October 3, 2010


After catching up on all of the other shows I missed this past week, I finally had the chance to watch ABC's No Ordinary Family, and I liked it the first time when it was called The Incredibles and Modern Family. A show that's about a typical suburban family with superpowers will automatically earn these kinds of comparisons, but there might be enough to NOF that will allow it to shine on its own.

The highlights for me involved the Powells discovering their powers, especially when Jim (Michael Chiklis) did some trial and error tests to see what his limitations were. What made Jim's transition from everyday guy to Mr. Incredible great was the sheer giddiness that he experienced, along with his buddy George (Romany Malco). These moments showed the audience that No Ordinary Family probably won't take itself too serious like Heroes, and it might actually be fun to watch. Plus, he wasn't as annoying as Hiro, so I'm already willing to give the show a shot.

The rest of the Powells uncovering their new abilities was not as entertaining, although it's always nice to see Julie Bowen on screen. Also, they spent too much time on the parents and not enough on the kids coming to gripes with what's happening. I'm sure we're in store for some angsty moments involving the daughter and son dealing with being teenagers AND having powers, but they were no more than an after thought this time around.

Now, that I think about it, the less time spent on the kids the better because they were kind of annoying based on the limited screen time they received during the pilot. Maybe I was expecting too much, but all of the family stuff just felt worn out because they threw out EVERY cliché in the book. We have the bratty daughter who never puts down her phone, and the son with a learning disability who only cares about video games. Of course, the parents also have problems when it comes to connecting and relating to their kids because that's real life. I know the premise of the show only really works if we believe that the Powells were once "normal", but its vision of what constitutes a regular family is so status quo that it's boring.

While the family stuff needs some work, the pilot had enough action and humor to keep me around for a few more weeks. Chiklis and Malco are perfect together, and seeing them evolve into amateur crime fighters should be a fun ride. Also, we know right off the bat that the No Ordinary Family is going to have an overarching storyline and mythology, which is more than can be said about Undercovers.

Based on the first episode, it looks like No Ordinary Family has a lot of promise. Any show that can successfully combine super powers, action, and humor is worth checking out. It won't take priority over Glee, but NOF could help fill the void left by shows like Heroes and LOST. I just hope it's easier to follow.


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