The INHUMANS series on ABC might be Marvel’s most costly fiasco…

Posted on September 30th, 2017
Posted on September 30th, 2017

by Coop Cooper

Before I can even explain the wacky plot of “Inhumans”, I need to go into who they are and how they fit into the Marvel Universe… Sometime in the distant past, highly evolved humans with powers known as ‘Inhumans’ decided the only way to survive was to isolate themselves from normal humans and erase any knowledge of their existence. With vast powers and superior intellect, they colonized the moon and developed a strange, totalitarian monarchy with a caste system of of upper-class royals/military and lower-level Inhumans with less useful powers and ‘freak’ humans born from other Inhumans who are forced into manual labor roles.

Currently ruling Attilan – the name of their moon city – is Black Bolt (Anson Mount) who is so dangerously powerful, a single sound from his mouth can destroy cities. His queen is Medusa (Serinda Swan) who has long, prehensile hair and acts as his interpreter. His second-in-command is Maximus (Iwan Rheon), Black Bolt’s human brother who is looked down upon as inferior by other Inhumans. Rounding out his royal court is Karnak (Ken Leung) who has superhuman analyzation powers, Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) an enforcer with powerful hooved feet, Princess Crystal (Isabelle Cornish) who controls ice and flame and her giant mutant bulldog, Lockjaw who has teleportation powers. Got all that?

The plot of the two-hour pilot: Humans keep sending lunar landers to the moon and accidentally crashing them into Atillan’s invisible protective dome. Knowing they are in jeopardy of being discovered, Black Bolt elects to do nothing. Fearing for the safety of their home and disgusted with the Inhumans’ treatment of his fellow humans, Maximus stages a coup, forcing Black Bolt and all of his court – minus Crystal – to evacuate to Hawaii via Lockjaw. En route they are separated by Lockjaw who apparently has cognitive problems because he is well… a dog. Black Bolt accidentally causes a lot of damage to some police cars upon his arrival and remorsefully surrenders to police. After having her head shaved by Maximus, Medusa escapes and ends up riding a bus into Honolulu. Karnak hits his head, loses his powers and becomes lost in the Hawaiian jungle. Gorgon lands on a beach and is saved from drowning by some helpful surfers. Crystal remains Maximus’ prisoner as he vows to track down and kill the rest of the royal family and take over Earth for he and the rest of the “Inhumans” to rule. That’s it.

“Inhumans” was originally slated to be a feature film. Marvel axed that idea and after this pilot aired, I can see why. What I don’t understand is why Marvel dumped a ridiculous amount of money into this pilot and released it in IMAX theaters – which predictably bombed at the box office. The whole idea of “Inhumans” is so goofy, I don’t understand why they were desperate to develop it. Not only that, they spent the last couple of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” seasons setting up for it by introducing humans turning into Inhumans on Earth and hinting at bigger things on the horizon.

Another strange aspect of “Inhumans” is how terrible their society seems. No matter how benevolent the royal family is at heart, their society is an oppressive one. Most of them hate humans and consider Earth a nuisance. The humans with them on the moon are slaves. The royal family seems either unable to change things or are aloof to the problem. If the show continues, it will be interesting to see how they deal this problem. However, they do have an altruistic side: They have launched a campaign to help save the newly identified Inhumans on Earth and welcome them to Atillan, which is nice, but the opening minutes of the pilot prove they are completely inept at this.

The most bizarre aspect of “Inhumans” is now dated the format feels. Instead of a modern sci-fi, fantasy epic or a dirty, gritty TV series, this one comes across like an old, cheesy TV series from the 80’s or 90’s, aimed at kids. This feels more like “Knight Rider” or “Fantasy Island” than “Daredevil” or “Agents of “S.H.I.E.L.D.”. In fact, the classic, cheesy show this most closely resembles is the disastrous “Galactica 1980” which ruined the original “Battlestar Galactica” series by sending all of the characters to Earth, turning the series into a clunky fish-out-of-water format.

Each episode of “Inhumans” was estimated to cost $10 million each. Let that sink in. The critical reception has been disastrous and it will be interesting to see whether it will be rejected by general audiences or not. Yet, I’m strangely interested to continue watching. Not just because I used to read “Inhumans” comics as a kid, but because of the totally bonkers 80’s and early 90’s TV series format. It feels nostalgic for that very reason. In addition to the bad TV shows it reminds me of, it also reminds me of cheesy movies from that era that I adore such as “Flash Gordon” (1980) and “Masters of the Universe” (1987). I’ll never expect it to be good, but it could be fun, especially since it seems to take itself so serious and doesn’t seem to understand how ludicrous it is, and in a world of Norse gods, alien raccoons and giant green Hulks, that’s saying a lot.

“Inhumans” airs on ABC, Fridays at 9/8c.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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