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‘Gifted’ review: Marvel show can go lots of ways

Sean Teale, left, and Stephen Moyer on "The

Sean Teale, left, and Stephen Moyer on "The Gifted." Credit: Fox / Ryan Green


WHEN | WHERE Premieres Monday at 9 p.m. on Fox/5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT How cool would it be to have “mutant” powers like those comics/movie X-Men? Um, maybe not so cool, after all.

The “gifted” young people in this series aren’t shiny superheroes. They’re underground activists in hiding from the powers-that-be, who want mutants corralled, contained and quiet. If it’s tricky for viewers to get a feel for outcasts called Eclipse (Sean Teale, “Reign”), Blink (Jamie Chung, “Gotham”), Polaris (Emma Dumont, “Bunheads”) and Thunderbird (Blair Redford, “The Lying Game”) — people whose fingers spit fire, who control magnetism, who can teleport — well, that’s precisely the confusion gripping other main characters.

The Strucker parents played by Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”) and Amy Acker (“Person of Interest,” “Angel”) become aware their teen kids have powers when son Andy (Percy Hynes White, “Between,” “Murdoch Mysteries”) goes literally ballistic after being bullied. Daughter Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind, “Gotham,” “The Goldbergs”) has got the goods, too. When that attracts the attention of an anti-mutant agent (Coby Bell), parents and teens fall in with a mutant underground they’re only beginning to grasp.

MY SAY That’s a lot to lay down in a single hour, and it’s not clear what balance will settle in among the family, the mutants and their pursuers. Or among the use of powers, the societal price paid and the emotional cost.

But that journey feels much more inviting than, say, ABC’s turgid Marvel epic, “Inhumans.” There’s promising humanity to “The Gifted,” even in the hyperactive pilot directed by “X-Men” movie auteur Bryan Singer. It doesn’t hurt that the series is adapted by X-Men fan Matt Nix, who also created the sassy USA spy saga “Burn Notice” and Fox short-run copfest “The Good Guys” (Bradley Whitford, Colin Hanks), exhibiting a sense of warmth and wit along with action props.

BOTTOM LINE Different generations, different politics, different “gifts” — lots of ways for this more accessible Marvel show to go.

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