When you think of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you think of The Avengers, The Defenders, Spider-Man, and The Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel continues to expand their brand through movies and television. Things haven’t been perfect with movies like Thor: The Dark World or shows like Iron Fist, but they always found a way to bounce back, giving us Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Defenders respectively. Even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got significantly better after the Hydra reveal in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Unfortunately, In the case of Inhumans, they don’t have the rest of the Marvel Universe to fall back on. It’s a self-contained series, taking place on a completely different planet. How does it stand on its own? Let’s find out!
The show starts with Triton (Mike Moh), who comes to earth looking for Inhumans. He wants to take them to Attilan, the home of the Inhumans [located on the moon]. After the Inhumans were introduced to the world [seen on Agents of SH.I.E.L.D.], Black Bolt (Anson Mount) wants to bring all the Inhumans together to live in peace. Black Bolt and his wife Medusa (Serinda Swan) are the king and queen of Attilan, leading the Inhumans along with the rest of the royal family; Gorgon (Eme Ilkwuakor), Karnak (Ken Leung), Crystal (Isabelle Cornish), and Maximus (Iwan Rheon). The show focuses on this family and Maximus’ lust for power. Maximus doesn’t have any special abilities, and it’s constantly brought up as a way to make him seem less than. Inhumans go through this terra-genesis chamber, using crystals to unlock their power. People who don’t get powers go working the mines, while ones with powers go to better jobs located in near the royal palace city. Maximus believes that this is wrong and he wants to give the non-powered Inhumans a better life. This leads to him starting a coup, putting the rest of the family on the run. That’s the premise of the first two episodes, and presumably the rest of the season.
Inhumans is a very interesting project, the plot is decent, the world is intriguing, and the villain’s motives are pretty well thought out, so what went wrong? Well for one, the characters are extremely dull and boring. The show feels lifeless, causing me check my phone to see what time it is. Black Bolt is as bland as it gets, having your main character mute doesn’t work. Maybe let communicate through sign language and add subtitles? You never really know what he’s thinking or what kind of person he is. Is he strict, or lenient? Stubborn or flexible? I don’t know! Medusa acts as Black Bolt’s translator [some of the time] and could be considered the show’s main character. Swan does a decent job with what she was given, but she still couldn’t save it. The acting overall in this show is very spotty. There were two scenes that were supposed to be tragic; showing the tragic backstory for a character, but it was done so poorly the entire audience started laughing. This show fails in some of the most basic areas. The camera can’t even do a simple shot reverse shot for conversations. Certain lines of dialog are written horribly; to the point where they sound fake. Nothing feels genuine. Some conversations are only there to unload a ton of exposition. It doesn’t feel like these characters would be having this conversation right now, but hey, the audience needs to know what’s going on, right? It’s just lazy. They set up a way around this by introducing us to a character from earth, she can represent the audience. An outsider entering this world for the first time. It’s a classic trope, but it works. When characters explain what this world is and why it runs this way, it doesn’t feel out of place. Sadly, they go in a completely different direction, and it makes the rest of the show a tough watch.
The worst thing is that the show didn’t have any signs of getting better. Most TV pilots are usually mediocre, but they typically have enough to bring back for the next episode. As time goes on the show starts to hit its stride, and become something worth watching every week. In the case of Inhumans, there was no hook, it ends on a cliffhanger, but I felt no attachment to these people so why would I come back? The fight scenes are lackluster, the special effects are atrocious [even the dog looks fake], and the characters are drab. Inhumans isn’t the worst show ever made, but it’s easily the worst thing Marvel has ever done.
Inhumans premieres September 29th on ABC.