Success Still On The Cards?
It would be easy to declare Inhumans a flop if the IMAX movie had been the entire project, or to caution fans to reserve judgment if the series was dealing with negativity before actually coming to television. However, the current situation is a totally unprecedented one that fits neither category. Fans and critics have seen a large chunk of the series in cinemas, but it's not over yet, and the true success of the show may well be judged based on network ratings. There is still room for Inhumans to become a success, and the negative press may even help that along.
The hype around the series may be overwhelmingly negative, but it's still hype. In fact, the bad reactions may have sparked more interest than positive ones would have. As a result of the IMAX failure, speculation is swirling around the franchise, with fans wondering if it will be canceled early, and even if it was only intended as a one-season deal. The publicity will certainly mean that more casual fans are hearing more about the show than they might have otherwise. Marvel is also known as such a powerhouse that the idea of a truly awful Marvel series may bring in curious viewers - those who just want to see what it looks like when Marvel misses the mark by this much. Of course, Marvel TV as a whole has failed to live up to the standards set by Marvel Movies, but this seems to be the first time that there are absolutely no defenders of the series after the first two episodes.
The Appeal Of So-Bad-It's-Good
The show may even end up becoming a success as that rare and fascinating thing - a series beloved for being so bad that it's actually kinda good. Inhumans has all the right ingredients to become a SOBIG (so-bad-it's-good): good actors in a terrible production, laughable effects, a vaguely campy concept that is hard to take seriously, and negative reviews that are bad, but not controversial. The surprise element of it being a Marvel property that fails so hard, and the fascination that has built up over the past few years of the Inhumans' struggle to make it into production also adds to the possibility that this show becomes a hit - not in spite of its flaws, but because of them.
SOBIG movies and shows are popular because they are ridiculous, and from the sounds of it, Inhumans is certainly ridiculous. There is something very enjoyable about watching something that the viewer isn't expected to take seriously, that they can love to hate, and gleefully tear apart afterwards. It's car crash viewing, where only fictional characters get hurt. Marvel-haters will take pleasure in watching something unequivocally bad from the studio, while Marvel fans will laugh it off and enjoy it anyway, and casual fans may be drawn in to see if it's as bad as everyone says. Combined, that's enough for a spectacular opening - if it happens, of course.
The Future Of The Inhumans
Of course, all of this is still speculation, and it won't be until after the premiere airs that we see whether or not the negative hype turns Inhumans into a surprise victory for Marvel. At this point in time, the show's future is very up in the air: although some thought that the wording on a poster meant that it was intended as a one-season show, ABC has refuted this idea. Any other show would be facing cancellation with reviews like this, but as part of the MCU, will the Marvel Overlords save it for the sake of how it ties in to the rest of the universe? Agents of SHIELD was just rescued from cancellation by Disney, proving that this is a possibility, so ABC may be required to keep moving forward with a second season, no matter what. No matter what happens, the hope is that Marvel can learn from their mistakes, and introduce the next major series with a little more panache.