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Inhumans

Inhumans is an ABC network action\adventure\sci-fi\superhero drama series based on the Marvel Comics race of the same name, created by Scott Buck.

The show aired from September 29 to November 10, 2017, lasting for one season & 8 episodes. It was produced by ABC Studios, Marvel Television and Devilina Productions.

Plot

The series centered on the Inhuman Royal Family as they escape to Hawaii after a military coup where they must save the world and themselves.

Cast

Production

Development

A film based on the Inhumans was first mentioned as being in development in a March 2011 trade report.

In October 2014, Marvel Studios officially announced the film as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase Three, with a release date of November 2, 2018.

Producer Kevin Feige said, "We really do believe the Inhumans can be a franchise or a series of franchises unto themselves. They have dozens of powers and an amazing social structure. With our 20th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we wanted to continue to refine what that universe is about."

The following December, the Inhuman species was introduced during the second season of Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." that began a storyline that recurred throughout the series moving forward.

In April of 2016, the film was officially taken off of Marvel's release schedule, though it was not outright canceled.

After the film's cancellation, Jed Whedon, executive producer and showrunner on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., noted that series had "a little more freedom" and were "able to do a little bit more" with the species going into the fourth season, including the potential of introducing some of the "classic" Inhumans.

In May 2016, after ABC had canceled Marvel's "Agent Carter" and passed on Marvel's "Most Wanted", ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said that Marvel and ABC were looking "at series that would be beneficial to both brands" moving forward.

In November, Feige said that "Inhumans will happen for sure. I don't know when. I think it's happening on television. And I think as we get into Phase 4 as I've always said, it could happen as a movie."

Shortly after, Marvel Television and IMAX Corporation announced the eight-episode television series Inhumans, to be produced in conjunction with ABC Studios and air on ABC.

Marvel Studios decided that the characters were better suited to television, and a series would be better than trying to fit the multiple planned franchise films around the studio's existing film franchises.

Inhumans is not intended to be a reworking of the planned film, nor a spin-off from "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." but it is set in the same shared universe.

In December, Scott Buck, the showrunner for the first season of the Marvel Netflix series, "Iron Fist" was revealed to also be executive producing and showrunning Inhumans. Jeph Loeb and Jim Chory also executive produce the series.

IMAX serves as a financing partner on the series, the first time it had done so for a television series, paying completely for the first two episodes. IMAX had originally approached Marvel about the deal after a successful IMAX event with "Game of Thrones" in 2015.

Because of this deal, Marvel was able to spend more on Inhumans than it has on its other shows, especially for visual effects, which have been criticized in series like "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

ABC also hoped that partnering with IMAX would attract a larger audience to the series than its previous Marvel shows, similar to the "buzz-creating, widely watched series" that Marvel provides to Netflix, and perhaps even draw more viewers to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s fifth season in the 2017–18 television season.

Ben Sherwood (president of Disney–ABC Television Group) described the deal as "a quadruple win—a win for IMAX, a win for Marvel, a win for ABC Studios and a win for ABC to launch a show in an innovative way and get attention" in an increasingly crowded market for original television series.

Buck felt working with IMAX "gave us a lot more freedom and pushed and encouraged us to think a little bit bigger than we would if it was just a normal network show. We just wanted to think bigger in terms of scope, and what we were seeing, and how we bring these characters to the audience."

Loeb cautioned that "Inhumans" was "a television show that is premiering in an IMAX theater" rather than a film, but that it would still be a spectacle, and "a unique way to be able to see TV".

Writing

Buck said that "Inhumans" would be "a family drama with one big story leading us through the season", rather than a procedural series like "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", and though the initial IMAX release was intended to be "something that absolutely stands on its own", he hoped it would "intrigue people enough to make them want to watch the rest of the show".

On incorporating the more fantastical elements associated with the Inhumans, Buck said they would be leaned on "to a certain extent, yes, but again, we approach these all as real people who just happen to have these abilities, so they're all very grounded people. ... We want their powers to seem like a very natural part of their personality."

The season is set both on Earth and in the Inhuman city of Attilan, which is on the Moon and tells an original story inspired by elements from the comics (including Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee's 1998-99 "Inhumans" series).

Buck said that the season's story arc "will be complete by the end of the season, but also open us up to a whole other potential storyline".

The story puts the characters in situations where using their powers would not help them get, to help "view the characters as people with super powers, rather than as superheroes only".

Compared to other superhero series such as Marvel's Netflix series, Inhumans is more appropriate for children, though with some "parental guidance."

It was reported that the "underpinning scripts" were a point of contention between ABC and Marvel for the series, with network executives expressing concern to Marvel early on.

Casting

In late February 2017, Iwan Rheon was cast as Maximus, followed shortly by Anson Mount as Black Bolt.

There was no audition for the role of Black Bolt since the character does not speak, with Mount instead cast due to an existing relationship with Loeb, who felt Mount would fit the role.

At the start of March, the series added Serinda Swan as Medusa, Ken Leung as Karnak, Eme Ikwuakor as Gorgon, Isabelle Cornish as Crystal and Ellen Woglom as Louise.

During the time from her audition to being cast, Swan had also been cast in the HBO series Ballers, which necessitate a negotiation between the two series to ensure Swan would be allowed to appear on both.

Mike Moh and Sonya Balmores were also cast in March 2017 as Triton and Auran, respectively; Also during that same month, comic writer Charles Soule indicated that the series would feature some NuHumans as well, including some he created in his Inhuman comic book.

In June of 2017, Henry Ian Cusick revealed he would be portraying Evan Declan in the series.

Marketing

ABC, IMAX, and Marvel Television looked to create a joint marketing and promotion plan for the series across their proprietary media platforms, which would be the first such cross-platform marketing launch of a television series.

This approach was described by industry analysts as "a can't-miss cross-platform push."

A teaser for the series was released ahead of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" IMAX screenings (as well as online) in early May 2017.

It followed the release of a cast photo which Dana Schwartz at Observer.com called "pretty lame ... Overall, the look of the entire royal family is 'group that met on Craigslist to try to win a costume contest, with varying levels of commitment."

James Whitbrook of Gizmodo said "some of these costumes work way better than others": Black Bolt "probably comes out the best", Crystal "gets some points for effort", but Medusa looks "like she's trying to do a particularly low-budget cosplay of Game of Thrones' Sansa Stark".

Analyzing the response to the series on Twitter, marketing firm Amobee counted 27,000 tweets concerning the series between May 4 and May 9, with 17 and 7 percent of that specifically mentioning "hair" or "wig", respectively, referencing Swan's hair in the photo which was particularly criticized.

Thirty-five percent of the tweets were deemed negative, and just 26% positive, with Amobee principle brand analyst Jonathan Cohen saying, "The high level of audience engagement in Marvel TV shows is a double-edged sword for the company. On one hand, there's great anticipation around any nugget of information for an upcoming TV series. On the other hand, when a segment of that audience is disappointed, that reaction is magnified".

The first trailer for the series was screened exclusively at ABC's advertiser upfront presentation on May 17, 2017. Reactions praised the visuals for Lockjaw and quelled some of the criticism regarding the costumes.

The first public trailer for "Inhumans" was released on June 29, after footage had leaked online from the upfront reveal and was met to mainly negative reactions.

Cast members appeared at San Diego Comic-Con International 2017 to promote the series, where exclusive footage was shown. The panel concluded with an extended trailer for the series, which was also released online, and appeared before IMAX screenings of the film Dunkirk.

Fans in attendance at the panel enjoyed the footage, with Swan feeling the positive fan response to the completed effects for Medusa's hair was "vindication".

However, critics were not as positive about the footage.

In August, the first episode was released for critics to view ahead of the series' Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour panel, but initial reactions posted online were shortly taken down.

At the TCA event, Dungey and Loeb both addressed criticisms of the first episode's quality. The panel was cut short by ABC, and was widely considered by critics in attendance to be "awkward" and "uncomfortable".

The Washington Post's Michael Cavna called the marketing for the series at this point "positively awful", noting "the harder the show's sales force tries to scrub the early stench, the more the entire enterprise stinks to some Marvel fans", and that it would need more "positive word of mouth" before its release to entice fans to see the series in IMAX.

Later in August, exclusive clips from "Inhumans" were shown at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Broadcast History

The first two episodes of "Inhumans" (totaling 75 minutes) premiered in Los Angeles, California at Universal CityWalk on August 28, 2017, before debuting on 667 IMAX screens in 67 countries on September 1, 2017, where it ran for two weeks.

The episodes premiered in IMAX theaters in Italy and Germany on September 15, and in Korea on September 22, eventually playing on more than 1,000 IMAX screens in over 74 countries.

ABC then broadcast the series weekly, starting with the first two episodes on September 29, 2017, with those first two episodes featuring an additional 9 minutes of exclusive content outside of the versions screened on IMAX. The first season consisted of eight episodes.

CTV acquired the broadcast rights for Canada, while Sky acquired them for the United Kingdom.

Cancellation

By September 2017, Buck and the series' crew "generally [knew] where the first three seasons could go", with Buck noting that "there's always going to be places" to take the different family members. He also said that there was a set point from where work on a second season would start.

Nellie Andreeva of Deadline Hollywood ultimately labelled the show's first season "underwhelming" and considered it "dead" by March 2018.

On May 11, 2018, ABC officially canceled "Inhumans."

Reception

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 11% approval rating for "Inhumans", with an average rating of 3.63/10 based on 44 reviews.

The website's consensus states: "Marvel's Inhumans sets a new low standard for the MCU with an unimaginative narrative, dull design work, weak characters, and disengaging soapy melodrama."

Metacritic assigned a score of 27 out of 100 based on 20 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".

Reviews for the first two episodes that released in IMAX were mainly negative from critics.

In his review of the first episodes, TVLine's Matt Webb Mitovich said, "If the pace and ingenuity [from the second half] continues to ramp up, Inhumans, with just six more episodes to go, could prove to be a serviceable Marvel 'event' series – though maybe not enough so that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will forgive that series' delayed return."

Brian Lowry of CNN noted, "If the eight-episode Inhumans fails, it could shine a spotlight on the fact Marvel has generally lagged behind" Warner Bros. Television and DC Comics, who produce the Arrowverse series for The CW.

After the release of the final episode, Kofi Outlaw of ComicBook.com said, "In the end, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that Inhumans is anything but a complete failure - one of the worst that the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise has ever seen... we've never seen a case like Inhumans, where there was a major IMAX theatrical release that fell flat, before a disappointing TV run."

James Whitbrook at io9 felt "Inhumans tried to do a lot of things, and did none of them particularly well." He continued that he would have been "amazed" if the series received a second season, and felt once the fifth season of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." returned to present-day Earth from space, the "Attilan Inhumans could make for a really good season-long plotline. Arguably, that's probably what Inhumans should've been instead of its own messy, miserable show."

In his review for the final episode, Entertainment Weekly's Christian Holub felt that the show "will probably be forgotten in the greater MCU, though it would be kind of fun to check in on them at some point."

Reviewing the season, Matt Liparota of Destructoid concluded, "Inhumans is a work with almost nothing of value for anyone. It's not even an interesting train wreck. It's just a boring, lifeless slog easily shooting to the top of the list of the worst things the MCU has produced in its near-decade of existence."

Marc Buxton of Den of Geek was a bit more positive, feeling the show "ended up being more enjoyable than the dreadful opening two hours would have indicated", but was "still Marvel's first swing and a miss... Inhumans just kind of exists in its own low budget bubble... [that] came and went with a whimper."

Buxton wanted a second season for the series, having enjoyed the cast and some of the characters, and hoped Marvel would have "lean into a proper Inhumans series and not a half assed one."

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