2017 has certainly been an interesting year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly the TV division. On one hand, you’ve got the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which hit to new heights of greatness thanks to the addition of Ghost Rider and a surprisingly timely Agents of HYDRA storyline. Defenders, the crossover series between all four Netflix shows, was a mixed bag overall, but it’s unlikely that you’d find anyone who would declare it outright awful. And then you’ve got Iron Fist and Inhumans, two shows that everyone seemed to know right out of the gate that they would dislike, if not outright hate.
Inhumans specifically, seemed doomed from the start to be tarred and feathered. Even in the comics, the characters have never really been all that popular, with recent attempts by Marvel to boost their importance failing in part because that meant the X-Men and Fantastic Four were severely downplayed. The property’s demotion from movie to television series was widely publicized, and the show itself just didn’t look good. From the costumes and the writing to the SFX for Medusa’s hair, this show was just primed for failure from the beginning, and that’s not even getting into the IMAX premiere of the first two episodes, which went… poorly, to put it lightly. Many fans were, frankly, hoping that the show would just be an outright disaster from top to bottom, physical proof that the Inhumans were forever a failure and couldn’t be redeemed. But now that the series has officially wrapped its eight-episode season (series?) run, well — as a show, it’s not great… but also not terrible.
In case you haven’t been keeping up with the show — which, judging by the ratings, is pretty likely — Inhumans is a spinoff, of sorts, of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They’re the superpowered descendants of genetically engineered humans from the Stone Age who’ve spent their whole lives living on the Moon. As the series opens, members of the Royal Family — King Black Bolt (Anson Mount), Queen Medusa (Serinda Swan), operatives Triton (Mike Moh) and Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), giant teleporting dog Lockjaw (Lockjaw), princess Crystal (Isabelle Cornish) and seer Karnak (Ken Leung) — have been going to Earth to round up blooming Inhumans to protect them from distrustful humans. Everything is largely fine until Maximus, the non-powered brother of Black Bolt, stages a coup, during which the various members of the Royal Family find themselves scattered all around Hawaii and have to reunite to get home.
Let it be said that the idea of the Royal Family stuck on Earth, each with their own hangups that leave their extravagant powers diminished or weakened, does have good story potential on a conceptual level. Not only does it allow for some fun “fish out of water” gags, it also allows for some critique of the entire problematic eugenicist tones that have plagued the Inhumans for decades. If these characters are going to be vital to the MCU going forward — or at the very least, the TV corner of the MCU — then that whole aspect of their character simply cannot be ignored.
Unfortunately, the show squandered virtually all of that potential.
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