Unfamiliar mutants shine in ‘The Gifted’

By Frank Portillo

“The Gifted” has potential to develop into an interesting look at lesser known X-Men characters with a solid pilot episode. The new series is one of the many comic book shows that have come to television recently. Going up against the other superhero shows that are so popular, “The Gift” finds a way to make its C-list characters worthy of their own show. The show is set in the future, in a world that has seen the disappearance of the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants.
Viewers who aren’t comic book savvy won’t recognize any of the characters involved or of their affiliation with the X-Men if not for the name-drop mid episode. The show focuses on the Strucker family as they deal with a world hunting mutants. The patriarchal figure of the family, Reed Strucker, played by “True Blood’s” Stephen Moyer, is part of a government agency responsible for the apprehension of mutants.
When his children are discovered to be mutants, Strucker and his family are forced to deal with being the hunted.
Through his connections, he enlists the help of rogue mutants who are gathering others that share the gene. The mutants in question are Polaris, Thunderbird, and eventually Blink, who are mutants fighting for survival and are searching for any remaining X-Men.
The events of the episode are kicked into gear when the younger Strucker discovers his abilities while being bullied.
He figures out that feeling a certain emotion grants him access to his powers.
This aspect of the characters is reminiscent of Magneto discovering his powers in “X-Men: First Class,” in which he was told to find the perfect balance between rage and serenity.
The young actor playing Andy Strucker, Percy Hynes White, plays the part of a bullied teen very well.
His acting is very seamless and plays well off of his sister Lauren Strucker, played by Natalie Alyn Lind. His sister shares her secret of discovering her powers years earlier with her brother and begins to show him the possibilities of his gifts.
Despite not having any of the A-list characters, “The Gifted” manages to construct an intriguing story with an interesting dynamic between the characters involved.
Having directed the first two X-films, Bryan Singer, director of the pilot episode, approaches this new series with a grittier, more realistic feel.
The production of the show is top-notch, as the computer generated imagery doesn’t look overtly fake. “The Gifted” airs on Monday nights on Fox at 9 p.m.

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