“Inhumans” and “The Gifted”: Marvel’s diminishing returns

Knowing the history of “X-Men” isn’t a prerequisite to enjoying “The Gifted,” although viewers with a passing acquaintance with its mythos may give it a bit more patience than those who come to it cold. That shouldn't prove to be much of a barrier; the hero team is a pop-culture standard these days, as are Marvel’s “Daredevil” and DC’s “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “Gotham.”

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” benefits from a theatrical fist bump with Marvel’s “Avengers” universe — which in a few weeks unleashes its latest chapter, “Thor: Ragnarok.” That film stars Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as a goddess of destruction, and Mark Ruffalo as the human face of a rage-fueled green giant. And very soon — Netflix isn't saying when — audiences will get to see Jon Bernthal helm “The Punisher.”

We’re down for all of this.

“Inhumans,” less so. The new actioner, which premiered last night, smacks of a project that came about after someone from ABC went to Marvel’s offices, poked around the cupboards and mumbled, “Sooo . . . what else you got in here?”

And Marvel replied, “How about a story of a deposed superhuman royal family hiding out in Hawaii?” And Stan Lee, watching on a monitor inside his subterranean lair, cackled maniacally at the knowledge that in 2017, he can sell a box of hair to a major television network for millions of dollars.

ABC likely envisioned that “Inhumans” would pair well with veteran series “Once Upon a Time,” returning Friday, Oct. 6 for what could be its final season.  Like that drama, “Inhumans” follows a kingdom in turmoil, after its king, Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and queen Medusa (Serinda Swan) are overthrown by the king’s brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon). Luckily, Black Bolt and Medusa’s trusted teleport-a-pug whisks them and their trusted guards Karnak (Ken Leung) and Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) down to the Big Island to hang out with the tourists.

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