The Imperfects mixes science and superheroes to build a world where anyone with a little funding can change the world with science, and there’s a secret government agency to hunt down any failed experiments or rogue scientists. The series takes its time to build characters and relationships, and it moves quickly. Almost every time it seems to end a plotline, it throws a curveball and our teen mutants are off on the next part of their adventure. Sure, it’s a little silly, but aren’t all teen science fiction stories? Mixing X-Men, Riverdale, and Fringe, The Imperfects has a little bit of everything for mutant genre lovers…but maybe a little too much.
The protagonists don’t start out as superheroes, nor do they really ever consider themselves as such. As children, they were diagnosed (along with a handful of other kids over the years) with ‘Acute Genetic Decay Syndrome’ (aka AGDC), first discovered by Dr. Sydney Burke (who looks FAR too young to be a scientist with so much expertise, explained away by the Doogie Houser child-genius trope) and later proven by Dr. Alex Sarkov (played by award-winning Australian stand-up comedian Rhys Nicholson). The two scientists injected the children with artificial stem cells that edit the damage caused by AGDC, but the genetic mutation causes…well, mutants.
Our story begins when the three main mutants run out of the medication they take to keep these pesky side effects at bay and seek out Dr. Sarkov for refills, only to find out his lab has been closed for years. This is where they meet Dr. Burke who informs them the pills will no longer do them any good; what they need is a cure. Believing themselves to be monsters, they set out on an adventure to hunt down Dr. Sarkov and force him to cure them at any cost.
The protagonists in The Imperfects have superpowers based on well-known supernatural creatures
Tilda Webber, played by Morgan Taylor Campbell (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) would (and later does) embrace her power of supersonic hearing and a banshee scream if only it didn’t impinge on her rock star aspirations. She is the most angsty of the three main characters, and also the most fun in my opinion. Abbi Singh (Rhianna Jagpal) is an aspiring scientist whose pheromones control anyone who gets a whiff, making her irresistible to those around her much like a succubus – which makes for some uncomfortable family situations. The most bothersome of these “superpowers” is that of Juan Ruiz (Iñaki Godoy) who blacks out and kills small animals when he turns into a Chupacabra at night. In each of these cases, their mutations have alienated them from their immediate families, and they are on their own early in life making them self-sufficient and cunning. While they are on the hunt for Sarkov, they discover that if they learn what manifests their “powers”, they can control, manipulate, and even expand their abilities, and that they are far more effective as a team than going it alone.
During their quest, they discover more of Sarkov’s “children” – as he’s still creating them in his effort to save the world from climate change by making humans genetically adaptable to rapidly changing environmental factors. The most notable of these supes is Doug, who is immortal, but not impervious to pain, which is pretty awful if you think about it. Each time it seems like our unlikely heroes solve one problem or get out of one sticky situation, they find themselves facing an even bigger, stickier roadblock. They manage to run afoul of an assassin hellbent on erasing Dr. Sarkov and his scientific achievements, other supes trying to kill them (or trying to help them, but ultimately almost killing them), underground rogue scientists (I guess that’s a thing), and a government agency created for just these kinds of experiments-gone-wrong.
The Imperfects gets truly wonky at times – well, most of the time – but the relationship between the characters at its core are what keeps the show as grounded as it can be. It is exciting and fun as long as you don’t take it seriously – especially Dr. Sarkov who is such a ridiculous caricature of a person that it is more entertaining than annoyingly far-fetched. Thus, The Imperfects‘ reception is divisive with some reviewers saying to skip it and others putting it in their Top 10 lists. I say check it out, and if it’s not your cup of tea, you’ll know pretty quickly. It is currently streaming on Netflix, no Season 2 has been announced.
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