Third-episode verdict: The Gifted (US: Fox; UK: Fox UK)

The Gifted

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox
In the UK: Sundays, 9pm, Fox UK

It’s best to think of The Gifted, Matt Nix’s X-Men-free X-Men drama, as the edited, slower, lower budget highlights of a whole bunch of X-Men movies you’ve already seen. Allegedly a look at the X-Men universe from the point of view of lesser mutants once the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants have buggered off, it sees mum and dad Stephen Moyer and Amy Acker on the run from the authorities (Coby Bell) when they learn that their two teenage children are mutants. To stand a fighting chance, the family has to tie up with the ‘mutant underground’, which is full of young mutants with their own soapy issues.

Nix could maybe have spun this is an exciting new direction, just as Noah Hawley did with Legion, were it not for a couple of odd choices. The first is to split up Acker and Moyer at the end of the first episode, leaving Moyer to spend all his time with Bell. They do not for an exciting pairing make and rob the show of one of its few points of difference. It also leaves Acker spending her time looking worried about her family while a bunch of whiny other mutants worry about their boyfriends or girlfriends.

The second problem is that he’s populated the show with mutants whom you’ve seen before (eg Blink) or have powers you’ve seen before (eg Polaris, daughter of Magneto). The result is that pretty much everything is a retread of the movies, just with everyone running away rather than squaring off for a fight.

It’s not all a loss. Everything looks great, although by episode three, we’re down to pick-up truck chases on empty Canadian country lanes. There’s usually something novel in each episode. It’s also good to see Acker and Moyer starring in something again and the supporting cast of pretty young mutants are reasonably credible.

But it’s just so mundane. It retreads so much old territory while adding so little. And in a schedule full of superheroes, with more to come (eg Black Lightning), that could well be a fatal mistake.

Barrometer rating: 3

The Barrometer for The Gifted


  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.