“no ordinary family” pilot review

Sorry, I couldn’t think of a snappy pun of a title for this post, and what’s worse is that I had a couple weeks to write it. I’m feeling pretty special that I was able to get an advanced screening before it’s actual premiere… like a profession critic! Woot!


Anyway, I alerted people about No Ordinary Family a couple posts ago and I think most of us had heard about this show a few months ago as we were going through LOST withdrawal and looking for our next serial fix. (JJ Abrams fans still have Fringe to look forward to.) But I think ABC is looking for another show to keep that “Lost” audience. Another show No Ordinary Family is filling the void for is Heroes. Do I really need to explain why? Super powers!

And based on the commercials, I had a feeling what I was getting into. A bit predictable, but this show isn’t meant to be a mind puzzle, it’s just supposed to entertain. So I really don’t mind that it makes me think of Fantastic Four (doubly due to Chiklis), The Incredibles, and of course Heroes but with less characters. In my opinion, this is what will help NOF survive since it won’t have to worry about keeping track of about 20 different characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love that format, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping it simple. And to the point!

The show jumped right into the accident that caused their transformation. We, as the audience, had an inkling of what was happening to them but got to watch them discover it for themselves. Eventually, they pieced together the events from the crash and talked about it as a family, which, by the way, they had rarely done prior to the incident. They were shown to be a “dysfunctional” family that was too busy to actually be a family. No communication, always on the go, the son was at the low end of the intelligence pool, the daughter had regular teenage girl issues, the father was a depressed house husband, and the mother was always rushing but never on time. So, in a sense, it was a reflection of a typical modern family (this show would be perfect right after Modern Family, no?) in today’s busy-busy-busy society.

The father gets super strength, but he isn’t invincible. Oh, and he’s not Superman but maybe more like The Hulk without being green or angry. He also get’s a sidekick who provide test trials for him, and eventually a lair… with wifi. The contrast to his character is that before, he felt weak and insignificant. The mother gets super speed. She also has a friend who helps her test her limits. Her contrast is that prior to her powers, she was always rushing just in time to be late. But now, it seems, she has all the time in the world. What makes these parents with powers credible is their weaknesses. The father was shot and injured to near death. The mother must eat massive amounts of food and does get tired after so much running. But now with these powers, their esteem and even their boring marriage has been revived.

The children, in my opinion, have lesser powers but could prove handy when needed. Specifically the son who becomes a genius. Before, he was failing, behind in his class, needed special education due to learning disabilities. Then in class (a scene they saved closer to the end of the pilot after he was shown to be feeling left out) he takes a test that he masters after seeing the math problems magically make sense on the board. The daughter who is a typical teenage girl with boyfriend issues and gossiping girls discovers she is telepathic. Telepathy is always a win in the superhero world. Not necessarily a must like strength or speed, but definitely beneficial.

So this pilot, like any pilot, is used to set up our characters. It’s presented in a way that the parents are talking to a therapist, which we don’t learn until the end. They are in couples therapy which seems to be going well for this first episode, so they kinda narrate some of story. Meanwhile, the father is engaged in tracking a bad guy and also learns he and his family aren’t the only ones with special powers. This baddie can teleport! Nice little twist there and a pretty good fight scene ensues.

Apparently there are more super powered baddies out there and we may get into some kind of The Incredibles-esque fun. I won’t be surprised if there is some cross promotion… Disney own Pixar and ABC… so why not? But this show seems like it can be a lot of fun for the whole family. I don’t think it’s quite the LOST replacement, but it’s a great show to tune into with the family. Now that I have DVR, it might not be the show I’ll watch live unless I’m already home and not busy. But it’s definitely a show I’ll follow and hopefully will last.

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September 2010
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