, families are accomplices to murder in a cult called PRIDE. This is where it becomes funny. Families are representative of all diversity in the US. And when I say all diversity I mean all accepted and canonic diversity. You have your Afro-American nerdy geeky high-tech kid; your Asian goth wicthy girl; your blonde sensitive girl belonging to the Church (well, a Church, at least); the Hispanic girls, one goth feminist and one into hip-hop for good measure; your Caucasian good-looking guy. Did you get my point? I’m sure you did.
Parents are a tad more interesting: you’ve got the ex-con who married his attorney after he got a luxurious offer for an acre of earth he owned in a cult-related very crucial spot; you’ve got the parents who are not talking to each other after their elder daughter allegedly committed suicide; you’ve got the head of the Church (she) and a former actor (he) who isn’t settling for being only just a face anymore; you’ve got the crazy biologists with a dinosaur in their basement and their home-made Bree (don’t know which one is more scary); you’ve got the brilliant but abusive inventor and his wife who takes the beating. And not a bad cast either, though I’m probably saying that just because it has James Marsters and Julian McMahon in it. Thing is, I actually enjoyed it. Didn’t think I would. And the whole beginning, with friends trying to get together after one of them died, really touched a nerve.

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4. The Defenders

You know we people read stories about superheroes? Well, ok, that’s a very badly framed question and it could have us talking for ages. Let me rephrase. Do you know why we people read stories about a single superhero? That’s usually because something in his/her key characteristics strikes us, touches us, connect us with the stories we’re reading. There’s like a single connection going from the character to the reader.
Now, sometimes you turn to group stories. You know, Fantastic Four, Avengers, … that kind of stuff. This might be because the group contains a single character you connected with, a guy you liked from before. This also might be because the group works as a single character, like Fantastic Four did for such a long time: it’s the story of a family with its faults (flexible spineless husband, invisible woman for a wife, always burning young brother-in-law, unsensitive family friend… well, you got my point). It also might be because you’re looking for some variety. Groups are often mixed in an interesting way, balancing similarities in such a way that it doesn’t get boring.
This means that a group of people with super-strenght, super-strenght, super-strenght and super-senses isn’t the best mix on the market. Add to this that one of the characters is Danny Rand and the other one is Luke Cage… not that I have anything against the guys in the comics. I rather like the guys. It’s just that their tv counterparts have been super-boring and this team-up isn’t more exciting. Not even considering they got Sigourney Weaver to sign up on this.

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5. Legends of Tomorrow – Season 3

Ok, ok. It’s not the most intellectual product ever and we are overflowed with series about time travel (for some reason everybody seems to be willing to run away from this era… I really can’t figure out why) but after three series of these misfits I can’t help but finding it still enjoyable. We’re in mid-season hiatus, I’m not too thrilled by recent developments but you’ve got to love a series that has the gut to air an episode like Beebo the God of War. Plus, we’ve got John Noble in the cast. Sort of. Let’s see where this is going.

6. Legion

One of the most psychotic series I’ve ever seen, and rightfully so. It’s creepy, intense, haunting and colorful. It has creepy demons, dances, weird superpowers. It has everything you need. Plus, it has Dan Stevens (the guy’s everywhere: I’m refusing to explain you who he is), Rachel Keller and Aubrey Plaza, like the Devil and Holy Water, Amber Midthunder who plays brother and sister with Bill Irwin (and isn’t that an amazing character), Jean Smart as Doctor Melanie Bird and Jemaine Clement is simply sublime as Oliver Bird. I promise this series is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And it will leave you as if someone put your brain through a blender.

7. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

I know, season 1 is a little old, but we now have season 2 and it’s a good cure in case you survived the aforementioned blender. This is crazy. And I mean completely insane. Totally bananas. Like you wouldn’t believe somebody actually was funded to shoot it. Now, the character was created by Douglas Adams and that’s something but really did they have to be so truthful to the original source? Yes, they had. And they did. And they even convinced Elijah Wood to play the sidekick. Watch it. And if you don’t feel dizzy after this, I can only recommend something synthetic.

 

That’s all, folks. This should get you covered until we get our Sense 8 finale, right?

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