Oh The Inhumanity
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Inhumans is not a good show. It’s not the hottest take, I know, but its worth mentioning once again for anyone thinking “well, maybe it’s not as bad as people are saying”.
Inhumans is boring, completely misunderstands the major characters, and is really just a perfect representation of how not to introduce a complex mythology to an audience that doesn’t have a clue what the names Black Bolt, Lockjaw, or Karnak mean. Even worse, it’s all but assured that ABC and even Disney know the show is a dud, especially when you compare current posters that now say “the complete series event” instead of “first season”. Hell, it even had a dismal premiere in IMAX screens at the beginning of September. So yeah, Inhumans is a colossal failure in every sense of the word. And that’s probably a good thing.
Look, Marvel Studios has been on an unbelievable hot streak the last few years. Ever since the surprise success of Guardians of the Galaxy back in 2014, they’ve had nothing but hit after hit in the movie department, and while their TV shows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter didn’t light up the Nielson ratings, they still had pretty dedicated fanbases. But this past year has been a rough one for the studio when it came to the small screen. Iron Fist was the combo breaker for their otherwise solid Netflix shows, and The Defenders, the show that should’ve been the Netflix equivalent of The Avengers, came and went with not much of an impact. Now with Inhumans arriving with all the fervor of a flaming bag on your front porch, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility to wonder just why Marvel isn’t willing to admit to their mistakes, which are plenty when it comes to Iron Fist and Inhumans.
It’s probably a matter of hubris. Look, for all the crap we give Warner Bros and DC Entertainment, their TV show output is pretty damn spectacular. The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl routinely outshine Marvel’s network shows and are able to deliver the kinds of thrills and character work that their movie division could only dream of. As much as they don’t want to admit it, Marvel Studios could stand to learn a lot from the way WB handles their superhero properties on TV. The current Marvel model of just barreling through the bad press and acting like it’s not a big deal isn’t working, and while Iron Fist and Inhumans are the only truly terrible things Marvel Studios has been involved in, there’s always the chance that more and more projects like this could irrevocably ruin the Marvel brand.
Instead of going forward with Iron Fist season two, or god forbid, more episodes of The Inhumans, Marvel could gain a lot of respect for admitting their mistakes with these shows and just taking the hits they deserve. Acting like nothing is wrong and continuing to put out a less than stellar product will only lead to angry fans that will end up bailing (just look at their comics from the last few years for a great example). As bad as Inhumans is, hopefully there’s a silver lining in that it’ll be the wake up call Marvel needs to put out quality television again.