Note, I am not talking about the US series The Gifted but the 2018 series from Thailand. That series is also NOT a remake or reboot or something from the US series. They are totally separate things and having nothing to do with each other. They just share the same name.
I still remember when The Gifted aired. I was watching a different show at the time and really had a different impression from The Gifted than what the show actually is and so I didn’t watch it even though it features one of my favourite actors.
I don’t really know how big of a hit or a flop it was but I can only say: to everyone who watched it, I seriously doubt it could be anything but amazing. The Gifted managed to get into my all-time favourite TV series worldwide list. No kidding, I mean it. It’s like with wedding dresses, you never think the first one could be the right one. With this show I didn’t think it could be one of my favourites after just two days but yes, it is. So let’s get deeper into what the series is about.
Note: I will not really mention the reality criticism behind the show since I’m neither from Thailand nor do I know much about their education system, so I’m not here to judge their system. I’m just here to judge and review the show 🙂
Note 2: the first part of the post is without spoilers but when the spoilers start, I will put a notice!
The Gifted – General
The Gifted is a 2018 Thai TV series that aired from August ’til November on GMMTV. It consists of 13 episodes and is available with English subs on the official GMMTV channel on Youtube (See Here). It is based on a Thai movie called The Gifted that came out in 2015 and that is known to criticize the Thai education system where academic success trumps everything else and unfair treatment directly relates to it (by the way, I’m not saying it is like that, I’m just saying they portray it like that). I have not watched the movie yet so I cannot tell you how that one is though.
The show has four directors according to mydramalist: O Patha Thongpan (ThirTEEN Terrors; Malee: The Series), Waasuthep Ketpetch (ThirTEEN Terrors; Malila: The Farewell Flower), Dome Jarupat Kannula (The Golden Hand Chef) and Sand Dhammarong Sermrittirong (The Gifted – movie; The Golden Hand Chef). Don’t ask me how these four seemingly totally different people got together but I compliment them on making such an amazing show.
The story is about a school that not only has the usual classes separated by years but also separates them in 8 different classes. Class 1 is academically the best and they get the best equipment, preferential treatment as well as an earlier lunch break so they get more food. Class 8 gets the worst equipment, worst rooms and has the latest lunch break when almost nothing is left. Once a semester the school holds a placement test and some students are chosen to also participate in the Gifted class, a special additional class everyone wants to get into. Pang, a student of Class 8, isn’t really keen on being the best, he just wants the unfair treatment to stop but he gets the shock of his life when he gets called to the Gifted class after the test. And since all students from the Gifted class are from Classes 1, 2 and 3, he feels like the black sheep and like he doesn’t belong. Well, soon the 10 students of the class discover that there might be a different reason they got into the Gifted class than what they originally thought.
The cast consists of quite a few actors and actresses you might know from other shows, if you keep up to date with GMMTV shows in general.
There is Nanon Korapat Kirdpan (Oh in My Dear Loser Series: Edge of 17; S in Senior Secret Love Series) as our main protagonist Pang. He’s also gonna star in the 2019 upcoming series Blacklist (so excited for that!!). He plays the main lead who acts less like a hero than I would have expected in the beginning but is pretty much the only one really trying to change the system and realising how wrong it is. Pang, the character, does kind of have a naive perspective but he is still a teenager so you cannot really be mad at him for it. Also he does not kid himself into total naive thinking but knows when he has to play it smart.
Also we have the other gifted students:
Chimon Wachirawit Ruangwiwat (Sun in My Dear Loser: Edge of 17 and Our Skyy) as Wave. He’s currently starring as Prince in He’s Coming To Me. While he acted as the nice kid in other shows this time he is kind of the main lead’s enemy, although not the main antagonist. For me he really hit it home since with this role he really convinced as the bad guy while I’m only used to him as a good guy.
Lilly Apichaya Thongkham (Bell in The Promise; Snoopy in Love Songs Love Series) as Namtarn. This girl is sixteen. Yes you heard right. I have never been so surprised. I mean you do notice she is still young and does not have as much acting experience as some others but she still has solid acting. She plays Namtarn, another naive thinker who loves the gifted class and would do everything do be there. She is also close friends with Pang and Ohm.
Jane Ramida Jiranorraphat (White in Part Time: The Series) as Claire. She also starred in the main role in My Dear Loser: Edge of 17. A lot of people criticized her in My Dear Loser, although not just because of her acting but also because the role was…well, not that great. Well, in this show she plays a totally different character. Claire is a pretty girl who loves to stick it in other people’s faces that she’s better than them. But over time you see that she is still a normal girl. I loved her chemistry with Gun as Punn (see below). While I was kind of on the edge about them being something like a couple in the show, I was convinced during watching and totally rooted for them. Also her acting improved soooo much!
Gun Atthaphan Phunsawat (Rome in Senior Secret Love Series and Our Skyy) as Punn. If you don’t know him, you did not spend much time on this website or with GMMTV shows, especially not in the BL sector. He also acted in the show ThirTEEN Terrors and is starring in the upcoming 2019 show Theory of Love. Gun has proven multiple times over the years that he can act and in this show it is no different. While GMMTV does have a steady cast of good young actors now that can act convincingly, I do think there are not that many that could have pulled of Punn. He is a perfect guy that can pretty much do anything but is also under a lot of pressure from the people around him. I loved how he definitely had a weakness for Claire and suddenly became sweet every time she was there.
Sing Harit Cheewagaroon (Per in Love Sick The Series; Din in Senior Secret Love Series) as Ohm. While he’s not starred in many main lead roles he has appeared in soooo many other shows as a recurring character. From Slam Dance the Series to the My Dear Loser series. Currently he’s starring as Khiaokem in He’s Coming To Me. He’s proven over time that he really developed as an actor and while the kind of characters he plays do not change much he shows that he can show a wide range of emotions. I think in regards to GMMTV actors he definitely had the best development. He started awkward and can now convince in his role. He plays Ohm, Pang’s new friend in the gifted class with a lot of humor and who wants to make the class laugh and have a good time but tends to lose his things all the time.
Fiat Pattadon Janngeon (Graph in Slam Dance The Series; Dae in Sotus S: The Series) as Korn. He’s also appeared in a lot of shows as a supporting actor and will star in the upcoming 2019 show A Gift For Whom You Hate. For me his acting was really good and nice but I really did not like his character. His character was kind of annoying but turned around in the end and kind of got more likeable. But you notice that it is his character that was the problem because his acting was convincing and emotional.
Puimek Napasorn Weerayuttvilai (Ainam in My Dear Loser: Edge of 17; Khao Fang in Sotus S: The Series) as Mon. She’s also appeared in a few other shows and will star with Fiat in the 2019 show A Gift For Whom You Hate. She has also acted in a lot of shows I watched and I think his one is her best. She definitely developed well as an actress and shows that she can play serious characters too.
These are all the main actors and mainly featured gifted students. Most of them you should know from My Dear Loser: Edge of 17 and ThirTEEN Terrors.
But now, after this long list of actors, let’s get to the real review.
SPOILERS AHEAD – I won’t spoil the ending though!
The story – best pacing but no surprises
One thing that can cost you viewers is the pacing of a story. Some people dislike slow storytelling, some dislike if it is too fast and too many things happening at the same time. Well, The Gifted found a good solution for it. There is a general story line underlying everything but it features a lot of minor story lines that get resolved (at least to some degree) quite fast but feature as a good distraction from the main story line not really going anywhere for some episodes. The main story line is an underlying element for the whole 13 episodes but only really shows up as the highlight in the last 2 episodes. That doesn’t mean you’re totally surprised by it, no, not at all. You kind of feel the main story in all the episodes but it is necessary to feature all the other story lines of the characters too. Like this you get to know them better and start understanding them and their actions. So, like all of the characters above get an episode to their own (except for Pang, but let’s get to that later) and to show how they struggle and try to persevere in life.
And since the stories are only one episode long and always kind of connected to the main story, the story moves forward quite well.
Scenes, amazing – surprises, not really
The show does have some scenes where they just…well, talk for some time, but the show manages to underline it with sounds and with camera angles that make it interesting and show you that even the small details are important. So even when they have a five minute conversation (as in five minutes of the episode), you don’t get bored. In general, the show features a lot of impressive scenes and camera angles that make things even more exciting.
At the same time the show does not feature a lot of surprises. You can kind of guess what is gonna happen later on (except for the ending) and you never REALLY get surprised by anything. But while this does sound boring, it is not in The Gifted. Like I said the execution of the show is different to what you usually get and even if you knew something was gonna happen you are still impressed with how it IS happening. The images and camera work of the show is just amazing.
Let’s breath for a moment – humor
Note that the show is quite heavy. I mean, if you seriously think about it, it does feature a lot of serious topics and a lot of underlying meaning. That goes from bullying, unfair treatment and jealousy to straight-up murder. Yes, the show is no joke. Also the atmosphere of the show is quite dark. And just when you think it is too much, they put in a little bit of humor or just a normal scene with no underlying meaning but mainly as a filler, so your nerves won’t explode from all the seriousness and heaviness of the show. You might think, does it fit? Well, it does. Mainly because they start it from episode one and don’t really stop with this system until the end and stay true to it, also it’s not really a forced humor but it fits the show well. Also a lot of these scenes are there to really hit it home that these kids might be gifted and fight against an unfair system but also, they are still teenagers. They are not perfect, they are partly still kids but maybe exactly that is what makes them perfect for fighting this system.
The Gifted (SPOILERS AHEAD!*)
*for this paragraph
So, here a spoiler, that I also gave myself to watch this show: the gifted students are in the Gifted class because they have special powers. I won’t spoil Pang’s powers, but I will tell you that his are the most powerful and important, and I do think it matches him well. It is funny how the show gave the students powers that match the characteristics of the characters well. I mean they do mention that the powers match their personalities but they really kept with the concept. For Pang, I think his powers match very well, regarding the fact that he wants to change the system and the people living in it. He wants to make people believe in a better world and wants to change it so everyone can live with fair treatment. As for the others, their powers matched very well and I loved the fact that the potentials they had also hinted at some of them having a more evolved version. I mean, we get to know that Pang can evolve his powers but you also see that the others start getting better at what they do.
One thing I really appreciated: Compared to other shows featuring people with special powers, the potentials in The Gifted had a real dark side too. It wasn’t just “gifted powers make us different, so we can’t be with others” but there was a real disadvantage to their powers. From Wave suffering physically when using his techno-pathy, people going crazy when interacting too closely with Mon, to Punn developing multiple personalities when copying too many talents. The potentials weren’t just powers but came with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Episode 13 – ending (spoiler free)
Soooo, episode 13…yeah, I spend the whole episode hoping and glued to the screen trying to guess how it would end. I hoped for a happy ending since I hate bad endings. Well, I won’t tell you how it ended and if I got my wish but I will tell you: The ending matches the show well and fits into the story. If it ended differently I don’t think the show would be as good as it is. Also it left space for a second season!!! Yay!
And while I did say, there are no surprises, well there are a lot of things that happen in episode 13, that I already knew beforehand but the ending itself…I had no idea, at all. That was probably the biggest surprise of the show!
The casting and acting
In my opinion the casting was done perfectly and the acting really hit it home. Not only Nanon in the main role but also all of the others really convinced as their roles. There were no scenes where you’re like “this doesn’t really match”. No, everything matches well. I do have to give the best compliments to Nanon for his overall role, Chimon for portraying so many different emotions and naturally going from one to another and Gun for episode 5. These three really did amazingly. And really notice that Nanon acted in a lot of different roles.
Now the bad stuff
Like every other show and movie, there are things that did not go as well as others. For The Gifted I have two things to criticize: First off, where is Pang’s background story? You do get a glimpse from time to time, like him calling home or when he interacts with his friend from class one. But other than that, the others got an episode about their background and how they became who they are now but he didn’t. I really don’t know why but I really hope we get a second season and see more of his upcoming.
The other minus of the show, the last three episodes had a little bit of a strange pacing. Just when you thought it would go faster now it slowed down and just when it picked up its pace it slowed down again. I cannot even really say if they should have cut some scenes or added more. I’m so confused by it, I cannot really say. It does not ruin the ending though since the last 30 minutes of the show go quite well again, so don’t worry, they did not ruin the ending.
Pleaseeee, give us a season 2!
So, we are at the end of the review. I know this time I had to say a lot of good stuff, but I think that’s a good thing. I really enjoyed the show and watched it in 2-3 days. I did wait some time to write this review though since I didn’t want to be in a watching high when writing it. Some time after watching it’s always easier to see clearly than right after the show.
Now, I can just hope for a season 2 since the show is still and will continue to be in my all-time favourite shows. Please, please, please give us a season 2, GMMTV!!!
Ending notice: I just loved the opening of the show. I seldomly rewatch openings but with this one I did. The opening just gives such an eerie but exciting feeling, hehe.
I really recommend watching the show, it is definitely worth it. It is not your typical teen drama show but also not your typical supernatural show. The atmosphere of the show in general is mysterious and totally different from what I thought it would be. I really recommend the series!