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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marvel's Inhumans is a series about otherworldly superheroes with super powers and their challenges. As is common in superhero dramas, battles are frequent and can be bloody. Characters are killed on-screen; we see blood but no gore. Battles may be hand-to-hand combat, sometimes augmented with super strength or other powers, or gun battles. Language is limited to mild and infrequent oaths -- "hell" -- and alcohol to the occasional drinking of a beer or cocktail by adults. Two characters have sex, but all we see are their entwined feet, moving in rhythm, and we hear moaning. Women and people of color have strong roles in this series, and while it's middling Marvel fare, teen superhero fans may want to check it out.
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What's the story?
In MARVEL'S INHUMANS, Medusa (Serinda Swan) and Black Bolt (Anson Mount) rule over the kingdom of the Inhumans -- beings who look largely human, but boast more-than-human powers. But all is not calm in Atillan, their hidden city on the moon, where most of the population toils in mines while the royal family lives in luxury. The royal balance of power tips when Black Bolt's brother Maximus (Iwan Rheon) launches a coup and engages the lower class members of Atillan's society. Now is the time for true equality amongst the Inhumans, argue Maximus and his followers. Meanwhile on Earth, as the mysterious substance terrigen contaminates the water, strange new powers are appearing in people born human. Has the time finally arrived when the Inhumans can no longer remain concealed, and must grapple with their enemies on Earth as well as on the moon?
Is it any good?
With intriguing storylines and compelling characters, this superhero entry has promise, but it's also plagued by a distinct cheesiness. Viewers used to seeing superhero tales told with lusher sets and more elegant costumes and lighting may be distressed at how flat this drama looks. Most scenes are glaringly shot on sound stages (dubiously dressed up with stage design that looks stolen from Flash Gordon -- the 1936 version), the wigs are truly terrible, the lighting and effects makeup strangely reminiscent of -- but not as effective as -- the effects on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Oh, and the CGI. The CGI is bad, particularly the giant teleporting bulldog, Lockjaw.
And yet, Inhumans isn't devoid of charm. Setting much of the action in an otherworldly city that reads like a Mount Olympus full of gods is a good move, as is focusing on the political implications of a world in which many people are downtrodden so that a favored few can live in ease. Dropping hints about a growing contamination on Earth is another relatable subplot. Having seen the terrigenesis process, in which regular humans are made Inhuman by deliberately exposing them to terrigen mist, viewers can darkly imagine what powers will crop up as terrigen spreads in the water supply. Make no mistake; this series isn't as trippy as Legion or as gripping as Netflix's superhero entries like Luke Cage or Jessica Jones. But the storytelling is interesting, and viewers who love sci-fi may find themselves swept away -- if not dazzled.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why dramas like Marvel's Inhumans about superheroes are so popular right now. What about these types of characters is appealing to audiences right now? What can superheroes do that we can't?
TV shows and movies often try to heighten drama by giving a conflict "stakes" -- complications that make things more compelling or emotional to viewers, something they might relate to. How does Marvel's Inhumans raise the stakes in the battle between Inhumans and humans, and between different factions of the Inhumans?
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