Inhumans: Will We Ever Run Out of Superheroes?

Premise

Inhumans is shaping up to be a struggle between two royal brothers, neither of whom deserves a kingdom. One condemns the powerless to slavery in the mines while the other covets the throne. It’s impossible to pick a side.

The king is quite the metaphorical loose cannon because speaking unleashes his lethal power. Perhaps they made him king out of fear, but why aren’t the other inhumans vigilant for the first opportunity to gag him and toss him out an airlock?

Then there’s the ceremony where those coming of age are transformed into inhumans. After the king got his power, spoke, and turned all ceremony spectators into meat paste, why do the royal family, the genetic council, and various other looky loos show up for these things anymore? Even if each inhuman power is unique, there’s always the danger that some newly transformed inhuman will melt flesh with a fart or dissolve habitat walls with a glance. Rather than attending, I’d be in a spacesuit under my bed, just in case.

Finally, one of the characters claims that the tight quarters on the lunar habitat forced them into a caste system. Given that royals keep most of the wealth—along with the best food, clothing, and housing—how exactly does a caste system help the colony survive?

Casting

It’s hard to judge casting when personalities are hidden behind high-court formal dialogue. Throw in superhero posturing and we have no idea who these people are. The actors get nothing to work with except leather, hairdos, and heels.

Show Runner: “You’re the one with the red hair.”
Actor: “Cool. I can method act the hell out of red hair.”

Directing

The entire cast was on the same page and I didn’t catch anyone in the act of acting, so the director did his job. The camera work is spot on, so he obviously didn’t meddle with the director of photography. I won’t say it’s great directing, but at least he took a stance of non-interference which, sadly, also works well in series TV.

Story

Only one thing stands out as story and that’s the king’s brother’s ambition to take over the throne. His motivation is jealousy, but that’s the sum total of emotional content here. At least it’s the only part brought to the forefront. Personally, I think the more engaging story is among the slaves. These people are condemned to the mines because they don’t change during the transformation ceremony. Their angst, suffering, and attempts to revolt would have much greater emotional impact.

Plot

The plot for these first two episodes is simple and effective, but I’d expect nothing less in the current all-action-all-the-time atmosphere of TV production.

The king’s brother leads a coup, capturing or killing anyone who stands in his way, but if he were serious about seizing power and keeping it, he wouldn’t stop at taking away the queen’s power. He’d kill her. And he’d shoot the king before he could open his mouth. It makes no sense to leave enemies alive in situations like this. Just ask Dr. No.

Writing

Multiple writers were assigned to this script (credited or not) but no one told them they could talk to each other.

For instance, the inhumans have sophisticated technology, but when the king arrives Earth-side and encounters a cell phone, he behaves like he’s confronted evil magic.

Elsewhere, a royal minion sneers at lithium battery on a lunar rover, but later, the queen cuts short a conversation on her wristband communicator for no apparent reason except—I presume—to preserve battery life. I guess one writer missed a meeting.

And all this advanced inhuman technology—including that which allows them to survive in an invisible habitat on the moon—doesn’t include video chat on mobile devices. Perhaps that’s why the king freaked out when he saw a cell phone camera.

Another example comes a few scenes after the usurper appears on holo-TV to announce that the king has abandoned his kingdom. A minion tells the usurper, “Word is spreading [that the king is gone].” Spread to whom? Usurper-brother already told everyone.

This is Me Changing the Channel

I doubt I’ll be tuning in for this series again, not because the show doesn’t have high production values or because the cast and crew don’t do their jobs well. Considering what they have to work with, they do their best. Game of Thrones fans will eat this up, but I’ll be staying away for two reasons: 1) I don’t care about the outcome of a royal squabble, and 2) I’m tired of superheroes, especially when they abandon noblesse oblige.

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