'Akil The Fugitive Hunter' Wants You To Believe In Real-Life Superheroes

by Kayla Hawkins

The superhero genre is far overdue for a makeover, and, surprisingly enough, the freshest take may come from an A&E reality docuseries. The network's new show, Akil The Fugitive Hunter will creatively portray the life story of Akil Muhammad, a real man from South Central Los Angeles who works as a bounty hunter — in the show's eyes, a vigilante crime fighter. How many episodes is Akil The Fugitive Hunter? According to A&E's series announcement, Akil The Fugitive Hunter will run for 10 30-minute episodes this summer, starting with a premiere of two back-to-back episodes on July 13.

The series itself falls somewhere between a documentary and a scripted series. According to A&E, it will incorporate both animation from Carl Jones, who has worked on The Boondocks and Black Dynamite, segments narrated by actor Wood Harris (probably most famous for his role as Avon Barksdale on The Wire), and original music from Ty Dolla $ign, who is credited as the executive music producer. But holding the series together is the real-life story of how Muhammad went from being a gang member in his youth to a bounty hunter who helps to take criminals off of the streets. According to Muhammad's bio on A&E, "... he chose to take a different path after losing his best friend to gang violence and vowed to do everything in his power to rid his neighborhood of those doing harm."

Muhammad didn't have much of a social media presence before news of the show broke, so this will be a unique chance to see what the life of a bounty hunter in Los Angeles is really like. On Instagram, Muhammad has offered an advanced look into what supplies he uses — while he's billed as a real life superhero, his gear is about what you'd expect for any civilian taking to the streets and potentially encountering criminals.

Adding to the superhero element will be Jones' animated segments — one of the most intriguing but mysterious aspects of Akil The Fugitive Hunter. Jones' work on Black Dynamite and The Boondocks portrays black culture with rapid fire jokes and stylized animation that made Fader compare his work to superhero comics in 2015. When asked whether his work might help perpetuate the "super-powerful, 'invincible' black male stereotype," Jones told Fader, "What's happening in this country [...] has nothing to do with seeing black people as superheroes. It has a lot to do with not having empathy for black men. The reason why we don't have empathy is social engineering and negative media propaganda."

In Akil The Futigitve Hunter's first 10-episode season, the synthesis of Jones' work, Ty Dolla $ign's music, Harris' narration, and Muhammad's real experiences could make for a truly creative take on this particular superhero story — and a real-life twist on the typical reality crime procedural.