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Apparently the Marvel Inhumans Panel at TCA Was, Um, Awkward

According to reports, the Television Critics Association panel on Marvel’s upcoming ABC series Inhumans did not go well by any conceivable measurement of “well,” and the panel ended abruptly. This piles onto the poor buzz Inhumans has been generating.

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Last week we wrote that in addition to less-than-impressive trailers, an initial review from Spoiler TV called Inhumans’ pilot “simply awful.” What Inhumans needed was some good word-of-mouth to overcome the bad buzz, because, hey, we can be wrong about this sort of thing! Plenty of shows get off to a wobbly start and go on to be great.

But in presenting to a roomful of television critics, the Inhumans panel instead sounds like a train wreck (a really awkward one), with cast members bemoaning their lot, Executive Vice President of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb less than happy about questions, and an inauspicious ending when the panel was cut short by ABC.

Comic Book Movie reported:

When one reporter asked star Anson Mount (Black Bolt) how he felt about the negative reception the series, he responded: “You’re making me feel like Ben Affleck right now,” a nod to the infamous video of Ben Affleck’s response to being asked about bad Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice reviews.

Mount was, of course, referencing Affleck’s fallen face that would go on to earn its own hashtag and meme, #SadAffleck. It’s not a great look when your star is evoking one of our more infamously sad faces and maligned properties to explain how he feels about his show’s poor reception.

(via Giphy)

Things then got even weirder. It seems as though the critics’ questions—which they were there to ask, after all—got dodged and deflected by the panelists.

OK, so this all sounds painful—both for the critics and the cast and creatives. Per Comic Book Movie,

Jeph Loeb would only serve to make things more awkward when he started snapping at reporters asking legitimate questions. One asked whether or not Inhumans had turned out as good as he had hoped and was met with this: “I can tell you that it was written on the material that you were given that the show that you have seen is not the finished product. If you’re asking me whether or not it was done, it’s not. So to be perfectly honest, I don’t understand your question.”

According to Deadline, Loeb’s answer in this regard was in response to a question that the show “did not appear IMAX-centric,” which is another concern, since Inhumans is being billed as the first TV show that will debut on IMAX screens prior to its later TV release. This is a big deal with even more ramifications than just the premiere of another Marvel show, and it could make or break future plans to undertake similar ventures.

I’ve interviewed Loeb before and he’s one extremely tough cookie—trying to get a hint of a spoiler about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from him was like pulling teeth out of a rhinoceros. It’s understandable that Loeb would feel protective of Inhumans, which he’s executive producing, especially considering the amount of bad press the show is collecting even before its September bow. But snapping at a roomful of TV critics doesn’t exactly make for better optics. It’s not as though after that panel experience they’re going to emerge feeling particularly endeared to Inhumans. If anything, it made the buzz worse.

However, credit to where good credit is due. Actress Serinda Swan, who plays Medusa, sounded like she handled questions about Medusa’s much-maligned wig with grace and humor. “There were definitely days shooting in Hawaii with a four-pound red wig down to my shins, which felt like a very warm cat settling on my head, one that I was probably allergic to,” she said. “It’s never been done before so there are going to be issues. There are going to be trial and tribulations. I think there was software that actually had to be built with it. If we only did things that were perfect we would never start and so it’s a really phenomenal start.”

Maybe we should take Swan’s words to heart in regards to the entirety of the Inhumans production: “If we only did things that were perfect we would never start.” Inhumans may not be perfect at the moment, but no one can say for certain how it’s going to end up.

We can be patient for now, as has been requested—but it would also be good to see reports of the creatives taking fan and critical concern to heart and responding congenially. We’re all in this thing because we want to see Marvel continue to tell great stories, after all.

(via Comicbookmovie, Deadline, images: Marvel/ABC)

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Kaila Hale-Stern
Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.

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