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The Gifted is an American television series created for Fox by Matt Nix, based on Marvel Comics' X-Men properties. It is connected to the X-Men film series, set in an alternate timeline where the X-Men have disappeared. The show is produced by 20th Century Fox Television in association with Marvel Television, with Nix serving as showrunner.

The Gifted
The Gifted TV title card.png
Genre
Created by Matt Nix
Based on
Starring
Composer(s)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Neal Ahern
Location(s)
Running time 45–47 minutes[1]
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Release
Original network Fox
Original release October 2, 2017 (2017-10-02) – present (present)
Chronology
Related shows Legion
External links
Website

The series stars Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker as ordinary parents who take their family on the run after they discover their children's mutant abilities. Sean Teale, Natalie Alyn Lind, Percy Hynes White, Coby Bell, Jamie Chung, Blair Redford, and Emma Dumont also star in the show, with Skyler Samuels and Grace Byers joining them with the second season. The series received a put pilot commitment at Fox after a previous attempted X-Men television series did not move forward at the network in 2016; The Gifted was ordered to series in May 2017.

The Gifted's first season aired from October 2, 2017, to January 15, 2018, over 13 episodes. It received mostly positive reviews from critics and "solid" viewership. In January 2018, the series was renewed for a second season, to begin airing on September 25, 2018.

Contents

PremiseEdit

Two ordinary parents take their family on the run from the government when they discover that their children have mutant abilities, and join an underground community of mutants who have to fight to survive.[2] At the end of the first season several members of the underground leave to join the Inner Circle, and the second season sees conflict between these groups as well as others with their own extreme ideologies.[3]

Cast and charactersEdit

  • Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker:
    A father trying to balance his family responsibilities with his job as a district attorney.[4][5] Moyer said of the character, "He thinks he's doing the right thing by moving [the mutants]. He does know these camps aren't particularly nice. He knows a few people he's captured have disappeared. He also knows this could happen to his kids. He has no choice but to go on the run."[6]
  • Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker:
    A mother and nurse struggling with her "increasingly challenging" teenage children.[5][7] Showrunner Matt Nix said that though Caitlin does not have mutant powers, she is not "just a mom" or "just the doctor" in the series, and "over the course of the show I really love the idea of showing the evolution of a suburban mom into an underground warrior."[8]
  • Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz / Eclipse:
    A rebellious mutant who can absorb and manipulate photons.[9] Eclipse was rejected by his human parents, and grew up smuggling drugs from Mexico to the United States. The mutant underground uses him to smuggle mutants to safety in Mexico.[10] The character was created for the series, but takes inspiration from comic characters such as Sunspot and Wolverine.[11]
  • Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker:
    One of the series' central children, a "perfect" kid.[5][12] Her mutant power is creating force fields.[13]
  • Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker:
    One of the series' central children, a sensitive loner who keeps to himself.[5][7] His mutant power is a form of telekinesis, being able to pull things apart.[14]
  • Coby Bell as Jace Turner:
    A man struggling with the cold-blooded requirements of his job.[15] Turner is a Sentinel Services agent, trying to find the Struckers and the other mutants. Nix said the character is "more than just a villain hoping to round up every last superpowered human," but is instead trying to balance protecting society with taking away the rights of mutants.[16]
  • Jamie Chung as Clarice Fong / Blink:
    A "sarcastic, lively" mutant with teleportation powers.[17] An "independently minded" member of the mutant underground, Blink begins the series using her abilities as "a way out of situations she doesn't want to be in", but her abilities and relationship to them evolve throughout the series.[18] Chung wears heavy-duty contact lenses to portray Blink's mutant green eyes,[19] and also has pink markings on her face.[20]
  • Blair Redford as John Proudstar / Thunderbird:
    A strong-willed mutant, leader of the underground community.[5][21] Nix said the character is "dealing with his own issues of feeling the weight of thousands of years of Apache history and mutant history and an obligation to both families."[22]
  • Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane / Polaris:
    A brave and loyal mutant whose abilities include controlling magnetism.[7] She is introduced as being "unstable" due to bipolar disorder.[10][23] Nix explained that, within the series, there is "some awareness" that Polaris is the daughter of Magneto, leading to the question "does she accept the mantle of her birthright? Is it her job to be Magneto in his absence?"[10][24] The character is depicted with green hair, as she is in the comics, but "subdued shades of green".[11]
  • Skyler Samuels as the Frost Sisters:
    Esme, Sophie, and Phoebe Frost are telepathic triplets with their own agenda, separate from those of the mutant underground, Sentinel Services, and Trask Industries. The effect of the three characters together was created with a mixture of effects: split-screening, green-screening, and face replacements over doubles when Samuels worked with two other actresses portraying the other sisters.[25]
  • Grace Byers as Reeva Payge: A member of the 'Inner Circle' with an elite band of followers.[26]

EpisodesEdit

Season 1 (2017–18)Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"eXposed"Bryan SingerMatt NixOctober 2, 2017 (2017-10-02)1LAJ014.90[27]
22"rX"Len WisemanMatt NixOctober 9, 2017 (2017-10-09)1LAJ023.79[28]
33"eXodus"Scott PetersRashad RaisaniOctober 16, 2017 (2017-10-16)1LAJ033.46[29]
44"eXit strategy"Karen GaviolaMeredith Lavender & Marcie UlinOctober 23, 2017 (2017-10-23)1LAJ043.36[30]
55"boXed in"Jeremiah ChechikJim CampolongoOctober 30, 2017 (2017-10-30)1LAJ053.43[31]
66"got your siX"Craig SiebelsMelinda Hsu TaylorNovember 6, 2017 (2017-11-06)1LAJ063.17[32]
77"eXtreme measures"Stephen SurjikMichael HorowitzNovember 13, 2017 (2017-11-13)1LAJ073.00[33]
88"threat of eXtinction"Steven DePaulCarly SoterasNovember 20, 2017 (2017-11-20)1LAJ082.90[34]
99"outfoX"Liz FriedlanderBrad MarquesDecember 4, 2017 (2017-12-04)1LAJ092.81[35]
1010"eXploited"Craig SiebelsJim CampolongoDecember 11, 2017 (2017-12-11)1LAJ102.78[36]
1111"3 X 1"David StraitonMelinda Hsu TaylorJanuary 1, 2018 (2018-01-01)1LAJ112.54[37]
1212"eXtraction"Scott PetersMichael HorowitzJanuary 15, 2018 (2018-01-15)1LAJ123.42[38]
1313"X-roads"Stephen SurjikMatt Nix & Jim GarveyJanuary 15, 2018 (2018-01-15)1LAJ133.42[38]

Season 2Edit

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
141"eMergence"[39]Robert Duncan McNeillMatt NixSeptember 25, 2018 (2018-09-25)[40]TBATBD

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

 
Matt Nix, a fan of the X-Men since he was young, serves as showrunner and writer on the series.

In July 2016, after a series based on the Hellfire Club, an X-Men comic property, did not move forward at Fox, the network made a put pilot commitment for a different X-Men based series. The new pilot, written by X-Men fan Matt Nix, was for an action-adventure series based on ordinary parents discovering their children's mutant abilities. Fox Entertainment President David Madden said that "developing a Marvel property has been a top priority for the network—and we are so pleased with how Matt Nix has led us into this thrilling universe." The series is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Marvel Television, with 20th handling the physical production of the series, and Nix executive producing alongside X-Men film series producers Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner, and Simon Kinberg, and Marvel Television executives Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory.[2]

Nix pitched the series to executives as "Running on Empty with mutants".[41] He created an elaborate presentation using Prezi which included photos of actors that he had altered to look like mutants, and graphics to explain how the series would fit in with the X-Men films as well as the larger X-Men universe of the comics. The presentation was met with applause, according to Loeb. The biggest criticisms that Nix received about his pitch was that he wanted to include too much story in the pilot, with some of his initial ideas becoming the stories of several other episodes.[42] Early versions of Nix's pilot script were received "enthusiastically" by Fox executives, and Fox chairman and CEO Gary Newman was expecting a final draft in early January 2017, with a pilot pickup within a few weeks of that.[43] Newman noted that "development across the board this year is a little slower than usual", but the network hoped to begin airing the potential series during the 2017–18 television season.[44]

Nix said that as a fan of the X-Men comics, "you don't want to be slavishly doing the same thing over and over again that everyone else has done, but at the same time, you're conscious that this is important, and that I owe something to my 10 year old self right now."[45] Fox officially ordered the series to pilot, as "untitled Marvel action-adventure series", at the end of the month.[46] Donner referred to the series as Gifted in March, which was clarified to be a temporary title for the series.[47] On May 9, Fox ordered the show to series as The Gifted. The pilot had been called "one of the hottest pilots of the [2017] broadcast development season" by commentators.[5] The first season consists of 13 episodes.[48] In August, Len Wiseman joined as a director and executive producer for the season.[49] That October, Nix said that he had planned "a couple of seasons, in broad strokes", and stated that he wanted "to be doing this show for a long time." Noting a growing trend in shorter, self-contained television seasons, Nix said that he wanted the show to feel more like a traditional, long-running story and so have each season end in a satisfying way that does not feel "close-ended".[41] On January 4, 2018, the series was renewed for a second season. Described as being designed for "limited runs", Fox had not been in a hurry to give the series an early renewal before then.[50]

WritingEdit

Nix described the series as coming "at the world of mutants from the side"; the films and comics "have generally started with the X-Men and encountered the world outside" from their perspective, but the series looks to "take place inside the world of people who are [not] already X-Men and [do not yet] know that world." He said the show would tell a more intimate story than the films have done as "it also explores issues surrounding mutants and what that experience is in a way that's hard to do in a two-hour movie because [a movie] needs to move very quickly and needs to get to big action."[51] These issues reflect modern, real-world problems such as police attempting to kill mutants just because they look different, or the government only taking issue with mutants if they reveal themselves in public. The series' mutant underground is inspired by the Underground Railroad.[52] Madden said that the series also took inspiration from Heroes, particularly for its themes of family and "that loner, outcast, people with superpowers thing", though he felt The Gifted would take "that thread [in] a very different direction than anything that happened on Heroes."[53]

Nix was particularly influenced by the comic District X which is "just about a district in New York. It's where the mutants are ... the show is not a procedural [like the comic] at all, but it was seeing mutants in society, dealing with crime, drugs, their relationships to each other. We didn't take any characters from it. It was one of my favorites."[54] Elaborating on the series not being a procedural, Nix said that it would not have a "save the mutant of the week" formula, and would instead follow the ongoing story of the mutant underground as they both try to save other mutants and fight to protect themselves,[55] though each episode still has a beginning, middle, and end.[41] When approaching mutant abilities in the series, particularly for the Strucker children who are just discovering theirs, Nix wanted to avoid clearly defining exactly what those abilities are immediately since "when your powers manifest, they don't come with a label. It's not like somebody pops up and says, 'Hey! You can do this!' When we think about powers on the show, what's the organic relationship between this person as a living, breathing human being, and their power? The idea is that what your power is and what you can do is influenced by who you are as a character." The series explores how it feels for the characters to use their abilities, and shows those abilities evolving along with the characters.[22]

CastingEdit

By early January 2017, "exploratory casting" for the series had begun, with the process expected to "ramp up" after the official pilot pickup.[43] The next month, Blair Redford was cast as a mutant leader;[21] Jamie Chung was cast as popular mutant Clarice Fong / Blink;[17][56] Stephen Moyer was cast as Reed Strucker, a father and the series' lead;[4][5] and Sean Teale was cast as Marcos Diaz / Eclipse, a mutant created for the series.[9] In March, Natalie Alyn Lind joined as Lauren Strucker, one of the series' central children.[12][5] She was followed by Amy Acker as Caitlin Strucker, a mother and the series' female lead;[7][5] Emma Dumont as mutant Lorna Dane / Polaris;[7] Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker, another of the central children;[7][5] and Coby Bell as the morally ambiguous Jace Turner.[15] Acker auditioned alongside the already-cast Moyer; the pair did not meet the actors playing their children, Lind and White, until the table read of the pilot episode.[57] With the series order in May, Redford's character was revealed to be John Proudstar / Thunderbird.[5]

Moyer, Acker, Teale, Lind, White, Bell, Chung, Redford, and Dumont all return to star in the second season.[58] By January 2018, Skyler Samuels, who recurred as the Stepford Cuckoos in the first season, was being looked at to be promoted to series regular for the second,[59] and this move was confirmed in June, along with the announcement that Grace Byers would also be joining the series as a series regular, in the role of Reeva.[26]

FilmingEdit

Production on the series' pilot took place through March and April 2017, in Dallas, Texas.[60][47][61] The rest of the first season was not filmed in the city after a decision on tax rebates in the state to be made by the Texas Legislature took too long for the series' schedule,[62] with production moving to Atlanta, Georgia.[63] The series' setting was subsequently changed from Dallas to Atlanta, including a retroactive changed to the pilot.[6]

MusicEdit

It was revealed in October 2017, ahead of the series premiere, that John Ottman and David Buckley were composing the score for the show; Ottman previously scored several of the X-Men films for Singer, and he collaborated with Buckley on the score for the film The Nice Guys.[64]

Shared universe connectionsEdit

"There are things from the movies that we would regard as canonical. It's just that we're not saying, 'This happens before this movie, and that happens after this movie. We're setting up this thing that's going to happen in this movie, and paying off another thing from another movie.' ... It wouldn't be satisfying if we tried [that], because not even the movies are related that way anymore."

—Showrunner Matt Nix on connections to the X-Men films[65]

Donner explained in January 2017 that, unlike the previous X-Men television series Legion, this series "is much more a part of just the world in terms of there are mutants, mutants are hated ... you feel like you're here in the X-Men world". Despite this, the "cinematic universe will not worry about ... these TV worlds at all. [The films] will just continue in the way that they have been continuing".[66] Nix added that the X-Men films "don't all line up perfectly. So it's not like I'm slavishly fitting myself into a particular slot [but] if you like that world and the world of the movies, there are definite nods to it, it definitely exists in the same general universe".[45]

Nix wanted to avoid repeating the connection between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by having a more general relationship,[45] with existing characters from the films appearing in different ways in the series such as the new adaption of Sentinels, mutant-hunting robots that have appeared in several of the films.[66] Moyer stated in June 2017 that The Gifted would be set between Legion, in which mutants "are still largely not understood", and Logan, which sees the title character as one of the last mutants. He added, "we definitely slot into a timeline, but as of yet, we're not allied. I think they have given themselves a lot of leeway in order to be able to go places, but we've enough story within our universe to propel us forward without having to do that."[67] The next month, Nix noted that the film X-Men: Days of Future Past established multiple, different timelines or "streams" in the X-Men universe, and that the series would take advantage of those to avoid the films and comics and instead do "our own thing". He explained that in the series' "stream", the X-Men have disappeared,[68] which is "not just [because] they're too expensive for television" and something that the show would explore.[68] He soon called this one of the central mysteries of the series,[69] and revealed that it is due to a "bit of a 9/11 event, that caused enormous social upheaval and a lot of hatred towards mutants."[70]

ReleaseEdit

Season Episodes Originally aired DVD and Blu-ray release dates
First aired Last aired Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 13 October 2, 2017 January 15, 2018 TBA TBA TBA
2 TBA September 25, 2018[40] TBA TBA TBA TBA

BroadcastEdit

The Gifted airs on Fox in the United States,[71] with CTV acquiring the broadcast rights for Canada.[72] The series launched in more than 183 countries on Fox, following its U.S. debut, using a "day-and-date launch" format.[73]

ReceptionEdit

Season Nielsen ratings Critical response
Premiere total viewers
(in millions)
Finale total viewers
(in millions)
Season average total viewers,
inc. DVR (in millions)
Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 4.90[27] 3.42[38] TBD 72% (44 reviews)[74] 63 (22 reviews)[75]

RatingsEdit

The pilot's viewership was called a "solid start" to the series, and was noted to be higher than the season premiere of Lucifer in the same timeslot the year before, as well as the debut of the other new Marvel series of the season, Inhumans.[76] By the series' second season renewal, it was considered to be a "solid ratings performer" for Fox, performing 18 percent better than the same timeslot the year before, and ranking the third best new drama series of the season.[50]

Critical responseEdit

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 70% approval rating, with an average rating of 6.74/10 based on 44 reviews. The website's consensus states, "The Gifted's first season lays a solid foundation for an involving superhero drama that powers past the origin-story doldrums by focusing on grounded, topical stories over mindless action and special effects."[74] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 63 out of 100 based on 22 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[75]

Comparison to NazismEdit

Discussing the series, Drew Koch of Bustle magazine noted that it explored themes such as the persecution of minority groups, sacrificing freedom for safety, and criticizing "big government". He highlighted the antagonistic agency Sentinel Services, feeling that giving it the initials "SS" was a reference to the Schutzstaffel, a paramilitary division of Nazi Germany.[77] USA Today's Brian Truitt also noted this reference, and the character Polaris directly calling out the government agents as Nazis, along with the mutant underground being patterned after the Underground Railroad.[78]

ReferencesEdit

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