When it originally aired, I was very skeptical of Wolverine and The X-men. I thought that the show’s “gimmick” (setting up Wolverine as a leader surrogate in Prof. X’s absence) was a horrible concept. It felt like it was only meant to serve as a tie-in to the most recent X-movie release (Origins: Wolverine). Also, I didn’t like the new character designs at all. Toad looked too monstrous, Kitty had pigtails, and Cyclops’ new outfit made him look like a penis in a trench coat. Fact.
But after watching X-Men: First Class, I found myself majorly jonesing for some new X-material. I had read a handful of decent reviews about the show, saw this DVD set on sale at the store, and I said to myself: “Eh, why not just buy it? What’s the worse that can happen?”
And I am SO glad that I did.
Folks, “Wolverine and the X-Men” is not just a TV show. It is an epic. And despite Scott Summers’ horrible new phallic wardrobe, it is a purchase that will not disappoint you.
The show has a complex mythology with shoutouts to some of the best storylines from the X-Men universe. You’ve got the Phoenix force causing trouble (natch), the Sentinel project, Mojo and his weird television programming, Sinister’s genetic experiments, Magneto’s mutant paradise, Genosha, The Legacy Cure, everything!
In the past, other X-Shows did cover these storylines, but they were usually depicted in arcs that would span two to three consecutive episodes. Then, the show would move on to another stand-alone episode or arc, which created this feeling of segmentation within a given season.
WATXM really shines in that it feels like a huge movie stretched out over many episodes rather than a series of compartmentalized stories. The effect may not sound significant, but interweaving the arcs in this way takes a whole lot more planning, finesse, and foresight. It actually reminded me of Buffy, where seeds of intrigue are planted, slowly grow during the course of the season, and are finally harvested in a satisfying conclusion wherein all the main storylines converge and the ending beautifully recalls the beginning. Gorgeous.
It’s the narrative equivalent of a dinner, a movie, foreplay, and intercourse rather than a single wham/bam/thank you ma’am moment.
It’s the whole package.
Unfortunately, this narrative strength is probably the same thing that hindered the show’s reception to newcomers trying to keep up with the plot while it was on the air. I can’t imagine the complexity or non-linearity made the show any more accessible to the 8-12 year-olds that it was marketed to. A rotten shame that it wasn’t picked up for a second season!
If you can’t buy it…beg, borrow, or steal.
4 Out Of 5 Stars