By Emily Lannon, Arts and Entertainment Editor
The latest in the X-Men franchise The Gifted starts as you would expect, a young person in trouble running from authorities.
This person is soon revealed to be a mutant, a person with a specialized x-gene that grants them superhuman abilities.
The young mutant is rescued from their pursuers by a ragtag group from the “mutant underground” that aids mutant refugees from the government.
The young mutant is apprehensive of their savior until one of them, Lorna Dane, assures her that they are “A couple of freaks, just like you.”
An altercation with the authorities then proceeds and the scene shifts to Bellevue High School, where two parents later revealed to be Caitlyn and Reed Strucker, are arguing with a school official about their son being bullied.
Reed is a prosecutor in the specialized mutant task force, and is not afraid to throw the weight of his occupation around.
The show focuses around these two groups and their plights. They are eventually brought together when Andy Strucker, Reed and Caitlyn’s son, discovers his mutant abilities, and the family is forced on the run.
The X-Men have, since their inception, mirrored the civil rights movements at the time, and this is no different.
With the X-Men and the Mutant Brotherhood gone, rules restricting mutants, and tracking mutants are in effect. The government has established the Sentinel Services, a federal organization that specializes in “genetic incidents.”
This forces mutants to hide, or be placed in mutant detention centers.
In this political climate, the mutants can mirror any number of minorities that are being mistreated by the government, as they always have, welcoming those who don’t fit in.
Immigrants, ethnic minorities, people of different religions, LGBT+, kids who are bullied, anyone can see themselves as an X-Men.
I found a home with the X-Men when I was eight, unable to sleep and watching reruns of the 90s cartoon.
It didn’t matter where you came from, who you were, or what your abilities were, the X-Men were there to help. I was not a popular kid, nor did I have the best home life, so finding a place that would accept me was fantastic.
I feel that again, with this new iteration of the series. Watching it was like reading the first in a new X-Men team series, a familiar pattern with some new and not so new faces.
People coming together to fight the oppression surrounding them.
The Gifted doesn’t rely completely on fresh faces and fresh mutants to tell its story.
Included in the line up of just the first episode are Blink (They never actually call her that but she has a very distinct look, and the same powers, and the same first name), John Proudstar, and Lorna Dane (AKA Polaris, AKA Magneto’s daughter in the comics so that’s definitely something to look out for).
I’m sure there are more that I missed, those given only a second or two of screentime for the action packed first episode. Despite the old faces, they are introduced as new characters, so it wouldn’t be hard for new viewers to jump in (I honestly only know Proudstar and Blink by name and ability only, so don’t be afraid to jump in if you’re new to the X-Men).
I’m excited to see what old friends (or enemies) we’re reintroduced to, as well as new mutants to discover.
The series is run by X-Men veterans. Brian Singer, the director of the X-Men movie franchise, returns to direct The Gifted.
The executive producers all come from an impressive line of Marvel series as well, including the executive producers of the most recent X-Men movies including Days of Future Past, Apocalypse, and The Wolverine.
The cast also pulls from some action and sci-fi regulars. Amy Acker (Person of Interest, Angel) takes up a role as Caitlyn Strucker. Natalie Alyn Lind (Gotham) plays her daughter, Lauren Strucker.
The entire cast is fantastic, and has a mix of new faces as well giving The Gifted a fresh face.
Full of a cast of characters you can immediately attach to, and a story that has you waiting eagerly for the next episode, The Gifted is definitely not one you want to pass up.
The Gifted airs Mondays at 9:00 p.m. on Fox. Proving once again that Fox’s drama series differ wildly from their news channels, discarding “Fair and Balanced,” and unafraid to make a statement.
Of course, as with any Marvel production, you want to keep your eye out for a Stan Lee cameo that is in the first episode for all the True Believers.