In fall of 2015, 20th Century Fox announced plans to tie into its hit ‘X-Men’ film franchise with TV shows on its two major networks, FOX and cable channel FX. The FX series, ‘Legion’, based on the son of Professor Charles Xavier, David Haller (Dan Stevens) made it to air earlier this year and was extremely well-received, with a second season already ordered.
However, FOX’s ‘Hellfire’ did not develop as smoothly and was ultimately scrapped. This past week saw the premiere of ‘The Gifted‘ and by most accounts is another successful entry on the part of 20th Century Fox. The new series follows the exploits of the Strucker family who must go on the run after it is discovered that their children are mutants. But how did this show come to replace ‘Hellfire’?
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner recently admitted”
“It was too many characters ad not enough depth of character.”
It’s no secret that ‘Hellfire’ struggled throughout its development. Despite being ordered straight to series, in January, it lost all of its writers. Evan Katz and Manny Coto left to handle the poorly received ’24: Legacy’. Ultimately, the project was scrapped entirely, as Fox Television Group Chairman/CEO Dana Walden explained:
“We did see an early draft of ‘Hellfire’ and there was a lot of work to be done. Manny and Evan were getting very busy with the new ’24.’ At a certain point we all regrouped, together with Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer and Lauren Shuler Donner and Jeph Loeb at Marvel, and really made a decision. I would say if there was anything about ‘Hellfire’ that was not ideal for us, it felt like a show that wanted to live as a feature rather than really taking advantage of what television does best: exploring relationships and characters and smaller moments. It doesn’t mean it can’t feel like a big show, but ‘Hellfire’ felt more like another installment of the features.”
One Hellfire-related character from the comics, Tessa/Sage appears on ‘The Gifted’ portrayed by Hayley Lovitt.
After it was decided that ‘Hellfire’ wasn’t working, the team began brainstorming a new show that would focus on a family. (Oddly, there are still a ton of characters on this show.) A major conflict stems from the fact that the father, Reed (Stephen Moyer) works for the mutant-hunting Sentinel Services.
‘The Gifted’ is off to a strong start. The ratings for the premiere episode were higher than those of its lead-in ‘Lucifer‘ and its fellow Marvel-based series ‘Inhumans’ on ABC.
What do you think? Did you enjoy ‘The Gifted’ premiere?