Last week, Marvel Television expanded its superhero roster with the release of Marvel’s Inhumans. The series premiere aired on Friday night, which is generally regarded as TV’s wasteland, where ratings go to die. So, why did Marvel adapt this family drama, which is shown on ABC, when nobody was really clamoring for the TV show?
The two-hour series premiere featured a complicated storyline involving a caste system, genetics, the evolutionary process and a traitor among the Inhuman Royal Family. Based in Attilan, the Inhumans are on the verge of leaving their home city (which is on the moon) and expanding their base of operations onto Earth.
Amid all the craziness is King Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and his brother, Maximus (Iwan Rheon), who wishes to sit upon the throne. Focusing an entire TV series around a main character who does not speak (or else he will destroy everything and everyone around him), fighting another who apparently has no superpowers, whatsoever, seemed a bit risky. But after watching the pilot, “Those Who Would Destroy Us,” when the whiz-bang factor finally faded, the only character I really care about on the entire show is Lockjaw, the teleporting 2,000 lb. dog. That doesn’t speak well for the rest of Season 1 and beyond for the series.
In fact, I am more interested in the Inhuman city of Afterlife that was previously ruled by Jiaying, as seen in Season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which was looking to be a built-in spin-off series, until she was later killed when the storyline wrapped up). At one point, I even thought this series would follow those same characters (and location) that were already introduced. You can imagine how let down I was when that scenario didn’t come to fruition.
Back to my original question: Why adapt Inhumans as an ongoing series? Most likely, it was greenlighted during Phase Three in response to all the praise the Netflix series were receiving. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was expanding and getting remolded with the additions of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter and Marvel Studios figured they could create a franchise just as good as the streaming service could. Unfortunately, this was not the best subject matter. Agent Carter had lots of fan support for an additional season, but it was canned in favor of spinning off Marvel’s Most Wanted, which received a pilot order, but was not picked up. So, ABC’s next Marvel endeavor became the Inhumans.
The publicity of being the first live-action television series to debut in IMAX movie theaters was initially encouraging, but after its reviews were publicized, much hope was lost for the show. Sadly, the show is simply boring. While it could be improved with a list of crossover characters (as well as events that take place on S.H.I.E.L.D.), it may be too little, too late. There will only be eight episodes filmed in the first season. For all intents and purposes, they’re already filmed. Most likely, there won’t be another season to right these wrongs.
With the release of the multiple current Netflix series (including The Defenders, among others) and Legion (FX), along with the upcoming releases of The Punisher (Netflix), The Gifted (FOX), The Runaways (Hulu), Cloak & Dagger and New Warriors (both on Freeform), when will we reach the threshold of too many superhero tales? And why does it seem all the other networks have better TV subject matter than ABC? I blame the network execs. Bad decisions. Plain and simple.
Not long ago, Inhumans Showrunner Scott Buck discussed with Collider his decision to leave the mediocre Iron Fist to lead the way for the (so far) mediocre Inhumans. Doesn’t seem like the best career move that may ultimately end with both Marvel series getting canceled, along with his possible termination. Surely someone else can do a better job? Or, better yet, surely someone else at Marvel Television can give hints to Marvel Studios Executive Kevin Feige to choose better material. We were brokenhearted about Agent Carter‘s cancellation. We were somewhat interested in Most Wanted. But sadly, we’re just don’t care about the Inhumans.
Hey, at least the Marvel Cinematic Universe is prospering on the big screens… as long as they’re not showing small-screen entertainment.