Supers in Media – No Ordinary Family

For anyone who worried that the cancellation of Heroes might leave TV superhero fans without a show, no worries for now. ABC’s No Ordinary Family is filling the gap.

Thing is, I’m of two minds about the show. On the one hand, it feels obvious. The central idea of funny family drama featuring superheroes is pretty obviously inspired by “The Incredibles.” Dad is super-strong and good-hearted. Mom is smart and capable. Older daughter and younger son argue, but support each other when the chips are down. The show also follows up the “superpowers that provide an external comment on the character’s inner drama” angle that “The Incredibles” also explored.

That obviousness is only extended by the casting, with Michael Chiklis, having previously played Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four movies, playing another super-strong hero, and Julie Benz, previously of the fan favorites Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and Angel, playing the speedster mom.

There’s also the fact that the big bad master villain just coincidentally happens to be Speed-Mom’s boss (I should really learn to remember the characters’ names), which just seems a little too insular, even in the world of TV dramas.

The show has been a little wobbly so far, to be honest. The latest episode, in which robbers had stolen Mom’s ring and Dad went on a vigilante crusade to catch the bad guys and get the ring back, ended with a scene that caused my eyes to not just roll, but perform a Triple Axel.

But I like the show quite a bit, and I plan to keep watching. Put aside the fact that I’m an easy audience for this sort of thing, even if I think it’s bad. But Chiklis and Benz make very appealing leads. Chiklis especially projects that solid good-heartedness that makes you wish him well. It’s still early days, so the writers are still playing cute with all the “they don’t know how to use their powers well yet” stuff you see in every show of this type, but at some point they’ll settle down to the business of carrying the overall arc forward, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes once it outgrows the movie that inspired it.

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