04 October 2017

The Gifted

The new Fox TV series, "The Gifted", an X-Men spin-off whose pilot aired on Monday, is remarkably good. It captures the zeitgeist of our era.  (I streamed it the day after. I don't have cable or satellite TV or a working antenna to get broadcast TV.)

The premier was sandwiched between oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court on two cases addressing how the law treats undocumented immigrants, the same day that the U.S. joined countries like Saudi Arabia to vote at the U.N. against condemning the death penalty for LGBT people just for being gay, and as the President tries to secure funds for a border wall with Mexico. 

It deals with how a tiny minority of mutants is bullied, treated inhumanely by authorities, detained and mistreated in detention, singled out, and often forced to live underground. Mutants and their families cross the border with Mexico illegally, to get into Mexico where life is better for them.

One of the issues discussed in the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday was the plight of pregnant women in immigration detention while facing deportation, and one of the mutant detainees in the series is pregnant.

It imagines a public distressed by dramatic incidents of mutants out of control uses of their powers that police are ill suited to respond to, the day after the biggest gun massacre in modern times takes place in Las Vegas.

In an era where the military and to a lesser extent police, are turning to use drones for reconnaissance and armed with weapons, the protagonists experience what it is like to have to flee for their lives from drones.

The ensemble script allows many promising actors who work well together to shine without requiring a single star to carry the entire show.

While it is a spin-off of the X-Men in the X-Men universe, it is decidedly not an "X-Men" themed production. The X-Men themselves disappeared a number of years ago in this reality. These mutants are not using their powers to change the world as comic book superheroes. Instead, they are merely to survive in a world that fears them. Their powers protect family members and friends, rather than putting arch-villains in their place.

One curious feature of the show, driven purely by a chase after state film agency subsidies, is that the show is set in greater Atlanta, but is filmed in Texas.

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