Fox and Marvel are bringing The Gifted, a drama set within the X-Men universe, to television. To celebrate, Fox released the full-length trailer for the show and, although mutants are definitely present, it’s eerily reminiscent of another series.
For those who may not remember, Heroes was an NBC show that ran between 2006-2010. It was also one of the more notable shows affected by the Hollywood writers’ strike of 2007-08. Heroes’ first season was nominated for two Golden Globes, but its subsequent seasons were viewed as big drop offs and disappointments for fans. After it was canceled in 2010, The AV Club’s Sean O’Neal said that was the best thing that could have happened to the series ... albeit not as nicely.
“The comic-book series made by people who apparently hate comic books has spent the years since its breakout first season seeing declining ratings, increasingly irritated fans, approximately 1,012 time travel and death/sudden resurrection subplots that served to completely negate everything that happened before them, and a critical reception that could be charitably characterized as 'It buuuurns! It buuuurns,’” O’Neal wrote.
What people remember most about Heroes, however, is the comic book genre it borrowed its ideas from. The series followed a group of individuals who come into their superhero powers and must hide from a world who will not accept them. Their lives are at stake and, over time, they discover they’re not alone. They form an underground community of secret do-gooders, alienated by their secret and, eventually, ostracized for their differences.
To compare, The Gifted is a series about a regular family in suburban America who are forced to go on the run after the secret surrounding their children’s mutant abilities is discovered. The show is set in a slightly dystopian period where those with mutant abilities are being hunted and collected by the American government. The only thing these families have is an underground network of strangers going through the same trials and tribulations.
Beneath all of the superhero hubbub, however, Heroes and The Gifted share one very important similarity: the twist. In Heroes, Claire “The Cheerleader” Bennet’s father worked for a clandestine organization that essentially kept an eye on those with superhero abilities and would come out of the woodwork when warranted. When he discovered that his daughter was one of those very same people, however, he was forced to examine his relationship with her and his career.
In The Gifted, the family patriarch, who’s played by True Blood’s Stephen Moyer, works for an organization whose sole purpose is to capture and neutralize mutants. When he discovers that his own children belong to that same group, however, he also has to choose what to do.
Based on what we’ve seen from The Gifted — which, granted, isn’t much — it will use its science-fiction and fantasy base as a way to delve into a more tangled, emotional arc about family and the values people think they believe in until faced with an unsolvable predicament.
Hopefully, The Gifted will learn from Heroes’ mistakes and avoid heading down the same path. It debuts this fall.