When Fox announced The Gifted some X-Men fans scratched their heads. “An X-Men show without the X-Men” sounded, at worst, like a cost-cutting measure, as the superhero team was probably too expensive for TV. But the first season, which wrapped up with a two-part finale on Monday, ended up being a great X-Men story — despite and because the X-Men were MIA.

The lingering question of where the heck the X-Men are is still unanswered, so it was easy to get caught up in the mystery box, continuity puzzles, and comic Easter eggs during the first season. Turns out The Gifted actually wasn’t really interested the X-Men or Brotherhood at all because, as the finale revealed, this was really a show about the next generation.

The Gifted struggled at first when the focus was just on Lauren and Andy Strucker, who are possibly the least-interesting characters in the whole show. Things got much better once the Mutant Underground’s struggle against Sentinel Services took center stage, and then elevated again when the Stepford Cuckoos made their deadly debut and introduced a conflicting, more extremist method of resistance. That’s when the show started to feel familiar, but in a new way. The Underground and the Hellfire Club are stand-ins for the X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, but they’re free of the expectations of those well-known groups even as they’re still tied to their history.

It’s The Force Awakens, except with mutants. In order to tell the story of Star Wars’s next generation, Lucasfilm needed to get the established groups, in this case the Republic/Rebellion and Empire, out of the way. But, to give their struggle weight, we needed that missing past to loom over what’s currently happening.

Both The Gifted and The Force Awakens suffer from the nagging artificiality of the old guard’s absence. The reasons why the X-Men and their like are missing aren’t fully explored because that’s not what the story is about, even as it is about what happens in that vacuum. Still, it feels odd that such a big part of the franchise’s history is being handwaved out of existence, especially when modern fans are so acutely aware of continuity. Heck, that’s why most of my coverage of The Gifted was a goof about looking for Wolverine. That inherent weakness of this type of storytelling — a trope I suspect will be more and more common as old, finished franchises are revived for the next generation — doesn’t matter nearly as much when the story at hand is engaging.

Blink in 'The Gifted.'

A show about Magneto facing off with Professor X again would be rote, at this point, and probably wouldn’t have looked good on TV compared to the movies. It’s a grander, less-personal epic that doesn’t lend itself to the street-level persecution The Gifted’s mutants endured. But, Magneto’s daughter, Polaris, following in her father’s footsteps and embracing a more extremist mode of resistance? That’s an exciting echo, even if Magneto and Professor X had to be glaringly removed. Legion, another X-Men show sans X-Men, did a similar thing, but it’s cerebral story was a much farther leap than The Gifted’s still recognizable structure.

The X-Men, with decades of superhero comics behind them and several blockbuster movies, are a superhero team. The Gifted wanted to tell a scrappier story, and to do that, the X-Men couldn’t be in the picture.

Photos via Fox

It’s only Tuesday, but the latest batch of Fortnite: Battle Royale challenges have already leaked. We actually covered the initial news (and the mystery behind it) last week, but with Season 6 challenges quickly approaching here’s a quick guide on what you can do to prepare for the update (presumably version 5.3).

At the beginning of August, one data miner found a bit of code suggesting an event would happen on August 21 in Fortnite: Battle Royale. With Wednesday’s update, players saw something different in the sky, which could be tied to this upcoming event and maybe even Season 6.

Fortnite players who looked at the sky on Wednesday saw the infamous “crack in the sky” was now smaller by quite a lot. There’s no explanation on why it reduced in size, but it’s definitely noticeable.

When the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama does a fantasy series for Netflix, it inevitably feels a lot like Homer Simpson going to Westeros. But rather than being anything like the legitimate Game of Thrones spoof that happened with the The Simpsons Season 29 premiere, Matt Groening’s Disenchantment sometimes feels like a drunken smattering of fantasy themes and tropes, as if Homer was recapping Game of Thrones but kept getting it confused with other fantasy stories because he had one too many Duff beers.

Now that Fortnite: Battle Royale received its v5.20 patch, the next update for the week comes on Thursday when the Week 5 Challenges go live. Thanks to some data miners, those challenges showed up a bit early, and in the case of this week’s tasks, there’s even a treasure map to inspect.

Shotguns in Fortnite: Battle Royale are probably the most popular weapons in the game. They’re plentiful and do a lot of damage. For those reasons, the weapons are constantly rebalanced by Epic Games and it appears players are in store for another change coming.

Eric Williamson, design lead for Epic Games, tweeted Tuesday about a possible change to the Pump Shotgun. Next week, the developer will release its v5.30 Update for Fortnite: Battle Royale, and it appears this version of the weapon will get a faster equip time. This could make the Pump Shotgun a favorite for players once again.