Review: ‘Inhumans’ needs a reboot, badly

Marvel's "Inhumans" aired for the first time on ABC on Friday, Sept. 30, 2017. (Screenshot courtesy of abc.com)

Marvel's "Inhumans" aired for the first time on ABC on Friday, Sept. 30, 2017. (Screenshot courtesy of abc.com)

Marvel is known for properties like “The Avengers” and “Captain America.” Now, unfortunately, they will also be known for the mess that is ABC’s “Inhumans.”

The show was initially pitched as a movie and was supposed to be released via Marvel Studios in 2019. After Disney, Marvel Studios’ parent company, split Marvel’s film and television divisions into two separate entities under different umbrellas, the “Inhumans” movie was discarded with its fate left uncertain. Come 2017, IMAX partnered with Marvel Television to resuscitate the abandoned “Inhumans” project, but as a full-fledged TV show. Not only did Marvel Television rush in developing “Inhumans,” but they picked Scott Buck as the showrunner, the man behind the disappointment that is Netflix’s “Iron Fist.” Put these two variables together and there’s really no surprise why “Inhumans” is the worst thing Marvel has ever done.

The Inhumans are genetically-enhanced individuals, superheroes akin to the X-Men, that live on the moon. Led by a royal family consisting of King Black Bolt, Queen Medusa, Gorgon, Karnak, Crystal and Maximus, Marvel’s “Inhumans” are, in concept, the “Game of Thrones” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while at the same time being nothing like it. Like “Game of Thrones,” the royal family in “Inhumans” are central to the story, but unlike the HBO show, “Inhumans” lacks the regal spirit that makes “Game of Thrones” thrive.

Visually, “Inhumans” feels lifeless. Emptiness fills almost every scene and all the settings are as monotone as each line of dialogue spoken by the characters. The only exception to this bland aesthetic is the beautiful shots of Hawaii, which offer some much needed nuance. As for the actors, it’s not their fault that their characters are like stick figures on a crumpled piece of paper. Anson Mount, who plays Black Bolt, and Ken Leung, who plays Karnak, give the only good performances coming out of “Inhumans.” Granted, Black Bolt’s superpowers prohibits him from saying a single word, as he can destroy an entire city with just a whisper, so maybe that’s why Mount delivered the best performance on the show.

But as bad as “Inhumans” is, there’s still some positive aspects to be found. For one, the show does a nice job of tying back to the narrative that’s already established in other Marvel shows like ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” “Inhumans” also explores themes surrounding slavery and oppression, with a storyline that’s only intriguing due to said themes. It helps the show that it’s loosely connected to what’s going on in the movies with “The Avengers,” so while “Inhumans” is a pain to watch, small easter eggs and references to the grand Marvel Cinematic Universe will at least evoke some sense of interest.

“Inhumans” is a huge miss for Marvel Television and ABC, and it will take a fantastic fifth season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” to put them back on top of the game. From the beginning, “Inhumans” was never supposed to be a television series, and we can see why. These characters are royalty, and they deserve better than this. “Inhumans” doesn’t need a second season; what “Inhumans” needs is a reboot.


Carlos Rosario Gonzalez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at carlos.rosario_gonzales@uconn.edu.