Local, Television Reviews

Fall TV Preview: ABC’s “No Ordinary Family” Review

Posted: August 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm   /   by   /   comments (1)

ABC’s No Ordinary Family is bound to catch a lot of comparisons to NBC’s recently demised Heroes. Why? Well, they are both about people with superhuman abilities, but that is pretty much where the similarities end. In Heroes, every character seemed to lament their change to superhero status, while in No Ordinary Family the characters embrace their new found abilities. The characters are not dark or brooding, just a family that has lucked into a series of extraordinary abilities.

What I find a bit ironic, is that the family gets their powers very similarly to Fantastic Four, which we all know the actor who plays the father in this series, starred in the film adaptation of the comic book .  The family has a doomed plane crash, and is granted powers by passing through a weird phosphorescent substance.

I will try not to give away too much of the plot, but there is going to be spoilers from here on out.

The Good:

  • The Cast – With a cast that includes The Shield‘s Michael Chiklis, Dexter‘s Julie Benz, Weeds‘ Romany Malco, The OC/Entourage‘s Autumn Reeser, and many more recognizable faces, No Ordinary Family boasts a cast of who’s who in the TV world.
  • It is beyond refreshing to see superpowers being more of a blessing than a curse. Just about every little boy has dreamed of being superhuman since they were a kid, and all adults still harbor that fantasy. Who wouldn’t be thrilled? We can get into some of the problems with having powers later.
  • Comic book fans will enjoy the few references thrown into play by Autumn Reeser.

The Bad:

  • No Ordinary Family goes through many of the normal aches and pains of a TV pilot. The people behind it are almost too desperate in trying to sell the idea behind the show.  We get plenty of introductions and backstory, but nothing really draws the viewer in.
  • The pacing of the show is wildly off. I’m hoping this can be attributed to trying to cram an origin story into 43 minutes.
  • Everything is a bit too matter of fact. Daughter Daphne is having trouble with her boyfriend, so what happens? Well, of course she has telepathy and sees he is cheating. Son of the family, JJ, is a bit slow, so of course his powers make him into some sort of genius.

The Ugly:

  • The special effects and action sequences are horrid. The show really needs to invest in a FX team to bring life to the characters abilities. With top notch special effects in a lot of programming today, these effects look awful and out dated.

Overall the show has a lot of promise. Most of what was wrong in the pilot is easily tweeked once it goes to its episodic format. The special effects will probably see a boost as well if the show proves to be popular.  There are a lot of promised twists and turns coming. Keep an eye out for Tate Donovan as the doomed pilot. ($10 bucks says his character will be back). There is also a character who is a “Watcher”, I just hope his name is Rupert Giles.

Grade: C+