*This review may contain minor spoilers*
This show was almost a complete mess from start to finish. Anything with superheroes/comic book themes will always get the benefit of the doubt from me, but with the high quality of material out there now, this series just did not cut it.
Everything seemed low budget and amateurish. Most of the costumes were underwhelming. The sets looked cheap and the designs were uninspired. Attilan is supposed to be an exotic locale, but the exterior just looks like an unassuming warehouse district on Earth. Even the main title sequence looks unprofessional and silly. There’s not a huge amount of special effects, but for the most part it looks pretty solid for a television show. In particular, the all CGI Lockjaw looks great, even though he becomes more of a plot device than a character.
What makes or breaks a show is the characters. If you’re invested in them, you can ignore a lot of the subpar aspects of the show. Unfortunately, most of the characters just don’t work. There’s so little insight into their personalities and backstories that you just don’t care much about them. Black Bolt is bland. His face never conveys much emotion, and since the character can’t speak, this is a problem. A big mistake is having to watch him use his sign language and then waiting for another character to react or translate. They may have been better served with using subtitles to let the audience see what he was saying. Medusa loses her god-awful wig and mediocre CGI hair early on, but it leaves her powerless for the remainder of the season. Her story arc ends up missing the mark thanks to a poor set up and a weak follow through. Gorgon was one of the better characters, but they downplayed the comic relief aspect of his character that may have lightened things up for the show. Also, I know the show had a budget, but it seemed silly that a man with horse hooves would own a pair of boots built for people with normal feet. Crystal seemed to have little to do after the early episodes, and despite her power set, she never really makes any impact. The human character, Louise, felt shoehorned in and felt like a watered down version of Felicity from “Arrow.” Maximus was just too poorly written to be the villain he needed to be. His motivations seemed muddied and inconsistent. Even though Iwan Rheon infused some much needed emotion into the character, is just wasn’t enough to make up for the weak writing. The show’s only really good character was Karnak. Like Medusa, he loses his powers early on. A superhero losing their powers can be an interesting character arc, but only after better establishing that character and what their abilities mean to them. However, Karnak attempting to function without his abilities generally works, but the story associated with it does not.
This takes me to the show’s other major flaw. The story just never works. On paper, a royal family getting overthrown is a solid idea, but it is so poorly executed. Basically, they all just end up meandering around Earth until it’s time to set up for the anticlimactic finale. All the subplots are essentially about the main characters meeting various humans and realizing that they’re not all bad. Again, this isn’t the worse idea, but it’s haphazardly done. There’s random subplots like the pot farmers Karnak meets or the love triangle Crystal ends up in. With more time, these could be expanded into something interesting, but there were only eight episodes in this season, and there isn’t time to waste on anything that takes away from the main plot. There are a few action sequences to keep things interesting, but they’re poorly staged and surprisingly short.
Mediocre acting, terrible production design, and superheroes that don’t do anything, give us a show that just limps along to a climax that is just as uneventful as the seven episodes that preceded it.
Season’s best episode: “Behold…The Inhumans” (Episode 1): As bad as everything looked, there was still potential as this point and all the pieces were in place for a unique superhero story.
Season’s worst episode: “Divide and Conquer” (Episode 3): This is where the show began to lose me. The action sequences were weak. The lame subplots were being introduced, and it was going to be at the expense of the main plot, which already ran out of steam.
* out of *****