The Gifted Review: “eXposed”

Marvel’s latest series doesn’t take place in their vast shared crossover universe. Instead, we have a timely television spin on the X-men. A leader of the mutant underground gets captured, while a man who helps prosecute mutants learns his children carry the X-factor gene.

Title: “eXposed”

Director: Bryan Singer
Writers: Matt Nix

Cast
Amy Acker as Kate Strucker
Stephen Moyer as Reed Strucker
Percy Hynes White as Andy Strucker
Natalie Alyn Lind as Lauren Strucker
Emma Dumont as Lorna Dane / Polaris
Jamie Chung as Clarice Fong / Blink
Blair Redford as John Proudstar / Thunderbird
Sean Teale as Marcos Diaz / Eclipse
Toks Olagundoye as Carla
Steffan Argus as Jack
Jermaine Rivers as Shatter
Dale Godboldo as Ted Baird
Joe Nemmers as Agent Ed Weeks
Jason Bremer as Sentinel Service Man
Paul Caraway as Sentinel Services Tech #1
Hayley Lovitt as Sage
Tony Maples as Scotty
Jeff Daniel Phillips as Tex
James Sterling as Mutant

Premise:

In some version of the convoluted and multifurcated X-Men timeline (both the X-Men and the Brotherhood receive passing mention), the government hunts down X-factor mutants. Imprisoned Clarice Fong escapes incarceration using her teleportation abilities. Key Mutant Underground member Lorna Dane/Polaris gets captured, and a government prosecutor, Strucker, tries to strike a deal with her. Unbeknown to Strucker, however, his own children have mutant powers, which will soon make the family fugitives.

High Points:

The pilot serves up what viewers would expect: this is the basic X-Men premise reworked for lower-budget series television, with equal amounts of action and social commentary. Marvel’s mutants have been used as a metaphor for a range of issues, and the show appears poised to explore them all, without becoming excessively preachy.

The spider-tech effects in the conclusion look impressive. The show’s creators clearly know that’s as important to their audience as the invasive federal agency, the Mexican wall, and the mutant-bullying.

Low Point:

For an organization created to deal with mutants, Sentinel Services initially seem ill-prepared. The episode repeatedly shows us that mutants resist being taken into custody, and we later learn the Sentinels have access to some very advanced technology. Nevertheless, the two idiots who try to arrest the Strucker kids simply walk up to their door and ask two anxious teens, whom they know or suspect have significant power, to come along with them. They also lack any kind of backup plan—or even backup—when this brilliant plan immediately fails.

Reed Strucker’s later comment that they did not have enough time to assemble a team falls a little flat.

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The series does nothing really groundbreaking with the X-premise (and the high school scenes recall Carrie more than a little), but it does them competently.

Effects: 5/6 The show, of course, operates on a much smaller budget than the X-Men films, but they have used that budget intelligently. The low-key effects work, and they saved for a couple of impressive moments.

Acting: 4/6 The acting varies, but the cast, which includes genre veteran Amy Acker, shows potential. Some of the dialogue/acting plunges a little too far into soap territory.

Production: 5/6

Story: 5/6 The show feels strangely old-school, with heroes on the run, a clear chapter of a story arc, and clear conflicts (internal and external).

Emotional Response: 4/6

Overall: 5/6 I doubt I’ll see the rest of this series for some time—- time being in short supply—- but fans of the superheroic who want a slightly more grounded approach than found in the popular, more overtly comic-bookish DC shows will want to tune into The Gifted.

In total, “eXposed” receives 30/42

8 replies on “The Gifted Review: “eXposed””

  1. I enjoyed it! I was expecting Mutant X again for some reason, so I was pleasantly supplied to hear names I recognized, (though some brightly colored hair would have been more fun.)

    It did feel a little teen-drama, )or as we say in my house, it was trying to CW a bit), but we can see where that leads.

    • lost says:

      I, too, was expecting something like Mutant X. In fact, I made exactly such a comment after seeing one of the previews.

      I don’t think that’s neccessarily bad, though. And they do seem to be doing things differently, at least superficially.

      Still, with everything else I’m following, this one will probably be one that falls below the cut. It just didn’t grab my attention enough for me to commit more of my limited time to it. That’s not to say I’ll never watch it, but I don’t think I’ll be arranging my schedule to see it weekly.

      • People still arrange schedules to watch television?

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          Old habits die hard for some people. And during the runs of Mad Men and Orphan Black, I rarely watched a PVR version. I wanted to see those first broadcasts. We’re pretty specific about Better Call Saul as well.

          On the other hand, as much as we like it, we tend to watch Game of Thrones in a post-post-season binge, after trying to ignore spoilers, at which I’m rarely that successful.

          The issue with this show is that it hasn’t grabbed me enough to watch the show regularly, though I’ll probably binge-watch it some holiday weekend or rainy summer stretch. There’s too much on and too little time. But the pilot suggests they’re going to do a decent job of what they’re doing.

          As for those other mainstream TV hero shows, I imagine someone will review the first ep of the season, and then post weekly discussions of “superheroic TV.” The Expanse, the Marvel Netflix shows, and Discovery look like what we’re reviewing this year, TV-wise.

          • My views are generally more favorable than the average viewer, but I have free time to review some stuff if need be. I can even chime in with my Trekker-but-not-comic-reading wife’s take on any of the shows we’re watching, we’re usually pretty close to air-date.

            • JD DeLuzio says:

              I’m pretty sure this one’s up for grabs, and any of the DC shows, though I might be running “season premiere” reviews. I think you have my e-mail. Do you have the review templates?

              • I did not, or at least I didn’t have it filed in a way that connected it correctly. I did find a Hotmail address, but is Hotmail even still a thing?

                Anyways: I’m [email protected]. Want to email me the template and where I should send them when completed (or instructions to post them?)

        • lost says:

          Even watching “on a delay” (PVR, etc.) requires arranging one’s schedule to have time to watch it. Granted, it’s easier when the time slot is “whenever I can fit it in” but it still has to fall “above the cut” before it gets time allocated.

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